The critic’s job

No, it’s not to lie about taking time off (though it seems I’ve done that, however good my intentions were at first). According to Roger Ebert, it’s to “be an example of the process of finding your own answers” (hat tip, JM). Just so, I’d say, no matter how far short of that goal I probably fall most of the time.

Ok, … back to time off … startinnnnnnngggggg NOW.

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Comments

  1. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Wonder if our blogger has IA?
    Take the test for yourself, not for him.

  2. Jim2 wrote:

    Doug,
    Not the exact language, but the first 2 paragraphs are very reminiscent of lots of the fans/haters when you review their favorite group’s new CD.
    Thanks for making me laugh- out loud, again

  3. natesings wrote:

    vacation fail

  4. Leebob wrote:

    typing lessons from NSGF. I like it! Although I miss it when you are gone you deserve a break every once in a while. Perhaps we could double your pay and you might hang around more often. LOL!!!

  5. KEW wrote:

    What? A deserved vacation? We ALL know who does the WORK around here…the INTERNS!

    When does DH ever let the interns out of the dimly lit basement?

    hehehe

  6. intern wrote:

    Is this basement supposed to have lights?

  7. Leebob wrote:

    I always heard the lights were on but nobody was home.

  8. Jim Alben wrote:

    there are soe blogs you just wish would go away but here there are just some posters you wish would go away.

  9. Jim Alben wrote:

    Typo-sorry-some

  10. cynical one wrote:

    Jim — what are you trying to say? Anyone in particular?

  11. Curious wrote:

    What has happened to all of the Young Harmony billboards? I have noticed that they have no songs on the charts. No ads in all of the Gospel Music publications. Does anyone know what is going on with them. I saw they had a booth up at convention, but I never saw them. I am just curious.

  12. maddy wrote:

    YH was supposed to come to my church to minister. They said they wanted $1.00 per mile OR 2 NICE hotels rooms with queen size beds. I can understand with fuel costs going up, but isn’t that a little over the top? Is that groups are getting now? They had booked with us as receiving a love offering originally.

  13. Leebob wrote:

    The trucking company I work for charges $3.01/mile + an Adjustable Fuel Surcharge currently at 29%. Is this in addition to the love offering? It really isn’t that bad of a deal considering the average love offering is $1.67/person. I would have them at $1.00/mile in a heartbeat. You could get BB in Dallas for $6.43/ mile all inclusive based on current pricing and distance.

    We took about a $400 hit recently due to fuel and hotel expenses and we had a full schedule to work with. Fortunately, we had a little bit of a buffer to operate with.

    Simply because a group is a ministry does not mean they should have to starve to death. Churches want quality but they don’t want to pay for it. If you don’t like the charge then get somebody that is more regionally located that can afford it.

  14. Breckenridge 4 wrote:

    If you look at their promo material more closely you would see that those are the dates that they would not bring the bus. They are trying to be good stewards as all of us are. They need 2 motel rooms because besides them they have other people in their group.Would you want all of them to stay in one room? I don’t think so… I have to say that most churches insist on getting the cheapest motel rooms that are not the nicest. Most people would not step foot in. You said mileage OR motel rooms. So pick one or the other. No big deal. You would freak out if you knew what was in some of these “riders” on contracts. Sometimes even after that a group still goes in the hole. Otherwise groups have to pay for fuel and lodging and meals and they hope that they at least break even. In the words of Jeff and Sheri–Been there done that, and I aint ever going back

  15. maddy wrote:

    #13 I do realize they make their living this way, we just were not prepared for what they asked for.Especially, when we booked them at a love offering rate. (Which would have been around $500.) Unfortunately, we had to cancel them. I know it is rough out there, as I have family in a singing/evangelistic ministry. Oh this was all on top of the love offering.

  16. maddy wrote:

    Of course we did not expect them to stay in one room, don’t be so facetious. We could have put them in a nice place, and I don’t mean a dump, but could not guarantee queen beds. We can’t afford the Hilton, and there’s not one close by anyway. Oh well, maybe some other time. I expect the fuel situation is canceling many dates. I know too that some churches renig on the love offering too. The artists doesn’t get the full amount, but it would not have happened with us.

  17. Mark wrote:

    Did anyone, ever go sing for a love offering and the church or pastor keep the offering and give it to another ministry.

    Just wanted to know, if it happen to anyone else.

  18. GospelMusicFan wrote:

    Mark, yes, I seen it happen in some churches but I do not think you would want the discussion to go in that direction.
    Should I be called into the singing ministry, I would replace the “love” offering with a “love with trust” offering for some of my church dates.
    The good churches are straight forward about giving andpaying the proper bills.
    Most churches will disclose love offering with words like “above expenses” or “all go to the group/soloist.”
    The end around that sharing of love offerings is to write personal check to the singing ministry. Just as long you do not recieve any products for the check, it is tax deductible.

  19. maddy wrote:

    #17 no way man!! What a rotten thing to do. I would sure make certain that was known, and didn’t happen to anyone else. That’s just way down wrong!

  20. Leebob wrote:

    #17 Haven’t had that happen yet. I would not want to be in his financial shoes when God gets through with the pastor that does that.

    #15 Maddy - How far were they having to go? I would recommend groups “count the cost” before making an agreement with a church so they know what is expected. Since you have a group if you go by love offering you know that you really cannot budget, especially if you travel any distance at all. As I mentioned in my earlier post, $1.00/mile is not bad at all with a love offering considering we used to pay $500 + LO when fuel wasn’t expensive for Poet Voices and Singing Americans on a pass through date.

  21. j wrote:

    Young christian singing ensemble from AG college. Many pastors gave the change kept the paper and check. Just happens.

  22. maddy wrote:

    #20 I think round trip would have been about 700 miles. But, they were to be in a neighboring town, not far away. Don’t know if they worked that our or not. I think it stinks when a church/pastor doesn’t give the group the full offering. My church usually gives the group a check plus whatever is collected. I don’t see how the groups do it. No wonder it’s so hard, and I agree about that cost should have been counted BEFORE making the committment BUT. We go forward.

  23. maddy wrote:

    I meant worked out, (not worked our)

  24. Jake wrote:

    Does the name Jim Bakker ring anybody’s bell? As the former leader of PTL he went to prison because he misrepresented and mishandled donations to their ministry that were given for a “supposed” purpose.

    My point? Any pastor who tells his congregation they are giving a love offering to a speaker, singer, or group, and then doesn’t give it to them, deserves the same thing Jim Bakker got. Most of the time it won’t happen, and he may get away with it — for a time — but that is how low and dishonest that practice is.

  25. Pastor Brighton wrote:

    Maddie, did you ask Johnathan & Ginger about the change? If you received posters and a letter requesting fuel expense, then that came from their manager (RH). He tries to help them all that he can. Just a good business manager.

  26. Leebob wrote:

    “Be sure the sin will find them out” comes to mind.

