The low road

For whatever reason, I’m thinking a lot lately about all those embarassing / shameful / repellant / underhanded / scheming things about gospel music that we all just love to hate. Such as …

  • The so-called Nashville conversion: this involves a performer (usually one whose career is on the rocks or whose popularity needs a jolt that only God - or some tears on the altar - can seem to provide) (re)discovers religion and comes to Jesus at a prominent Nashville congregation known to attract important people in the music biz. This is by no means confined to sg. One of my favorite Nashville conversion stories is the one about Wynona Judd, who got baptized in a big Nashville church … at both morning services. Classy.
  • Via reader RK: pastors who “undersell” the love offering for the sangers. RK has some great examples here. My favorite: “remember our special offering next week, so don’t go overboard.”

But I don’t want to steal all the fun. Feel free to add your favorites to the list. The best contributions in comments will get a promotion to the main page.

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  1. antipathy wrote:

    I like the “please make your check our to the church and we’ll write a check for the total to the group” line. It should be interpreted as “Please make your check out to the church instead of the group so we can determine how much love offering we feel like actually passing on to the group”. Any professional group can have the checks made out in the groups name.

  2. Tommy wrote:

    As far as the Wynona story is concerned, I happen to attend that “big Nashville church” you mentioned, although I was not there on the day you are referring to. I can assure you and any other readers that if the church leadership felt as if this was just a publicity stunt to revive her career, it would not have taken place. Seriously, we take the sacrament of Baptism more serious than that. In defense of her career, all artists go through up and downs in popularity, but her career did not benefit from her Baptism in the way you are suggesting here. I would be very careful about casting any negative light toward a church that God is using in awesome ways. The reason many important people in the music biz are attracted to that particular church is they don’t have to be worried about being flogged by fans looking to get autographs or young wannabe’s trying to get a record deal. When they come in that church, they are welcomed just like every other person there. Who do you think you are to cast judgement on someone’s intentions when it comes to conversion or Baptism? That is between them and God. Other than guidance from the church and support and accountability from its members, no person has any room for judgement in that area, lest he be judged in the same manner. Do you want people calling into question your baptism and whether or not your heart was sincere or whether you were just trying to look good to your peers? After all, I am sure there are plenty who do just to improve their standing socially sadly to say. Be careful when you start opening that kind of door. You might just find yourself at the center of criticism and judgment that may or may not be justified.

  3. GH wrote:

    When the music minister says, “I burned a copy of your CD and really enjoyed it”.

  4. adam wrote:

    “If any of you feel like giving something to the group tonight, there is an offering plate somewhere in the foyer.”


    “Tonight we have an opportunity to give to this group. If you aren’t able to contribute or don’t feel comfortable doing so, that is okay. We aren’t here to make anyone feel uncomfortable. If the ushers would come forward…”

  5. Sarah wrote:

    From a promoter, “Ya’ll can do your entire normal set, just don’t sing that one song about the devil.”

  6. Music Chick wrote:

    OR. . .”OK y’all, this group comes by faith tonight, so that’s how we’re going to send them out. We’re not going to take up a love offering, we’re going to trust God to meet their needs.” Yeah, never went back to that church again!

  7. Jim2 wrote:

    When 2 people at your product table say “you buy this one and I’ll buy that one, then you can just make me a copy” right in front of you.

  8. Kinda' Mad wrote:

    I like when a promoter just leaves the concert before the end, not paying the artist. On the love offering thing, I love when the Pastor says, “If you only give a dollar, it is like telling the group (of 5) that they are only worth $.20 each for the hour.”

  9. Chuck Sims wrote:

    The next time you think about singing for “free” try telling the teller at the gas/diesel station the “Jesus paid it all!” The teller will more than likely tell you, “Maybe so, but you’re going to pay the advertised price!”

  10. Chuck Peters wrote:

    I don’t.. and won’t pretend to know Wynonna’s heart.. but I can tell you.. We bought her DVD: “Her Story - Scenes from A Lifetime”.. and it is great! She is very real.. and didn’t hesitate at all about sharing her faith on the project. I am sure she has had ups and downs.. probably even backslidden (oh my!) have I. I support Wynonna and appreciate the stand she has taken for Christ. She is just another soldier on the battlefield of life.. lets down shoot her down so fast.

  11. BL wrote:

    My favorite is when the pastor informs you that, even though the financial agreement was set months ahead of time and the church was well aware of their committment, they’ll “get your check in the mail within the next week.”

  12. Videoguy wrote:

    “Please make your check out to the church…”

    I once caught a pastor skimming our offering. Suspecting as much after about the third visit to this church, I ‘planted’ $100 in the offering. They gave us a check for $78.00.

  13. Bad Check wrote:

    I like when the church actually puts a check with the offering and the check bounces, and then tells you to redeposit that check and it bounces again. And then says to mail them the copy of the bad check and they’ll send one from their other bank account. That was almost two years ago.

  14. Radioguy wrote:

    What a terrible representation of Christianity. If I were going to a church and found out they had a bounced a check to a singer (or anyone else for that matter) I would leave that church. I know we all make mistakes and falter, but a pastor/deacons board/trustees/whoever is doing these kinds of practices is unacceptable!!! If you are of the above, shame on you. If I were thinking about a committement to Christ right now, I would run the other way. However, after being a Christian now for 13 years I realize I can not allow the falterings of others, even those in leadership roles, to affect my relationship with God.

  15. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    We should have a “Truth is Giving” policy for the giver and the receiver along with those in the middle.

  16. Mark Forester wrote:

    I am thinking of putting the amounts of the offering and what church gave it on my website each week! I bet that would make some churches rethink what they give!

  17. JW wrote:

    For the defenders of Wynonna, especially Tommy #2, why was she was baptized twice?

    “Thou shalt not judge.” Don’t ya love how that makes everything alright and off limits?