  27. Maddy wrote:

    #25, no I didn’t but that is something that I will pass along. You’re so right that is being a good manager. I wasn’t condeming them, please I don’t want anyone to think that, I thought sinice they quoted a certain price, they should have held to it. But here again I do realize the fuel situation. So I guess it is all good. No hard feelings toward them, I still love them and would go see them any time they are near. Thanks for the input everyone.

  28. BillyBob wrote:

    What about brushing the dust off your feet and go on. You will get a better blessing at your next church.

  29. FirstNighter wrote:

    Take expenses (fuel, rooms, food, etc) out of a love offering and soloists have barely enough to live on, much less groups. $500 plus mileage is a deal for a group, period. Mileage should have been disclosed when the deal was made, not mentioned as an aside…but it’s certainly reasonable to ask for. I always used the IRS rate allowable on taxes for mileage when I negotiated contracts.

  30. NoNameNashvilleMan wrote:

    # 24: in response to JIM BAKKER, your facts are not correct. In fact, the judgement against Mr. Bakker was overturned after he got out of prison.

  31. Leebob wrote:

    28 BillyBob…That is easy to do when you are doing something close by. When it happens over some distance, say the 700 miles round trip in the example above, that is a hard pill to swallow. A couple of times like that and it begins to affect what you can do in your ministry. It is because of this that ministries are going to have to seriously look at how they conduct business wth churches.

    I would even consider the one way rate if we were to have a couple of churches a decent proximity of each other. Anybody in this thing to make money is definitely in the wrong line of work. We do not take anything from our offerings except to cover fuel, hotels, and some of the food. Groups definitely shoud have a heart fo rministry and a head for business before considering ANY undertaking.

  32. my2centsworth wrote:

    When any artist books a date a year ago for a “love offering” aka “whatever gets thrown in the open guitar case”, and then in the mean time fuel costs more than double, if the church has any concern for the group or ministry they’ve booked, the terms will change. Even if the church contacts the artist and says that they understand with the rising fuel costs, they will make sure the artist doesn’t leave with just gas money.

    Here’s something that’s always bothered me and something for you to ponder…when a church books a group for a love offering only, the church gets off absolutely free. Whatever is given in the offering didn’t come out of the church budget at all, it was given by the folks attending. If they hadn’t had that group in, would they have called a special meeting to take up that offering for the church?

    The least the church could do is make sure the fuel, food and hotel is taken care of. If that’s too much, the church should really…I don’t know…. WAKE UP?!

    By the way, don’t give me the “lack of faith” sermon. Faith doesn’t excuse the the lack of responsibility and common sense.

    Maddy, I’m not upset with you, it’s just the whole “If the artist had enough faith, they wouldn’t ask for anything” mentality of many little churches. I find it funny how most of those churches will say “we won’t book an artist if they use a contract” but if they got “love offering” as part of the terms, then they want to cling to that worldly document so they don’t have to do anything to meet a legitimate need.

  33. Jim Alben wrote:

    If the artist agrees to a love offering or what ever the church should not have to put out anything. Wanting to out of love and obligated are two different things. Most churches these days have enough trouble keeping the doors open. It is a artist’s responsiblity to know what dates he/she can do and what they can’t do. It makes me sick when after the love offering is taken, the promoter or artist gets up and asks for some more love. That is a sure product sales killer. Ours ministry has grown from part time to full time and even profitable but it didn’t happen by poor judgement and it didn’t happen over night. And with product we no longer set a price. We sell more and usually get more per item that way. It has worked for 15 years and we aren’t about to change it now. As a side note to leeboob, do you honestly think I would give my real name after the things you have done to our family?

  34. Leebob wrote:

    Wow, I have absolutely no clue who you are Mr. Alben. I have racked my brain to try to identify you and see what I have done to you. I thought I had an idea until this most recent post because my idea had a different set of paramaters than the ones set forth by Mr. “Alben” except for one “possible” person and I am quite sure I have had very little dealings with this person or much thought about them, good or bad. I have also offered to Mr. “Alben” to contact me offline but he has failed to do so. I know of no group personally that is full time and been doing this for 15 years so Mr. “Alben” either has me mixed up with somebody else or Mr. “Alben” is lying through his teeth about who he is. I especially don’t know of any group or family that I did multiple “things”

    I have always tried to be up front and honest in my dealings with other groups, pastors, among others and to the best of my knowledge I cannot help you or make it right until you address me directly. I am not perfect, obviously, but as best I can recall this person does not exist in my past. I do wish instead of publicly smearing me with what amounts to an annonymous post that they would be a real man/woman and address me personally. It is real easy to work “behind the scenes” as you have accused in the past (it is true that we do accuse others of what we are guilty of ourselves) and toss out general information that could mean anything. You have the email so would you kindly please address me personally so I will know what the sam hill you are talking about and at least try to make it right.

    If not I am going to have to just chalk this up to sour grapes over something that was said on here and move on. You obviously have a bitter spirit and will be unable to receive the forgiveness of God based upon the truths presented in the model prayer.

  35. quartet-man wrote:

    #32, I see a different perspective as a church music director. Let me say to begin with that I have had very few “artists” in. It isn’t so much due to lack of desire, but for a few reasons (which I may address later.) However, one is money. Our church supports missions and other things and our members are pretty generous in different things. However, money is still an issue and with so many other things that they are asked money for (more vital things) and the fact there is a limited supply, it isn’t always great to ask for a love offering because at least some don’t give extra money for these special offerings, but take money away from their offering to the church. In other words, they have a set amount they are going to give and the more things that have offerings taken up for just waters down the amounts of the other offerings.

    Also, it does cost the church some to have them there. Lights, heating / AC advertisement (perhaps) etc. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t near as much for the church as it is the performer, but in reality, the performer is usually in more need to be there. Although members can enjoy a program, I have yet to see many churches gain any members by having groups in. Sure, there is no price for salvation of someone, but let’s be honest. Within the church, most are there for ministry and the entertainment, not to be saved. What I mean is that most are already saved, or at least have heard the message several times.

  36. Wade wrote:

    LeeBob… I tried to talk you out of going out with that PK back in 1993… Preacher’s Daughters are trouble. Fun most of the time, but Travis Tritt sang a song about them… T-R-O-U-B-L-E… This sounds like a mad pappa!!! LoL;-)))

  37. Milton Abernathey wrote:

    Here is one to ponder. In reasearching the stands on each presidential canidate, I ran across some very interesting information. 18 months ago Obama had a study done on how receptive the American people would be to a (these are my words here) “Simpleton, Watered Down, Lack of Substance” religon. He called it a steamlined opportunity for worship. Of course the study was paid for by taxpayers money. Looks like a foundation for one world religon to me.

  38. Ron F wrote:

    Please Doug, come back and save this Blog.

  39. Leebob wrote:

    Wade….Never dated a PK and was married at the time any way. I know you were joking but I take my name seriously. This has got everybody I am associated with baffled. The only person that comes to mind has been dealt with several years ago and they were not involved in a ministry, let alone full time. Mr. Alben is an alias and I have an inkling that his job status is too.

    For certain he or she is bitter and he/she may as well forget the “forgive us our trespasses” part of the model prayer until he/she has forgiven those who have trespassed against him or her.

  40. NonSGfan wrote:

    I would love for somebody other than me to combat the famous leestinkingbob.

  41. blogzgngdnhill wrote:

    #38, I think it’s gotten so bad, he doesn’t want to ever come back. IT sure has gone down hill lately. In fact–it’s gotten
    B O R I N G.

  42. buttercup wrote:

    NonSGFan
    What is there to combat? He makes rational statements, backs them up with experience and Scripture, doesn’t hide his identity (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and he actually does what most on this site only talk about, which is sing SG.

  43. jeff b. wrote:

    This is boring.

  44. Revpaul wrote:

    #35 quartet-man said
    “Although members can enjoy a program, I have yet to see many churches gain any members by having groups in.”

    My experience is quite different. Since we began our monthly concert series we have seen our congregation actually double in size in the past two years, and most of that growth can be attributed directly to Southern Gospel music.

    We are located a retirement community. The monthly concert and pot luck dinner which follows is something to do. The purpose of the pot luck is to be able to sit down and get to know these people. They like the good music and the friendly atmosphere, so they come back next month.

    Next thing you know, they show up at church the next morning because they’ve been personally invited the night before. They hear good Bible preaching, and they look forward to next month’s concert. So they join the church and begin asking “who are you having next month?”

    We’ve ended up with a church where nearly everyone loves SG music, especially the pastors, and and bunch of people that singing groups love to sing to.

    Folks, it starts out looking like entertainment, but it’s really ministry because look at the end result!

  45. Leebob wrote:

    #44 RevPaul…that is a new one that I hadn’t heard before. Certainly the fact that you are in a retriement community makes your situation a little unique and I congratulate you for being all things to the people in your community so you can reach them.

    Buttercup, Thank you for the kind words and, like you, I am not sure why NSGF feels the need to combat me. From what I have gathered in his posts he is a young man that sounds very old and cranky. He has a set of ideals that he is not coming off of and expects everybody else to follow those ideals and is willing to go to the death on issues like hair style, dress, and the evils of CCM. He and I agree alot of times on the main issues such as Christ being the only way to heaven and if he were to give me a chance, I bet we could be friends. However, there are some on here that think it is far more important to fix everybody else than it is to build bridges, which BTW later gives him the opportunity to engage and fix where we are wrong.

    Am I plowing close enough to the corn for you NSGF?

    Cordially,
    LeeStinkingBob

  46. pickandstick wrote:

    Please come back soon! This is getting way of of hand, and is very boring.

  47. Wade wrote:

    #35 quartet-man said
    “Although members can enjoy a program, I have yet to see many churches gain any members by having groups in.”

    QM… If the man was not dead I would think you are a short sighted Music Minister I used to know in the North Ga Area. Do you actually send out announcements to newspapers & radio station???… put it on your board out front or do any kinda of promotion???

    I have seen churches actually build a good congregation by have a regular concert.

    It gets ppl to church that would normally not come. Then BAM they hear a positive message about God and actually end up having a salvation experience and come to church.

    Now if you did not do any promotion. Your congregation does it’s best to keep it a secret because you did not want any OUTSIDERS,the MESS they cause or Good Lord THE EXTRA POWER lol ;-)))…that gets burned when you have many extra people in then I can see that is about the only way you could get your result.

    I would guess you have a small church with an engineer that goes out and reads that meter after ever service to make sure the ladies sunday school class did not slip in their waffle irons again!!! LoL;-)) ( really saw this)

    Maybe a country club type church that is a requires a screening MEETING with the PASTOR & a CLASS you have to go to before you can be A MEMBER. Many Baptist Churches are doing this now…talk about hoops and keeping out the trouble makers. If you go in to visit you get strange looks instead of welcoming hand shakes.

    THEN these churches wonder WHY they do not grow… but by golly they got them some close members ( mostly family & blue hairs ) and they are all in tune and in one accord!!! LoL;-))

    But they are BORING CHURCHES!!!

    If all your members are believers you might want to get out and invite some SINNERS!!! OH… But you might have a bigger power bill and you might have to pick up some extra gum wrappers…THOSE PPL ARE NOT WHAT YOU ARE WANTING in YOUR CHURCH!!!

    They might have a drink, curse or maybe even gay!!!

  48. cynical one wrote:

    #42 buttercup — I think that’s exactly what non wants to combat: rational statements, experience, and scripture. Some folks just don’t know how to deal with those things.

  49. quartet-man wrote:

    #44. I hope to comment more later, but let me say that it is great that you get people in there. It sounds like you are in a great place and have the right combination to make it work. Kudos.

    I want to say I am not talking specifically SG music, but all types. Basically, the church musicians you might have in fall in different categories. The first type are the musicians whose name mean nothing even to most of those in the Christian community. You can advertse, but without brand recognition, you won’t get many unless it is those who have nothing else to do or want to experiment with unknown music.

    The next type are those who have somewhat of a local or regional following. Some of their own fans might come, or some who know someone who said they are good.

    The third would be the big groups which take more money than we have.

    Even with all three types, people come for the concert and that is pretty much it. They have their own churches and most aren’t looking. They just come for the concert and that is it. I have gone to a few other churches for the same thing before I worked for the church.
    Sure, you get a chance to meet people and can make a good impression, but pretty much most aren’t looking for a new church home.

  50. quartet-man wrote:

    #47, Wade, you have no idea. We are a medium sized church. We have great people. Some new, some who have been here for some time and some who have been here much of their lives. Even a few who helped build this building over 50 years ago. The pastor is great and we are blessed to have him. He works hard, is caring and is well loved. The music director ain’t bad either. ;)

    If you read my comment above, you wil see that I am talking all types of music. I program mostly Southern Gospel here. Those who do specials can do whatever style they want. I do two hymns and two praise chrorses for congregational singing and then there is a little more service music. Pre service and post service music varies. I play CD’s in different styles. Sometimes I program selected songs of varying styles to go with the sermon topic.

    As far as the sending out advertisements, advertisements don’t do much good if the group isn’t known. It is like the groups you see with full page ads in the Singing News who don’t even have a song on the chart and you have never heard of. Anyone can buy an ad, but what good does it do if you aren’t known unless you find someone who is willing to come and take the chance. Sure someone like the Collingsworths have a following here, but even then, the people come to hear them and then return to their own churches. The ones who are not church people wouldn’t know the Collingworths from The Ruppes.

    We are open to outsiders and get new members. Part of our problem is location, I suppose and part is there are a lot of churches in town to choose from.

    Another deal is school activities and the like that happen on Sundays.