    Instead of paying for that Wynonna DVD can I just make a copy? Can I just copy Wynonna’s music from someone else without buy it? Thou shalt not judge!!

  18. Practical Fellow wrote:

    Some churches where my family sang would have 30-45 minutes of praise/worship/hymns before introducing us. The people were worn out and ready to go home before we took the platform. We usually had to cut our own set in half on those occasions.

    Another problem when we traveled was when the choir/orchestra had a rehearsal in the sanctuary before the service and wouldn’t stop practicing long enough for us to set up and do a sound check. Despite our requests that they take a short break, they would continue singing/playing while we tried to set the sound levels. It was a nightmare.

  19. HP wrote:

    How about when groups, during their pitch, tell everybody how much fuel is and how big their tank is….I mean, like nobody else buys fuel. In that particular instance they stopped and took an offering (at a ticketed event) just for the fuel. Sharp!

  20. cdguy wrote:

    I know our pastor encourages folks to write their checks to the church so the individual can get tax credit. I’m sure not every pastor has pure motives, though.

    If I learned my pastor was skimming the offering for ANY reason, I’d approach him privately. If I were an artist, and knew I’d been jipped, I’d simply never work for that church/pastor/promoter again. “Trick me once, shame on you; Trick me twice, shame on me.”

  21. pastor wrote:

    as a pastor, i would never skim an offering. unfortunately, i have seen artists get less than i prefer to give them. everytime we’ve had a visiting artist, the church adds considerably to the offering and gives the artist a decent amount so we arent embarrassed.

    i guess many people think that if they can see 10 artists for $30 at the gaither show, then 1 artist by themselves is worth a $3 offering. it is unfortunate.
    especially considering what people will spend money on.

  22. Bryan K. Fowler wrote:

    There are a lot of people in this industry that need to really sit back and evaluate (including myself) how and what we do with the general public.

    As for Wynona Judd. I can say this. I made contact with her Manager for some product and interviews on our station about a year ago and I got a response from her within 24 hours. It included a ton of music for airplay, interview, liners, etc along with a message that if we ever needed anything to let them know. Now, we have a LOT of great relationships with SG artists, but for the most part none of them have ever came close to the way their manager treated us. Very professional, fast, kind and thoughtful.

    Southern Gospel entities for the most part pay their bills terribly to our organization. Our station does very well and grows every month and so does our 90+ outstandings of account receivables. It puts me us in a very bad situation when I have to contact a collection agency for an artist that has a top 10 song on the charts and tell them to pay up or we are going to litigate them. The ones that are trying and having trouble, we want to help-that is our main goal, but the ones who just think they can avoid us because they don’t want to pay.

    People can throw stones all day long and I honestly I could join and throw some boulders, BUT that is not what its all about. If Wynona has gotten her life straightened out, that is GREAT—think of all the people she could witness to because of her name and talent. GOD give her the talent a long long time ago and HE knew what she would do with it long before they sang “Have Mercy” or “Change of Heart” or any of those songs. If someone would have checked on or knew my life 5 years ago they might not want to listen to me or our radio stations-but I don’t care.

    Its just like my friends grandmother says-”the more you stir it the more it stinks” The industry is hurting and rightfully so. We need a lot of people who believe what they say and live it and put quality at the forefront of what they are doing.

    I think there could be some positive stuff come out of this and the whole Palmetto State Quartet thing recently really perked me up and made me feel positive…it would be out of the box and may help jump start some things.

  23. Kyle wrote:

    We’ve had a promoter walk up to us and say, flat out, “Well, you know, I gotta pay my bills,” and take out their share before we ever get a penny. They also forbid us from promoting our products from the stage (this same promoter brings their own product table full of knick-knacks and such, and they spend a good 10-15 minutes pushing their stuff).

    Now, I understand that promoters are trying to get their money’s worth for bringing a group out, but the way that is SUPPOSED to work is by paying the group a flat, then making your money back by way of ticket sales. If you think about it, a group is forking out money just to come out to sing by paying for gas, food, etc., while the promoter is usually based locally. The priority should be on compensating the group instead of lining the promoter’s pocket, I would think….

  24. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    For Poster #16.
    A couple years back, while on concert tour in Florida in January, Ivan Parker from Tennessee states (LOL) that he been called to Florida in January and is obeying the call.
    One night before a concert,he talked to his wife back in Tennessee, she told him they getting many inches of snow.
    Iva was having a good time telling real story.
    May God bless you on your Southern Tour.

  25. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Poster #17 should be Poster #16.
    I forgot to put in the link of Poster #16:

  26. Tommy wrote:

    JW #17

    I don’t have to defend Wynonna. You obviously missed my point. That church has a very large congregation. Baptism in part is a public acknowlegment of dying to self and being reborn in Christ. Maybe she was Baptised in both services so the whole congregagtion could share in her experience. I also said that it is the church’s responsibility to not only support but hold each other accountable (guidance from the church and support and accountability from its members). That is a little different than passing judgement on someone’s intentions when being baptised. As to your little scenario about making a copy of the DVD instead of buying it, that is plain out theft. There is a difference in judgement and accountability. Most people who make judgements like the ones made in this blog are in effect saying that they are above the person being judged when actually they need to acknowledge that if any wrong doing has been done the person making the judgement is no better themselves. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It is when we realize that that we learn what it means to hold each other accountable. In holding each other accountable, we do not simply make judgments, but try to help lift each other up. In the end, make sure you read everything I say before lashing out against me. If you take things out of context as you did in my case, it does not look particularly well on your behalf when others read both sides.

  27. jb wrote:

    Bryan Fowler: What “Palmetto State Stuff”? Are you talking about everyone leaving the qt.?

  28. Bryan K. Fowler wrote:

    #27 Strickland getting involved… nothing against any of the other guys… I just think if they work it the right way, his involvement can really give things a boost… is that your question?

  29. A. Nonymus wrote:

    A church writing a group a bad check? NEVER!

    However, I know a couple of SG promoters, one fairly well known, that has had their checks bounce—fairly often! That promoter always made good on the check, but it was embarrassing for me to call their office.

  30. SG Doc wrote:

    Brian #22 Can I Ask a question…

    “As for Wynona Judd. I can say this. I made contact with her Manager for some product and interviews on our station about a year ago and I got a response from her within 24 hours.”

    and then you said,

    “Southern Gospel entities for the most part pay their bills terribly to our organization. Our station does very well and grows every month and so does our 90+ outstandings of account receivables. It puts me us in a very bad situation when I have to contact a collection agency for an artist that has a top 10 song on the charts and tell them to pay up or we are going to litigate them.”

    My question is…What did you charge Ms Judd? and why are artists owing you…( a radio staton) and what for…???

    Just Curious

  31. jb wrote:

    #28: Yes, thanks for clearing it up for me. I just wasn’t sure what you were referring to.

  32. Bryan K. Fowler wrote:

    #30 Wynona is not a customer-wish she were…I was saying that her managements service was just excellent. We have a few artists that have spotlights/features paid time or whatever you consider it…somewhat like Salem has on Solid Gospel… they either pay immediately or in advance or its like pulling teeth-no middle of the road. Does that answer your questions?

  33. Bryan K. Fowler wrote:

    #30…. I should have mentioned this so no one is listening and trying to figure out who does not pay. January 1, 2008 we dropped and discontinued relationships with those who did not pay… so no one is listening and trying to say… hmmmm ______ they don’t pay their bills? Would have never guessed it. LOL :)

  34. Alan wrote:

    After a few decades of a faith ministry, I’ve had about everything mentioned here happen to me, more times than I can count. But…I serve the Lord, and He has made promises to me that He can’t go back on, as He’s God. So, when people fail us, God won’t. Not that this ever excuses any of His people’s behavior, but experience has taught me that when they do, He’ll bring funds my way from another source. It has happened countless times. He is no one’s debtor. And yet, I feel a lingering sadness for those who fail people who serve the Lord, especially when they’re out on faith. They cheat themselves more than they ever cheat us. All we can remember is that one day, there will be an honest accounting…

  35. Chrystal wrote:

    I once attended a sg concert, and the featured group was well-known and very popular. I heard the host of the concert outside after the showcase say, “It took me $5,000 to get these guys here.”

    Some artists require money before they come… or else they just don’t appear.

  36. ACL wrote:

    Alan #34-Amen! I, like you, have been there and..God is still in control!

  37. bgc wrote:

    Sad to say a SG promoter reserved and booked several big ticket groups for concerts and a. Never Paid, b. Cancelled at the last minute, c.cancelled the concert and never told the group. You guessed it, all of the above. On top of that booked a SG cruise in the middle of all of this and you guessed it, skipped town to never be heard from again.

  38. Tim wrote:

    How about, “we’re going to take up a little offering for the group.”

  39. SG Doc wrote:

    Bryan #22.

    Actually no, you tiptoed around the question. So Wynonna didn’t pay to be played, but a SG artist has to pay …for what?

    “We have a few artists that have spotlights/features paid time or whatever you consider it…”

    Did you play their music without charging them or did you just select them because they paid? Or was charged?

    For instance, if a well paying, non talented group pays for a “spotlight” or “features” does that mean they got played because they paid?

    The way I see it, You get Wynonna to send you product and interviews which makes your station look good, the SG artist who is good but makes “Love Offerings” gets charged for the exact same service you provide Wynonna.

    Without these artists you have no business. So instead of doing it the right way, (getting advertisers to advertise on the station that plays great Gospel Music, you play awful Gospel Music from sub-par artists just because they can pay.

    Just Curious

  40. AD wrote:

    Responding to #18….do you not confirm beforehand when your sound check time is? If not, I’d sure advise you to…I seldom have any problems concerning sound check and the rehearsal schedule of the church’s musicians/singers because it’s settled ahead of time. ad

  41. Joe Bob wrote:

    This post is in response to TOMMY’s comments(#2, #26). Tommy, I also attended the BIG NASHVILLE CHURCH in question here. You and I both know that baptizing Wynonna Judd in both services would be something that the leaders there would do. From the opening choir song, to the announcements…EVERYTHING is carefully choreographed there. So it wouldn’t be out of the realm of ordinary to add a little “touch” like baptizing her twice. In saying that, I also realize that it is a large maybe it was her request. I didn’t care enough about it to question it. I am glad that she was baptized though. Just wanted to make that statement.

  42. tim wrote:

    I have to chuckle at all of the SG groups whining about low pay for singing. Complaining about low amounts in the love offerings - being expected to sing for free because you are doing it “for the Lord”.

    I feel your pain but most of you do the same to radio. You expect radio to promote your events for free. You expect radio to do “features” without offering any promo copies for giveaways. Most of the time you don’t even invite us to set up a table at your concert.

    You come to town and spend money to advertise in the local paper or you plaster your face on a billboard while ignoring the local SG radio station that plays your music.

    Sg Doc in post #39 states, “Without these artists you have no business.” I say its a two way street. Without radio, good radio, supported by those in the industry, YOU have no business.

  43. TbW wrote:

    This web site never disappionts on this one point. The “churched” or dare I say Christians are the only ones who eat each other alive!!!! Think on that one for awhile. No matter the topic rarely is there anything positive or uplifting said. Bashing seems to be the norm. It’s done so well too. My but aren’t you all so proud of yourselves!!!!