    Now, I will say, we haven’t had regular concerts, so I suppose if we did that might help some over the course of a long time, but we don’t have the money to pay people regularly for that. We support missions, both local and global, and other things as well as local evangelism and mission trips from people here. Now, I have to go, but that is all I will say right now except the following.
    If you are saying that we should lower church standards to get more people in, then you are right we won’t. We aren’t browbeating people and all are welcome. However, the pastor challenges us with sermons to be closer to God to live more like he woudl live etc. He is not in the vain of say many Baptist pastors for instance, but he isn’t going to say things aren’t sin that are either. His sermons have personal stories in them, humor etc. But, by the same token the Word will be preached. We will not exclude parts because they aren’t popular. He presents them in a loving way and for us to be better, not to makes us feel worse, but to be more like Christ.

  51. KEW wrote:

    Could this be the very first “blog opera”? Lee Bob I would fight for naming rights. I think “As Lee Bob’s World Turns” is fitting. Maybe some of the INTERNS could be extras. That’s IF you can free them from the dimly lit basement.
    And if ANYBODY makes $$$ from this, I want my cut of it! LOL

  52. rod wrote:

    #35 PUULLLEEAASSSSEEE

    MOST (Not all) but most churches could pay expenses and a generous offering once every 3 months or so…I get so tired of churches and their staff talking about how us artists are asking too much…I wish every Pastor/music minister/deacon would go out on the road for ONE year and make their living and I guarantee you they would break their neck to bless these artists/ministries. I have been on the road for 17 years and 75% of all churches could afford to give a group/artist at least a $1000.00. I have seen it and what’s sad is that most of my big (money) dates are churches of less than 500 members…Sad, sad, sad. Everyone complains of quality and full bands and good marketing but we flat out cannot pay for it if the churches do not support it and THEY do not.

    Also I have seen churches literally built from nothing by having special events and concerts…Not sure what you guys are doing but if it is marketed and promoted correctly you will see an increase.

  53. Leebob wrote:

    An Open Letter to Mr. Alben

    Dear Mr. “Alben”,

    I place your name in quotations because you have already admitted this to being an alias.

    I have contact Doug in regards to this and he, as well as I, would like to see an end to this back and forth discourse that really should only involve you and me. To publicly discuss this is not beneficial to the other posters, our host, certainly not me, and it doesn’t make you look too good as well. Of course using an alias nobody is none the wiser as to your identity so perhaps you are not concerned how you are viewed.

    This is the last time that I will address this publicly. I am asking you to contact me directly through our website and then from that point I will give you my personal email so I can at least make an attempt to make my offense right and release both of us from this. Certainly having had a ministry for over 15 years you must understand the need to lay your gift at the alter when you have aught with a brother in Christ and make it right before you continue to worship. Our ministries are certainly heavy on the worship side of things. Please Mr. “Alben”, for the sake of both of our ministries, contact me offline @ lee@ransomedonline.com.

    Thank you,
    Lee Berry
    Ransomed Music Ministry

  54. James Holt wrote:

    Sounds like leebob is squirming….

  55. seriouswannabee wrote:

    No, LeeBob is doing exactly what he should do. This doesn’t involve anyone but them. It shouldn’t be dragged out into the open for everyone to see. It’s not OUR bidness. LeeBob, I hope you get your chance to make right what was wrong, but if not then just shake it off and go on. You have tried and that’s what it takes.

  56. quartet-man wrote:

    #52 Rod, first of all nowhere did I say whether a person or group were worth the money. What I said is we can’t afford it, so I just don’t have the groups there. I wouldn’t want them to come and not be able to pay them. There is a huge misconception in what a church takes in. We are dependent on what the members give too. If the members don’t give it, guess what? We are somewhere between 200-300 people attend. Many are retired (not all). Then you have the ones starting out and others with families. Don’t get me wrong, we have some generous people, but not everyone because if they were tithing to our church, we would do considerably better because right now by the amount coming in, one would think we were a lot worse than what our people are. I do suspect some give part of their tithe elsewhere, so I can’t say for sure.

    You think you have it tough and perhaps you do, but try being a church employee and see that it isn’t money over fist either. I am blessed more than some for sure, but it still isn’t enough on its own. I work full time there and have a second job and I still make less than what many other vocations make.

    To give you an idea. My worship budget for the year when I started 4-5 years ago was $2000 for the year. This is for the sheet music (for choir and bell choir) , accompaniment CD’s, CCLI license (which is over $300 itself), my office supplies, computer software (I can present this to trustees, but more often than not they would tell me to get it out of my own budget unless perhaps it was basic software to start with.) There is more that covers, but I won’t get into specifics yet. I will say that I need a chair mat for my office. The one I have is cracked and a chunk came out. Guess what? The trustees turned me down until next year because they are not sure if there will be enough money left for the year. We are having to replace our copying machine and risograph. Both are old and have been repaired about as much as they can be. Our folding machine is on its last legs too.
    Insurance rates are real expensive. The church pays half of mine and I pay half. Approximately one fourth of my gross income goes towards that, but I thank God I have it. If not, with the surgeries and year I have had, I could well have been ruined or at least in debt for the rest of my life or many years. That, and the generosity of some of my church family has helped keep that from happening.

    We have had to replace two air condition units and repair the third until next year when it might be replaced. We are turning off the air or heat (depending on time of year) in the sanctuary except for times of use. So far, the temp at summer will be 84% unless we override it. I am not sure what they will shoot for in winter yet. So, excuse me if I disagree with your assessment. Our situation is probably not a lot different that SG performers.

    I don’t know what is happening in churches you are in or how accurate you are in your assessment, but face it. There are several churches in town, and I haven’t heard of any who have these things and have grown because of it. One church that is a community church that once did well, isn’t so much anymore. They have had David Phelps in (and it was promoted well) and other artists and activities. That is great, but if someone goes expecting that every Sunday, they will be disappointed.

    Back to the thing you said about churches not giving money. If what you are offering is well received, and appreciated then why isn’t what you get from offerings and CD sales enough? Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that what you offer isn’t worth it, or that you SHOULD only get that, but follow me. Even if if is everything good, people aren’t paying enough apparently in the plate to support you. Well, guess what. The church gets our money in the plate and you might even get it from additional members who are visiting to hear you. Add to that CD sales, and you should see the point. You have more ways to get paid than we do, and yet you expect us to be able to add to that. Once again, I am not saying you don’t deserve it. Only that you have more sources for income than we do, but expect us to make up what people aren’t giving when our funds are derived from the same people. If they aren’t supporting you, what makes you think they are giving us what we need either?

    Once again, since we cannot give what I feel is good, I don’t really have people in. We have had a few people who wanted to sing for love offerings and have their CD’s set up and I did allow it if that is what they wanted, but they sought me out not the other way around. They did receive decent love offerings I believe, but it was their choice to come, not mine.

    We have lost several members to death in the past few years. I believe the members of our church or immediate family members perhaps in the past 3 years or so numbers 50 or so.

    With all that said, we have held our own. We are still able to support missionaries and such. We haven’t had to close the doors. People are possibly giving better than in the past, but we still have a way to go.