  44. Tommy wrote:

    Joe Bob #41

    Yes the services there have a structure and do not proceed in chaos. I was just pointing out that I have enough trust in the leadership that I don’t feel this would be done as a publicity stunt. After all, this church doesn’t need it. I agree with you in that I am glad she got Baptized. The main thing I take issue with is what seemed to be implied about the church. I don’t know if you have been there lately, but God is doing awesome things at that church. No matter how things were planned to go, services have been going in different directions than originally planned. I have not been to a church, and I have been to hundreds when traveling with groups, that have not had their services planned or “choreographed” to use your word. When you have a leadership that is open enough that when God moves to put that plan aside, you have something special. I dare say that if you are going to that church for any other reason than to experience God, then you are there for the wrong reason. If you ae there to experience Him, then you are there for the right reason. I like a lot of people was first drawn there by the music. I now go because I have a personal experience with God that is feeding me spiritually in ways that I haven’t found anywhere else. That my friend is not CHOREOGRAPHED.

  45. Tommy wrote:

    Joe Bob #41

    I also noticed you said “attended”. Does that mean you are no longer attending there? If so, I hope you are in a church where you can experience God as I was saying in the previous post. If you are not attending anywhere else, we would be glad to have you come again. My point, don’t get so bogged down in structure or “choreography” that it causes skepticism that will rob you of what God is wanting to do in your life.

  46. Edie wrote:

    Does that BIG NASHVILLE CHURCH still raise the curtains at the start of every service?? That always made me giggle — I felt like I was at The Tonight Show!! Not that there’s anything wrong with that….

  47. JW wrote:

    Tommy, “In holding each other accountable, we do not simply make judgments, but try to help lift each other up. In the end, make sure you read everything I say before lashing out against me. If you take things out of context as you did in my case, it does not look particularly well on your behalf when others read both sides.”

    Hey!, that sounds like a judgement to me.

    I wasn’t “lashing out”, I’m just constantly amazed/amused at the New Religion of Thou Shalt Not Judge.

    No wonder so many non-Christians think we are suckers with the “Thou shalt not judge” mantra, which is 99.9% of the time taken out of context. When I get to Heaven I’m going to have a word with the Apostle Paul and Apostle John on that issue, too.

    Hmmmm…maybe *I* should have been baptized TWICE instead of once?

  48. Derek wrote:

    #42… I’m with you! If we ask the artist and/or record company for something and we aren’t a “reporting station” we get shunned like the bubonic plague. But rest assured when the tables are turned they are not afraid to ask us for something! Promoters, too, should take note. Wonder why attendance was low at your event? Maybe it’s because you weren’t willing to pay for quality advertising. You get what you pay for!

  49. RDB wrote:

    Contrary to popular and often-stated myth, Christians are not the only ones who “eat each other alive” (or “shoot their wounded”) or blah blah blah. Some statements that are accepted as truth by many people are simply untrue and shouldn’t go unchallenged. What is true is that Christians contradict their stated beliefs when they carry on in such manner.

    Complicating matters is that Christians are also called to speak truth. I personally find it helpful when the focus in on what was done wrong, rather than blanket criticism of a particular individual. Also undesirable are contempt, jealousy (often disguised as righteous indignation), hypocrisy etc.

    Should you be without sin, cast the first stone I believe someone said. Can any of you remember who?

    Just putting that out there.

  50. Videoguy wrote:

    Unless we know the intent behind the multiple baptisms, everything said (posted) here is just speculation. Having said that, if baptism makes a better Christian, then I’ll sign up for dunkin’ every Sunday.

  51. cynical one wrote:

    Derek #48 — No, you don’t always get what you pay for, but you probably won’t get what you don’t pay for.

    RDB #49 — “speak truth” is only half of the quote (see comments regarding taking scripture out of context). The line is “speak the truth IN LOVE.” (emphasis mine) I don’t usually see a lot of love going around these blogs, unless its blind loyalty to artists whose actions are called into question.

    And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.


  52. Tommy wrote:


    I will not turn this into an argument with you. This will be my last post on the issue. Again you have taken something I have written and added your own meaning. I do not see anything that I have written that could have been misconstrued as a judgement on your behalf. I only stated the facts. I agree that many use “Thou Shalt not Judge” out of context. What the scripture actually is saying is that the way you judge others is the way you will be judged. In the end, who cares if Wynonna was Baptized in both services? She was Baptized and that was between her and God. When you get to Heaven, have that word with the Apostle Paul and Apostle John. They will probably tell you to take that up with God since the scripture is His inspired word. I think that it is perfectly fine to discuss and critique performances, vocal ability, appearance, and yes even the percieved attitude. I don’t think it is our place to try to decide what someone’s motivations are when it comes to such things as Baptism or conversion. It is not up to us to decide to accept it. That is between the person and God. We can only be a witness to the fruits that they bare. I am saved because God saved me. Not because you or anyone else accept that conversion. I am a Christian because of the blood of Christ. I have been Baptized, and that too is between me and God. It does not matter whether anyone else questions my motivation. All that matters is where I stand in God’s sight. That goes for everyone.

  53. Joe Bob wrote:

    Again, in response to TOMMY. Yes, I used “attended”…and yes, I still attend church, at another location. I agree, the music there is incredible. The spirit of God fell at times and it was unbelievable. The “choreography” that I was referring to was more in reference to a specific individual….and I’m pretty certain that you know who I’m talking about. I know, as do you, that if ANYTHING disturbs the “choreography”at all, that “the choreographer” will pitch a fit, and run off the stage(have witnessed this NUMEROUS times). The ministers at that church are incredible. The senior pastor has a heart of complete gold. He’s one of the best. The worship leader always leads in a very powerful and moving way. So, I wasn’t bogged down so much by the “choreography” as I was by “the choreographer.” Again, I believe in the pastors and alot of the support staff. What I lost faith in was that everyone seemed to turn a COMPLETE BLIND EYE to the actions of “the choreographer”….if anyone else, on that church platform, acted in the manner that I witnessed this individual act in, they would be dealt with in a instant. I actually appreciated the structure of their services….I just felt that by staying in that atmosphere that I was an enabler to this particular individuals treatment of the good people that volunteered their time to assist. Bottom line, GREAT CHURCH, GREAT PASTOR….it’s just “the choreographer” that I couldn’t enable anymore. No, my absence didn’t change anything, but I feel at peace.

  54. SG Doc wrote:

    So, what Idiot artist in their right mind would shun any radio station or entity that would possibly promote them either by playing their music or other means.

    Are there artists who believe that they are to the point that they can ignore a radio station?

    My question had to do with just playing their music. Not with concert promotion. I don’t see where it would be smart to promote a concert in the newspaper and on billboards and not on radio.


  55. BUICK wrote:

    Tommy (#44 & #45), I appreciate your clarifying why we go to church. I had mistakenly believed it was all about Him and what honored and glorified Him. I’d missed out on the theologically important point that it is really about me and my “experience”. Next week, rather than focusing my attention on the Holy God, I’ll try to pay more attention to myself and what I’m experiencing. In that case, theatrics, choreography, mood music and dramatic lighting will become a lot more important to me than it has been. And I’ll make sure to try to find a preacher to tickle my ears (which HAVE been itching quite a bit lately).

  56. Practical Fellow wrote:

    re: #40 We did confirm our sound check times with contracts and riders. We communicated clearly, making our needs known to the churches we visited. The breakdown in communication usually occured between the individual who booked and hosted our group and the music minister/choir director. This type of incident didn’t happen often - that wasn’t my point. I was just stating that it was frustrating when it did happen.

    re: #43 TbW - don’t be ridiculous. Your comment strikes me as tired and overused. People everywhere eat one another alive, shoot their wounded, . It shouldn’t be this way in churches or the body of Christ, but because the church is made of flawed people - sometimes it does. So go join a church and contribute to the effort to behave as Jesus would and stop acting as if the church is afflicted with some rare disease foreign to the rest of the world.

  57. Bryan K. Fowler wrote:

    #39. I answered your question-you apparently did not like the answer…all groups are selected in the same fashion… we show no favortism we don’t have too. Artists make up a very small portion of our business-less than 10% probably-plus take out the 50% that don’t pay and that makes it less than 5%. :) We are very commercial oriented—artists get great publicity on our stations for free constantly-spotlights are just that…. 60 or 90 secs of nothing but you. I would love to continue the debate, but I need to go collect some 90+ accounts. Just kidding-God Bless You!

  58. Radioguy wrote:

    RDB I agree with everything you say, but people still have to be held accountable if they are doing wrong. None of us should cast stones, however none of us should allow unacceptable behavior to continue either.

  59. Bryan K. Fowler wrote:

    #39 you said: Without these artists you have no business. So instead of doing it the right way, (getting advertisers to advertise on the station that plays great Gospel Music, you play awful Gospel Music from sub-par artists just because they can pay.

    Obviously, you have never listened to our station or you would know that what your saying is not correct. We are very high end and have a lot of non-artists advertisers and to be quite honest if I decide I want to play a song, play an infommercial another song, an infommercial-the last time I checked that would be my decision. If you want something different, feel free to send me a check in the mail (address is on our contact page) and we will talk. The fact is our station is a great Ambassador to the mainstream world of this genre and we constantly seek “out of the box” means to do that.

    I am sure you are just concerned, you may be correct in your philosophy ( I still don’t quite understand what you are saying fully) but you are SO wrong in your spirit.

    By the way, I don’t know if you have posted on here before, but those of us that are sincere post with our real name.

    Just curious.

  60. cynical one wrote:

    Bryan #39 - OUCH!!! You think I’m not sincere, just because I don’t use my real name? I’m not sure it matters what name you post under. But we should all be honest and show Christlikeness in all our dealings.


  61. cynical one wrote:

    OOPS! I meant Bryan #59.

    My bad.

    And that apology is sincere.

  62. Tommy wrote:

    #53 Joe Bob,

    Thanks for your clarification. I actually have no idea who you are talking about. Maybe that is a change that has taken place since you were there. In any case, glad to see you are in church.

    #55 To Buick:

    You forgot one important word, so you also took what I have written out of context. I said you go to church to experience GOD! That is totally different than going to church and “I’ll try to pay more attention to myself and what I’m experiencing.” To experience God you have to get passed self and focus on Him. You wrote, “In that case, theatrics, choreography, mood music and dramatic lighting will become a lot more important to me than it has been.” How is that experiencing God, which is the experience I was writing about? If you decide to respond, tell me how what I presented differs in why you go to church. Tell me what it means to you to experience God.

    Seriously though folks, when you read something, take time to read everything and actually think about what it is saying. Don’t jump to conclusions and wirte a response that is weak and clearly out of context. Last but not least, I fear that there are a few on here that just like to argue. There is nothing wrong with arguments in general, as long as they are factual, well based, constructive, and don’t stoop to personal attack. So for those that like arguments, learn how to do it correctly. It will be more constructive in the end. As a general rule, if you have to take something someone has said or written out of context to prove a point, the argument you are presenting is already on shaky ground. I think everything I have written is straight to the point and clearly understanbable to anyone who not only reads but fully comprehends what they are reading. I will be glad to answer any questions about what I have written. I like discussions and find that they help me grow as an individual. I will, however, not fall into a meaningless argument.

  63. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    So all of us with real name are not sincere?
    Does links to websites or a valid email link make us a little sincere?
    I hope so!

  64. TbW wrote:

    #56 Thanks for your sage advise. I will take it for what it’s worth. And I do agree with “ye without sin cast the first stone” That is my point. But I do believe my comments and thoughts are lost on some here. I feel that some just argue for sake of arguing. It has just become sport. Only each of us and God knows our hearts and our intents. Accountability is key in your walk with Christ and those you submit to as your Spiritual leaders. But it’s really hard when so many bash you openly. But, I guess that’s just the way it goes. Really if you are a true Christian none of us has a right to be offended.
    God Bless.