  57. Wade wrote:

    #52… Rod… I am there with ya yet another person to agree us & RevPaul.

    How many other ppl know of churches that draw new members from having concerts & special events??

    I loved QM line in # 50… “If you are saying that we should lower church standards to get more people in, then you are right we won’t.”

    This means they do screen members via meeting & mandatory class!!! LoL:-))

    This keeps the trashy undesirables away from most likely a lilly white church w/ many blue hairs & EXTENDED FAMILIES!!

    AND QM & MANY OTHERS WONDER WHY THEY JUST CAN’T BREAK OUT & GROW!!

    But by golly let’s send our money away to make sure we fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION!!! AND fall in goose step with THE BOARD!!!

  58. Leebob wrote:

    Since we brought up offerings and churches…had a pastor once was asked to go to two services. His response was in the form of a challenge to the church: “when 50% of our members are tithing and we do not have enough money to build a sanctuary large enough to hold our people then I will go to two services.”

    Not too long after that they were up to about 40% tithing (most churches the number is around 17%) and were building their new sanctuary with money to spare.

    Having been on both sides of this issue, the music minister and the singer, I am seeing that the Christians who are not tithing are also the ones who will not give a generous love offering when a group appears. The ones that do give are usually the ones who will not take from their tithe to do so. It is not a church problem nor is it a singer problem. It is a heart problem with God’s people, plain and simple.

    We make things way to difficult. There is a simplicity when it comes to Christ that if we could get back to alot of questions we have would be answered.

  59. quartet-man wrote:

    Wade, when I mentioned church standards, I was not speaking of the church standards themselves, but was speaking of the church as a collection of all Christians. A better word would have been Biblical standards, but I didn’t have the time to post, but wanted to get it done anyhow.

    My pastor does not spend time bashing people over the head. He tries to get us to live better. That doesn’t mean he will say sin is okay to do and that is my point. He doesn’t really spend much time saying what we shouldn’t do as much as what we should do.

    All people are welcome to attend. However, to join the church there are certain requirements, but I haven’t seen those be a problem with anyone. What are some of the requirements? Not many, and I wouldn’t know them all, but salvation is one. If you haven’t accepted Christ then you have the wrong order. If that is what it takes to get members, count us out. There are things more important than numbers. Your argument would only work if there were people wanting to join who were turned down. I don’t believe that is the case, and people who want to join already attend there. So, try again.

    I am offended that you act like we try to keep undesirables away. That is a low blow and you couldn’t know this. We are a loving church. My pastor has been to several churches in his career and he talks about fortunate we are to have a church who love each other and care for people. Who have a heart for missions, who have members who are active in the life of the church. He hopes to retire from our church which would be him there for a long time. I hope he can too.

    So, before you start throwing out accusations maybe you should know what you are talking about.

    I have yet to see a church grow due to special musicians. I will say it again. If that is what they are coming for, then they will come when you have that, but not to other church activities and not to regular church. Most, if not all will already have a church home. Those unsaved aren’t going to come to hear a gospel group they have never heard of. It means nothing to them. Sure, if we somehow had Elvis there, people might come to hear him, but even then it isn’t like they would decide to join the church after that. ;)

    The secretary at my church is married to a pastor of another church. Their church is more of a country church. Would you believe old church people there hadn’t even heard of Dottie Rambo? So, if there are church people who don’t even know the name of one of the most popular performers in the genre, how do you expect those outside the church to know or care about these performers?

    Gaither has done good in putting people on TV who many have never heard of and I am sure progress has been made. But how many churches can say they can afford some of the prime Homecoming singers?

  60. quartet-man wrote:

    I neglected to talk about your last line about missions. We are called to go out in His name. I agree that doing this and ignoring local people would be a mistake, but there are churches all over America. Services on TV. People who want to hear have plenty of opportunities. Do you not care about those who have no opportunities to hear? We support people who go out to them. Who minister in building wells, making a library, having orphanages. This is great work. People who do not designate where the funds go will have their money go into current expense which pays the bills. So, people have a choice. Now, I can’t recall if part of our current expense goes to missions. I would have to check, but the decision would have been one made by the board which represents the members. I believe our obeying God and taking His word out has helped us in making it because we are trying to spread His word. I do believe we need to take care of ourselves so that we have the resources to take care of others, but that doesn’t mean we do everything we want to do.

  61. KDM wrote:

    Wade, I have a real problem with the way your comments are heading. Having standards does not mean anyone ’screens’ people or turns ‘undesirables’ away. Having standards means preaching the gospel unashamedly and making no apology for what the Word says. Quartet-Man made it clear that all are welcome at his church, but that they will find no watered-down Gospel there. We can preach the Word in love and pray that the Holy Spirit will draw lost souls unto Him, but we can only do that if we are faithful to the Word when we preach it.

    Quartet-Man never said anything about being judgmental. We all have a sin nature that makes it possible for us to commit the most reprehensible of sins. It’s only the grace of God that delivers us from such a fate. Many of the lost have not been so fortunate. It’s our job to love them, show them that Christ loves them, and convince them to turn away from their sin and follow Him. That’s the standard we should be upholding, and if that makes me elitist, so be it.

  62. brad wrote:

    I have never gotten a new member by hosting a sing. I happen to love Southern Gospel music but i believe we are to 1st and foremost spend our finances in evangelizing our community that doesnt happen from an hour long concert.No i wouldnt want to travel every weekend but most singers wouldnt give up singing to large crowds and felling like their something special for a crowd of 60 on Sunday morning and 20 on Sunday night do u think?

  63. SGfan wrote:

    # 56 quartet-man

    I can totally appreciate what you have posted, having headed up a music program for a church before. But, I want to ask a few questions and make a few assertions.

    First of all, in an earlier post you mentioned your congregation was a medium sized one and then in the latest you mention between 200 and 300 attenders. In todays church, I would think that is a small congregation and would consider medium somewhere around 500 attenders, but that is “nit picking”. I guess my question is, what are you and your church doing to increase those numbers? I understand that SG for the most part is not going to work in building the church, but with the right groups in the right event set up and the right structure, it does expose your facility to outsiders and nonmembers. With that said, you need a group or an event that will draw people that don’t go to church, not just simply people from other churches.

    Second, besides the obvious such as missions and church upkeep, how much of the tithe an offerings coming in are people seeing used right there to impact their community. If you want to increase giving, you will need to figure out the best and most efficient way for people to see how it affects their lives where they are. We live in a mission field here at home as well.

    Third, you mentioned losing about 50 church or immediate family members to death in the last 3 years. How many new people have you brought in? Is your congregation an older congregation that is dwindling simply because its members are leaving this world one by one, or is your church taking steps to not only be a church of yesterday but be a church for the generations to come?

    It seems these are some questions that need to be asked and studied in board meetings in the near future. I encourage any church that feels it is in a stagnation to start asking itself these questions. The church I go to started off @ 50 years ago with somewhere around 9 people. Today we are running 4000+ and still growing. Not all churches are meant to get that large, but churches should remain productive and should remain a very vital part of the community.