  65. Chuck Peters wrote:

    I dont believe using a real name.. makes anyone more or less sincere. I can only speak for myself. But using my real name.. makes me think before I post.. and that’s usually a good thing. It’s harder for me to be a jerk ..when people know it’s me.

  66. LuckyDog wrote:

    Just a couple of random thoughts…

    What if, just by chance, Wynona was SO EXCITED about being baptized that she just wanted EVERYONE who goes to that particular Church to KNOW ABOUT IT? I would think that would be an admirable attitude to have. I trust and pray that Wynona is relishing her new relationship with God!! (No, I don’t know Wynona and no, I am not a fan of Wynona’s).

    It only makes good business sense to see that the radio stations that promote one’s ministry are taken care of with regards to promotional material, CD’s, giveaways, etc.

  67. BUICK wrote:

    Lest I be accused of misquoting or taking a quote out of context, I have copied and will paste the complete sentence:
    “I now go because I have a personal experience with God that is feeding me spiritually in ways that I haven’t found anywhere else.”

    Seems to me that any way you slice it or dice it, you are going for what YOU PERSONALLY GET from Him, not what THE LORD GETS from you. My contention is that you should be there even if you don’t get a buzz, a tremor, a feeling or a subjectively defined “experience”. God is the focus, the subject, the object and the audience of our worship. When we try to evaluate a service based on what (or even Who) we personally experience, that still makes self the focus, the subject, the object and the audience.

    Perhaps I am overreacting but I am just so weary of people saying a worship service ws good or bad, effective or ineffective, quality or not…based on what THEY PERSONALLY felt, experienced, enjoyed, appreciated, etc. Instead of being “seeker sensitive” or “guest friendly” or “audience oriented” shouldn’t it be our emphasis to be “Biblically based” and “God glorifying”. I don’t think it is nit-picking to point out that the previous posts didn’t mention these as priorities. All they talked about was the personal experience of a member of the congregation.

  68. RK wrote:

    I once rode to a concert with a friend of mine in a regional group. They were scheduled to sing at a “crusade” in a mid-sized town about 70 miles from home.

    A local “evangelist” had rented an armory for the night of singing and preaching. Problem was, a major, major thunderstorm was rolling through the area that night. Tornado watches were out, streets were flooding, power was flickering on and off, etc. However, the evangelist insisted that God told him that the crusade must go on and that people would come.

    The combination of the storm and very poor promotion of the event resulted in NOBODY coming to the crusade other the evangelist, his wife, an elderly lady who rode with them, the quartet, and me. While the quartet suggested that we all should go home (and perhaps take shelter), the evangelist insisted that the singing begin and that others would arrive late.

    After the quartet sang (for the three of us), the evangelist preached (for the seven of us) for over an hour. Afterward, he passed the hat for the “love offering”. We chipped in about $5 to $10, figuring he would give much of it back to the group in a silly attempt to save face. When he looked in the hat, he decided to pass it around again, saying he paid a lot to rent the building and to buy a newspaper ad and needed to cover the cost. We all put in a token amount, listened to him give a 5 minute benediction, and then left.

    The group drove 140 miles round trip in a major storm, sang for 30 minutes to three people, listened to a long-winded preacher for an hour and 15 minutes, gave the man probably $60, and received nothing for the effort.

  69. JM wrote:

    Fascinating that one’s sincerity is held hostage, unless they are willing to disclose their full, legal name. I would suggest there are many reasons why posters choose not to disclose their identities. If you spend much time in this site, you soon learn that we are populated with a fair number of SGM “insiders.” Using a code name, they can feel the freedom to speak more candidly, without fearing that their opinion or position will reflect negatively on their group or business or congregation. I understand their position and support their right to remain anonymous. I sometimes get concerned when folks seek to establish some type of “pecking order” or invoke a “litmus test” to determine those who are truly sincere or to rank the “worthiness” of some posters vs. other posters. God’s family is big, bold, boisterous and sometimes a bit unruly. But whether I tell you I am Jim or JM or James C. Markel, I’m still your brother…and maybe God wants you to hear my modest contributions, also. Calm down, enjoy the ride and let God bless!

  70. Rather Die wrote:

    You people are just like I always thought Christians were. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not like I always thought Christians should be, just the way the are! What does all of this matter. I have seen so much trash on here in the name of Jesus, however none of it seems like He would be. Why do all of this? If you are trying to push believers away, I am sure you are succeeding with that, simply because people like you are what’s keeping me pushed away.
    I have attended a few concerts with my parents, when I am home from college. I have seen some of the very groups that you all have trashed, such as:
    * Ms Peck and New River
    * Legacy Five
    * The Freemans
    * Young Harmony
    * The Hoppers
    * The Macrays
    * although I can’t remember their name right off, the mother, daughter and son in law that just split up after some weight loss.

    These are the groups that I have watched and listened to at least one time live. I bought a CD from each one except for the mother, daughter, son in law group and The Hoppers. The others seemed to me to be very sincere, honest and vocally pleasing to the ear. Yet you guys have trashed all of them at one time or another. STOP! It isn’t worth it! Too many lives are being destroyed WITHOUT you doing this, much more with you doing it. STOP! Shouldn’t you be portraying the one that you are following? Or, are you?

  71. Janice wrote:

    Avery, please come back and save us from ourselves!

  72. Sam 'n Ella wrote:

    Many years ago there was a promoter in the area who brought groups in on a love offering basis to a drive-in concert on Sunday afternoons. She was a few fries shy of a happy meal, but she felt it was God’s leading that she took the love offering, split it into 3 unequal parts (as God lead her) and put it in 3 separate envelopes. The 2 groups each chose an envelope, and the drive-in theatre got the 3rd envelope. The first time, we didn’t do too badly, but the 2nd (and last time) we walked away with $11.36. Never heard of that practice being done ever again. I wonder why it didn’t catch on???

  73. Poppi (Pop-eee) wrote:

    When a group performs at our church, there is no offering plate passed. We do not want visitors to our church to feel obligated to pay for the singers. We advertise concerts as ‘free’. Several of us members who like gospel music got together and decided we would have a ‘Music Fund’ and we contribute to it regularly. We do not invite singers until we have enough money in the fund to pay them their asking price as agreed to at time of booking regardless of the size of the crowd. It works very well.

  74. thom wrote:

    Back when we were singing we once went to a Retirement home and were given a large bag of potato chips as our “pay” - even though we didnt want anything or expect anything we laughed about that for years.

    There was this one place we went to 2 years in a row that was a campground /pavilion outdoor singing - in August, beside the Cumberland River, under huge, bright lights. We couldn’t sing for swallowing the bugs. It was awful. This became known as “Bugfest!” My sisters would ask - “are you booking us at BUGFEST this year, Bubba?” The last time we went I was introducing the group and when I turned to intro my youngest sister there was a HUGE bug on the side of her head and she didn’t even know it. I knew she would have a conniption fit if I told her! So, I just let it sit there while we continued. It finally flew away but not before other people had noticed it and started waving at her trying to tell her. She thought they were “getting happy” and that “revival” was about to break out. I started laughing and she thought it was “getting in the Spirit”, too! It was hilarious.

    Another time we went to this church that about insisted we use their house PA system. Against my better judgement we relented. The Pastor then told us that his teenage son would run it for us and that “he really did a good job and wanted to be a recording engineer one day.” This is back during the days of Cassette tapes - and we had all our soundtracks sequenced on the tape where all you had to do was start and stop it. Sound check went ok, so I felt better about this “kid” running the sound.

    The time finally came to sing and I nodded for him to start the tape, and waited, and waited, and then started ad-libbing while we waited, and waited, and waited. I’m looking at him wondering what’s going on and he throughs his hands up in the air signalling that he doesn’t know what’s wrong. The rest of the group is standin there trying not to look nervous amd one of them starts talking while I go back to the sound booth to see what’s going on. Everything is turned up, the tape is running, but nothing is coming out - it worked during the sound check. THen I look over and he has been running the tape alright - he pushed down the Play button AND THE RECORD button when he started the tape and erased 2 and 1/2 of our tracks before i reached over and stopped the tape.

    Needless to say, that was the last time I trusted someone elses system and teenage wannabe engineeer. I think he later became a cop!

    But, it was a good laugh. Good memories!

  75. Tommy wrote:

    #67 Buick
    It would be nice if I could underline words for you in this statement. I’ll just capitalize a few instead. “I now go because I have a personal experience WITH God that is feeding me spiritually in ways that I haven’t found anywhere else.” That implies a two way street there. If I was there just because of what I get from God it would have read, “I now go because I GET a personal experience FROM God that is feeding me spiritually in ways that I haven’t found anywhere else.” I requested two direct things from you in the last post.
    If you decide to respond, tell me how what I presented differs in why you go to church.” Your aswer seems to be:
    (Instead of being “seeker sensitive” or “guest friendly” or “audience oriented” shouldn’t it be our emphasis to be “Biblically based” and “God glorifying”. ) That still does not explain to me why YOU go to church.
    Tell me what it means to you to experience God. Your answer seems to be:
    (My contention is that you should be there even if you don’t get a buzz, a tremor, a feeling or a subjectively defined “experience”.)
    It is my belief that God inhabits the praises of his people. I believe He is sharing in the experience. In effect, He is experiencing us when we are experiencing Him. It seems to me that either you and I define experience differently or you need to take time to comprehend everything you are reading. I believe that an experience with God is both Biblically based and God glorifying. Here are a few examples of experiences with God: salvation, baptism, worship. Are these experiences soley based on self. Without God, most of that equation is missing and those things would mean nothing. In fact, they would not exist. You see, church should serve two main purposes for a Christian (someone already saved). It should feed and equip you spiritually and it should allow you to glorify God. How are you equiped and fed? Through the reading of His word. How do you glorify God? Through praise and worship, again a two way street. Yes church also serves as a chance to fellowship with other Christians, but that is secondary. I would submit to you that if you are attending church and not having an experience WITH Him, you need to examine youself or your church. Something is missing somewhere. In the end, I could write you a forty page thesis on this subject. Would it change your perspective? I don’t know. You used one sentence of mine at the beginning of your post saying, “Lest I be accused of misquoting or taking a quote out of context” Context extends far beyond sentences. It begins with how one word relates to the next, then sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, and so on. If you don’t get the meaning of everyword, then you can not begin to understand the context. I’ll give you one more chance. Tell me why you go to church, what is its purpose? Tell me what it means to you to have an experience WITH God, what does that word WITH mean and how does it contrast with FROM? Have you over reacted? Probably. But you did address me personally, so I will do the best I can to answer you.

  76. BUICK wrote:

    Tommy (#75) - I’ll give this one last try. To answer your questions:
    1) Why do I go to church? To bring honor, glory and praise to God. Simply put: to express love to/for Him.
    2) What does it mean to me to have an experience WITH God? To me, that is a matter of living in humble obedience. It is to serve Him in whatever ways He asks.
    3) What does the word WITH mean and how does it contrast with FROM? “With” implies a mutuality. “From” to me, would imply more of a one-way receiving.

    And that third point may well be the key to understanding our different (though, I suspect, very sincere) approaches to worship. When I worship, my model is the worship I see in the book of Revelation. I believe that is a picture of what we will be doing for eternity. And I believe our lives on this earth are a dress-rehearsal for eternity.