  64. quartet-man wrote:

    I need to add a few things. I don’t have much time but at least want to say a few things.

    I am a huge Southern gospel fan. I have almost single handedly brought it into church for many years (even before I took this job.)

    I respect several SG artists and appreciate what they do. However as a church employee, I need to operate within the money I have to work with. I have to take care of things first like choir music and the like within the church and think of what will more effectively help us keep going and grow. SG artists don’t really seem like a good investment. They can be blessings, but not so much help the programs and people here more than the time they are here.

    Wade, besides the insults to my church, which really frosted me, your seemingly ridiculing the great commission bothers me more.

    I would like to point out that many who disagree with my assessment are SG artists themselves. Can you really be impartial? I can because I see the other side of it, but have a love for SG and performers.

    I would like to know how those of you who sing know that your contributions have helped build the church and how you can be sure it isn’t other things?

  65. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    #57, Wade,
    Churches that have mandatory new members classes are not trying to screen out “trashy” people. All of us who are redeemed are no better than the worst sinner. It is only Christ and His righteousness that has been credited to our account that gives us any good standing before God. Everyone is welcome to come and attend, but only those who profess faith in Christ and his provision on the cross and show evidence of a changed life are allowed into membership. This is called having a “regenerate” church membership. In the 1800s, this was the way things were done in most all Bible-believing churches.

    Those of us who have mandatory membership classes and who practice church discipline do so, because we realize as the great Baptist leader Dagg wrote, “When discipline leaves a church, Christ goes with it.” The scriptural passage in Matthew 18 that is oft quoted, “Where two or three are gathered together” is not speaking of a small group of people attending a worship service. It is speaking of church discipline.

    Our church desires to reach all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. We have white, black, and hispanic members from all socio-economic backgrounds. However, we don’t allow everyone to do his own thing here. I have served in other churches that try to be all things to all people with no concern for what the Bible says about things, and it is a nightmare to serve in these churches. Many of the young ministers today refuse to serve in such churches. I serve in a reformed Baptist Church, but even the purpose driven churches do not allow everyone to do their own thing.

    Reaching people and growing is our desire. We have a fall festival that is free to all. We have ministries for all age groups that help to minister to others. We are serious about the Great Commission and about holiness. You can have both. You don’t have to choose one or the other.

  66. intern wrote:

    #51 KEW - You and others keep talking about “the dimly lit basement”. I still don’t see ANY lights. Been here over a year, still no lights, other than the warm glow from our computer screens.

    Please don’t torment us with shallow promises of even DIM lights. GH says y’all don’t know what you’re talking about. He says the only electricity is the extention chord our laptops are plugged into, and that is connected to the neighbor’s house.

  67. Cliff Cerce wrote:

    To #56 quartet-man

    As a former pastor, I understand better than you think about the constraints of the budget - and about being sensitive to making the members of the congregation feel obligated to give to multiple needs and projects.

    That is one reason why we have worked so hard to keep our costs low. I know what is it was like to travel in comfort to dates in a coach that was only about a dozen years old - but we now travel in conversion van, and are very contented in doing so. We are anticipating that our mileage will almost double when the hydrogen conversion will be made to our van in the coming weeks - again keeping our costs low.

    Our trio only involves members of 2 families. Some ask why we don’t become a quartet, but that would automatically increase the number of families we would have to take care of to 3.

    And, we are fortunate in that the Lord has allowed our group members to be involved in an unrelated business that provides much of the support we need, so we are not totally dependent on our concerts for our support. That has become quite common. The Cathedrals had the garment factory, The Greenes are involved in a funeral home, many groups have recording studios - and we even have heard that Bill Gaither has a little poublishing company on the side.

    We have the best of both worlds - we are free to leave town to go sing as we need to, unencumbered by other obligations, yet we all have a way to be productive economically when we are back in town.

    This didn’t start out that way, but the Lord has brought that opportunity and blessing to us.

    That said, we are one of those groups that take pleasure in singing anywhere on an offering basis. We have been coast-to-coast and to Canada, and we have done just fine. We don’t mention the offering or get involved in the taking of it. We live in Missouri and we visited a church with just about 20 people in it (also in a retirement village) among the churches on our last trip to Florida, yet we made our budget for the trip just fine.

    Maybe it sounds strange to some, but the offerings and product sales are adequate to cover our needs - and the revenues are growing, not declining.

    It appears that the churches usually add to the offerings when they write the check to us, but we do not require them to do so. Other groups have told us we should change our policy - but we love being able to just go through the doors the Lord opens - and we really can then fully rejoice when someone accepts the Lord or is encouraged in one of our concerts.

    On the other hand - we also do freebies as we can. I am waiting right now on a return call from the Alzheimer’s unit of a large nursing home - to schedule a return visit there in early November. We will be in Alabama in mid-October for a Thursday TV taping, and concerts Friday, Saturday and 2 churches on Sunday. We learned of a nursing home about 20 miles from the Friday night date, so we made arrangements to stop by on the way for a Friday afternoon concert for about an hour for the folks there.

    And - all I can say is that God takes care of us financially. I do not criticize groups that charge flats or ask for expenses, etc. That is their right - and that is most probably the plan God has for their group - and that is fine and how it should be.

    I’m just telling you what His plan has been for us, and we’re having a ball visiting churches week after week just like quartet-man’s, and perhaps filling a need for them on a budget they can afford.

  68. Music Chick wrote:

    What happened with Dave Wilcox and Eddie Crook? Anyone?

  69. P&S wrote:

    Eddie Crook Company does not even have a person working radio calls for their artist any more. They are (according to some groups I have talked to) late on promised product and radio releases. This is a great shame, considering their history. Many top groups today owe their national exposure to ECC.

  70. jgurnett wrote:

    Dave Wilcox is as big a scoundrel as there is in SG music. I say that based on personal experience as we were under contract with him for two years. Who knows what happened with Crook… but if Crook got taken it’s Crook’s own fault. Nearly anybody who’s been in the business knows the reputation Wilcox has had for a very long time.

  71. DJPhil wrote:

    #63 SGFan Just to let you know, you are in what is called a “megachurch”. I don’t know what denomination you are, but Southern Baptists only have 2% of their churches that have a membership of over 2000 and note that most churches have less than 50% of their membership in attendance. So really a 200-300 in attendance would be a mid-sized or even large church since “membership” would likely be in the 400-600 neighborhood unless they trim their membership regularly. A Harvard study shows that 98% of churches in America have under 1000 in attendance.
    But I still think quartet-man could at least break even with the budget bringing in SG concerts!! lol

  72. cynical one wrote:

    Yeah, is Eddie still living up to his name?

  73. DJPhil wrote:

    When the news came out awhile back that Dave Wilcox bought the Eddie Crook company it didn’t mention that there were also 3 other “silent” partners. Those three have bought Dave out, and as one told me, their desire is to bring the Eddie Crook company back to the quality and integrity company it was in the early days when Eddie was running it. The owner that I know is of the highest integrity and a pastor (I know those two don’t ALWAYS go together…)
    And #72 “cynical one”, maybe you don’t care for Eddie yourself, and I know many didn’t like that some of the groups on his labels maybe were not the best, BUT, I think he has always been honest in his business dealings and given artists a place to start and grow.

  74. quartet-man wrote:

    Thanks everyone who has responded lately. I appreciate you sharing your experience and thoughts. I intend on commenting to the questions / challenges later when I have time. I will say that I guess small, medium and large are in the eyes of the beholder and of course relative. In this town we probably are about medium. Small would be more like the country churches and there are at least a few in town larger than us.

  75. SGfan wrote:

    #71 DJPhil

    I totally understand that I am in a megachurch and did not try to imply anything to the contrary. That does not negate what I stated. When a churches attendence is less than half of its membership, then the membership needs to be re-evaluated. My church is an example of a church who has a higher attendence than membership. I guess some trimming needs to be done in some of these churches. I think the main thing I pointed to in the post was not the size, but ways to make the events effective for the church and to make the church effective for the events. Those were the real questions that were addressed. I would look forward to hearing other thoughts on the issue.

  76. quartet-man wrote:

    DJ Phil, yes we have more members and yes we trim it. We would notify people who haven’t attended or we haven’t heard from for a long time. We asked them if they wanted to remain members or not, I believe. If nothing else, we at least would give them the chance to say they still wanted to be a member and if they wanted to stay a member, we would leave them there.

    There are reasons why we did this (mostly a financial one), but I won’t get into that any further. I only mentioned it briefly to have people understand one reason why a church would want to remove members who have not been active for several years instead of just leaving them as members.

  77. quartet-man wrote:

    #63 SGFan, I will try to take a few moments and discuss part of your post further.

    Yes, Sg concerts (or any for that matter) could introduce our people to new people and them to us. However, as said, most are not looking for another church. This becomes more tricky if the concerts are done when things are going on at their churches. Yes, we need to draw non church members there. I agree. We don’t really want to be a church that “steals” members from other churches. There is one in town who has done just that. I don’t know if they set out to, but it has turned out that way, but they after several years are losing members. Many people get excited about a new church and go for a while. Then it becomes status quo and they want something else new.

    We do do a decent amount of things, but people have busy lives and it seems many of the people have a lot going on outside of church. Not just our members, but those outside of the church.
    We actually got some new members in who liked coming, but they have drifted away. At least one family (besides moving a little further away) just let other activities take precedence. (Sports etc.) I am not sure of the other, but we are trying to find out.
    We have gotten others to attend who used to not do so, but I suspect we have lost more than we have gained (due to death mostly), but we are close to holding our own (but I don’t just want to do that.)

    We do do outreach to the community. Some is through several churches banding together and they do a lot of the oversight. This is important because they are better equipped to do so and more easily see those who take advantage and who get help from several places. There are many who would take advantage. Other ways we do more hands on. However, for the most part, these people take what they can get, and only pretty much show up or contact us to get what we are giving them.

    Part of our problem I suppose is location. Part is the large amount of choices in town. Part is getting the word out to some people. Part is we are large enough to have a lot to take care of, but not large enough or have enough money to have a lot of it done. We have to do a lot ourselves and many members do many things. If we had more money we would have more tools and time to do things. As it is, my pastor is overrun at times and I certainly get that way. There are only so many hours in the day, so much energy, so much money, so many things people want. Perhaps we need to drop some things, but you also know how that can be. (Taking away things that are already there. :-))

  78. SGfan wrote:

    #77 quartet-man

    I definitely know how difficult it is to drop programs that are already in existence and that are not very effective. Let’s face it, our government can’t seem to do it and a lot of times our churches can’t. People get comfortable and change makes them that much more uneasy. I don’t know all the specifics of the situation of your area, but I do know what has worked for us. You mentioned the people having so much to do away from church, so maybe the church needs to get involved in those areas. I am sure there are sports leagues between churches in your area. If your church is not involved, maybe that would be a good place to start. The point is not to turn the church into a social club, but to realize that interaction among members is the only way to strengthen and make the church a family. When it comes to the concert issue we mentioned earlier, if you are interested in doing those types of events look for sponsors. As a church, you are a non-profit organization and businesses are always looking for tax breaks through charitable contributions. If they, sponsor an event at your church, they get the tax incentives and you get the financial backing without putting financial strain on the church. The only thing I would suggest is plan ahead, and I don’t mean start two weeks out. Start planning no less than 6 months out. Get people involved. Make it a community effort. You often hear “a tree will be known by the fruit it bares” and that is what you want to do with any event. I am sure that in a church of 200 to 300 attenders, you can probably expect about 20 to 30 people that will be willing to help make any event a success. That is only 10% of the attenders. I know that is not many, and that is probably average in today’s church. The point is, I understand that finances are tight. But, you can not and should not throw your hands in the air and say it can’t be done. You have to look for solutions and surround yourself with people that will help look for those solutions. In the end, you’ll be better for it and your church will be better for it.

  79. KEW wrote:

    #66 intern - Dearest intern, I am so sorry for the working conditions you must endure daily AND nightly. It sounds like you are deprived of even having enough electric for a Coke machine and that must make it rough since you lack a sufficient supply of caffeine to keep up with your heavy work schedule what with DH going on NUMEROUS “deserved” vacations. How’s about we have a benefit concert for an INTERN ELECTRIC fund? There must be numerous artists who would be willing to help the INTERNS for DH!

  80. quartet-man wrote:

    SGFan, I agree throwing one’s hands up is sure not to help, whereas other things might. Well, throwing one’s hands up to God might help. ;-) I have more ideas than I have time and money for to help things, but even then I don’t know if they will help. But of course not doing anything is sure not to help. :-)

    I think your 10% rule is probably fairly accurate for a lot of churches. I can’t say if it is here or not. We have a lot of people who care and who volunteer, but I haven’t counted numbers. I do know some do a lot of different things for sure.

    Our church is indeed blessed though. I dwelt more on things lacking in the previous posts to show that many people don’t understand things the church has to deal with in as far as finances and the like. However, our congregation cares for each other and we are like a family. That is far too rare in churches from what I hear. I can’t speak highly enough for the people here in that regard.

  81. Wade wrote:

    #67 Cliff - Fun to see your name back on the blog. Glad you are over the pouting and if you had just admitted to puffing up the importance then you would have saved yourself the many paragraphs of defending the way you were busted. I still think it was funny. When you’re busted… just say YOUR BUSTED & move on. Any time I see a 12+ paragraph post defending the indefensible I think it could be Cliff.

    Does anybody miss Dr. Joe? I do and seeing CC on reminded me of him.