    In heaven, the picture seems to be saints falling down in humble adoration. They are not there for “a personal experience with” the holy God. I do not see any mutuality in that image of worship whereby God gets something out of it and so does the worshiper. Worship in the book of Revelation seems to me to be very much one-way. It appears to me that in heaven, worship comes FROM man and TO God.

    The question might be asked, “and what does the worshiper get out of his worship? Where’s the mutuality?” To the best of my knowledge, that is a question that is not addressed in the book of Revelation. It is not appropriate. God is God and he owes us nothing.

    Unless I have misread, God RECEIVES the praise and the worship and the honor. Man, in the immortal words of Charles Wesley, is “lost in wonder, love and praise.”

    So, in worship, in anticipation of worship before the throne for eternity, I seek to decrease: to be lost in worship so that God gets all of the attention and all of the praise. I think the very best worship would be if, after the fact, it were to dawn on me that I didn’t notice that I “personally experienced” anything. All of the experience was his.

    It is entirely possible that we are saying something very similar but just expressing it differently. But quite possibly not.

    I really do worry that worship defined on the basis of personal experience (”with” or “of” or “from” or anything else) is a kind of spiritual narcissism.

    With that attempt to answer each question as clearly as I could, I withdraw from this whole discussion. There are some really funny stories about love offerings and sound systems in this thread. I want to enjoy those and not engage in any more attempts to explain my understanding of New Testament worship. If God is pleased with your worship, that’s all that matters. And if He is not, that’s between you and Him. As Paul said in Roman 14, “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls.” I will not judge you or your worship.

    And, by the way, this is a text that some of us need to keep in mind when we are voicing our opinions about the artists we talk about here. I’m sure there is nothing wrong with saying that we enjoy (or don’t) certain groups and soloists. But to go so far as to pass judgment on their salvation or their calling or their motives, that would seem to be the province of God and it would behoove us to leave it to him.

    And that, Tommy, et al, is my “personal” opinion.

  77. Tommy wrote:

    Buick # 76,
    I would like to thank you for the stimulating conversation that we have had over the past week through this blog. You said that your model of worship is the same as is presented in Revelation. I would submit to you that there is no different model of worship in Revelation than in the rest of the Bible. The word Praise is presented 351 times in the Bible and 4 times in Revelation. Worship is presented 250 times in the Bible and 20 times in Revelation. (NIV) As far as the model of worship in Revelation, it is only an extension of what has already been established in the rest of the Bible. If you try to base a doctrine on just one book, chapter or verse in the Bible, you run into the issue of context again. I think one of the major themes in scripture is that God loved us so much that He wants to be close to us. He walked with Adam in the garden, He sent his Son to die for us so that we can be reconciled to Him, He sends His Spirit to dwell within us. It was in love that He created us in His own image. The theme seems to be that he wants, longs, desires, and loves to be near us. What we get from worship is being drawn close to Him. For that to happen you do have to decrease as you said. You said, “Worship in the book of Revelation seems to me to be very much one-way.” Again, it may seem that way, but you have to balance it with what the rest of scripture has to say about worship. You are right, God owes us nothing. Yet He gave his Son to die for us. It is not an issue of God oweing, but of God loving. We will not agree on everything, that is for certain. I appreciate you taking time to attempt to clearly explain yourself. I hope I have not caused you any headaches, but just challenged you to be certain of what you believe and why. Again, I probably would not have carried on this conversation, but I was addressed directly. I am very confident in what I believe. I enjoy learning from anyone anything I can about what they believe and why. It gives me the chance to evaluate myself and my relationship with Christ. I hope it does the same for you.

  78. jb wrote:

    #70: Sounds like you are just looking for an excuse. No one is pushing you away. You are just choosing that. Kind of like the people who say “I’m not going to church because I am just as good as so and so”….Stop making excuses and just get in.

  79. BUICK wrote:

    Tommy (#77) - Thank you for your response and for the tone of it. Everything you have said is correct. I’m sure that I made a knee-jerk reaction to the words, “personal experience”. Your comments are insightful, balanced and informative and I thank you for taking the time )and risk?) to post them.

  80. Dee Dee wrote:

    I hate to interupt the discussion between a couple of you but I thought I’d add one reply to #1 on the churches having the checks made out to them. It might be an attempt to avoid the groups getting a bad check from one or more of the attendees.

    I know of at least 2 instances that this happened to groups and one of them did tell the church in question - mainly trying to track down the person who wrote the check. From that point on that church had checks made out to the them so the groups they invited would not suffer if someone wrote a bad check.

    Unfortunately everyone in a church or that comes to a concert doesn’t always do the right thing.

  81. TlB wrote:

    Dee Dee Also another thought on your comment may be this, Someone is often responsible for signing a contract. That person is the one who has to sign a check at the end of the night to pay the group who has come to sing and minister. This is better than handing them a handful of checks and money. And also as you said if someone’s check bounces they don’t have the headache of tracking that down, and you or the church are spared the embarssement with said group. Good point.

  82. JLP wrote:


    Your treatise on worship has so impressed me, I would like to continue it privately, if you are interested. Please contact me at

    Many thanks.

  83. BUICK wrote:

    JLP, I have sent you an e-mail so we can continue this privately. I am posting this so others will know I have followed up with you.

  84. Luke wrote:

    Wynonna is my favorite vocalist period. I do however know of all her ups and downs, as I have followed her career since I was a child. I have met her twice and one evening ran into her at a nashville bookstore, ended up having coffee with her, she is a true gift from God. Her attitude is warm and inviting. SHe is the most genuine person Ive met, and yes that means in any genre of music. She is more of a Christian than lots of “SG” aritists or so called Christians. As for her being baptized twice, I wish they had recorded it and she could have sold it. I would have!! :-)

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