    Quartet Man # 64- Buddy NOT sorry I frosted ya. But I have been proved out. You wondered why the church did not grow??? I knew you had to have those MANDATORY SCREENING CLASSES… You DID!!! You said you had a Medium Size Church and it ended up being a SMALL Church. Even SG FAN backed me up on that. I bet you do not have the numbers you are admitting. Then it made me laugh how you defended that by saying something like…well a country church around here is small… Do you know Cliff???

    I said you had to have many of OLD PPL and a few BIG FAMILIES and you admitted to it. I laughed that you just could not figure out how to get NEW PPL in the church by having SGM Events and I have lost count of how many ppl wondered what you were smoking??

    I know your kind of church. I bet the engineering member reading the electric meter and the janitor complaining about picking up the gum wrappers after an attempted EVENT is not far off either. IF YOU WOULD ADMIT IT!!!

    #65 Mike McIlwain & QMAN - Mandatory Classes and THAT ALL IMPORTANT MEETING w/ THE PASTOR to SCREEN MEMBERS are the biggest crock of Sh[edit]t of which I have ever heard. Let’s don’t let the undesirables that MIGHT come in and challenge the way we do things become members. Cause then Uncle Chester might not be THE MAN ANYMORE and he might take his tithe money and go some place else and start another incestuous church. Where most of the members are related and PLEASE do not grow this thing where we might loose the vote. COME ON…. PULEEZE… these kinds of churches do WAY MORE DAMAGE to YOUR GREAT COMMISSION than anybody setting on their wallet not giving to THE LOTTIE MOON OFFERING!!!

    I would love to know how many ppl VISIT The Old Church and see so many whopper jawed ppl then flee before the last prayer.

    Maybe if you made ppl feel welcome and you had reasonable teachings YOU MIGHT GROW and those ppl both of you worry about not meeting YOUR CHRISTIAN Standards MIGHT come to church… see the light and GROW as Christians. But while you guys are busy making sure EVERYBODY believes EXACTLY LIKE YOU believe they think WoW if this is what church is like WHO NEEDS IT!!!

    I agree WHO NEEDS it???…But you and Uncle Chester’s Family. Continue on in your SMALL CHURCH. IT WILL BE LIKE THAT A WHILE!!!

  82. Gospel Has Been wrote:

    I remember a few years ago one of the most prominent groups in the business at that time came to one of the biggest churches in our town. The preacher of this church really wanted this group but they said they would not come for an offering but had to have their FLAT. Now this was before the economy and gas got so terribly bad. The preacher agreed to the FLAT and the group came to sing. The place was packed not even standing room left. The next year the same group was invited back to the same church at about the same time but this time they agreed to come for an offering. Again the place was full to the rafters and the offering was twice what the FLAT was so offerings are not always a bad thing. I know this is true because I’m a member of the church.

  83. Bones wrote:

    How about the churches whose check bonces.

  84. Jim2 wrote:

    Gospel Has Been #81,
    I think that shows the wisdom of having a FLAT. When a church knows they have to come up with such a large amount, they tend to go all out in getting the word out about a concert and making sure it is properly advertised, promoted etc. THEN, once the group can see that the church is willing to work to make a big concert happen, they are more likely to agree to come for an offering.
    The alternate scenario is, the group agrees to come for a freewill offering, the church knows they won’t be out anything no matter how many show, and the promotion can be lackluster, the crowd low, and the death spiral begins.

  85. Mike McIlwain wrote:

    Does anyone know the status of the Southern Gospel Lovers website? It is not functioning. When you type in the web address it takes you to the Go Daddy site. I was wondering if anyone knew if it was out of business for good, or if this is a temporary thing.

  86. Payton wrote:

    I can understand having to take some time off or whatever, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that this blog is desperately beginning to suck. Quite badly at that. If you aren’t going to blog, then why have a blog?

  87. Jake wrote:

    Doug –
    Are you turning this blog site over to Wade, Harry Peters, etc. or are you coming back soon?
    I suspect a number of people would like to know what is going on.
    It’s ok for you to take a break, but things are really going to pot here. Personally, I’m getting fed up with it. It doesn’t seem to be about southern gospel music anymore. It’s all about homosexuality, nasty and evil insinuations about Ernie Haase (which infuriates EHSS fans like myself), and others are arguing fine points of doctrine on which they will never agree or even agree to disagree, but they are letting their flesh rule what they say when they argue back and forth. And it isn’t pretty!
    Let’s get this thing back to southern gospel music or please, take down the site. This is absolutely ridiculous.

  88. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Maybe people griping and complaining all the time on here is why he’s taking such a long break.

  89. scope wrote:

    #87 Jake, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize someone was twisting your arm, making you read this blog. I don’t like the direction it takes sometimes, but I surely don’t want Doug to shut it down.

  90. Jake wrote:

    #89 Scope — No, nobody is twisting my arm. But you have to admit a lot of people with twisted minds are writing on here.

  91. CVH wrote:

    Personally, in Doug’s absence, I nominate Harry Peters to be the temporary moderator/blogmeister extrordinaire. He makes more sense than a lot of the inmates who’ve been wandering free in the asylum lately.

  92. Wade wrote:

    # 91 CVH… I second that motion.

    I also nominate to help Old Harry Peter’s 2 ppl. His Brother Needham who will help temper some of the gay talk & EHSSQ Bashing. Both are needed, but Harry seems to sometime get carried away when he & his wife Fonda sometimes rehearse the communion service too many times for their Sunday Church Service and he just gets happy and carried away.

    I know & also nominate his wife Fonda who will also help Harry in the role of INTERN or in her case a PAGE!!!

  93. Irishlad wrote:

    This one’s for Richard Head.Many years ago when the ‘troubles’ were rageing in dear old Belfast i was loitering aimlessley at a street corner,when some misguided individual decided to let off a random round which hit the wall beside me slightly grazing my left earhole. So from now on i am considering changeing my moniker to Rick O’Shea.

  94. quartet-man wrote:

    Wade #81 you have not been proved out. Go ahead and celebrate someone else’s problems. It must make you feel really good.

    Do you see anywhere where I said for sure there were classes? Go ahead, look.
    Besides, like I said, that could only be a problem to the size of the church if people wanted to join and were turned down or told they had to do that. It isn’t getting members as much as it is getting people there to begin with. We do have new people come and stay, it isn’t that we don’t. The size of small, medium and large are relative. I believe we are medium sized and in town, we are. You said SGFan backed you up, well DJPhil backed me up, so I would say we are even. That and four bucks will buy you a gallon of gas.

    I don’t really care if you believe the numbers I am giving or not. I could get the numbers, but you would still believe I am a lying. Well, have at it. I know the truth and God does.

    Once again an attack on Cliff. You are really something. You really seem to enjoy insulting people.

    I don’t have our demographics, but we have people from around 1 year old up to 90 plus. I also said nothing about BIG families. Once again you are reading into my words and twisting them.

    You are off base on the electric meter and gum wrappers too. We even let other groups use our church.

    Once again with the membership classes.
    My understanding of membership classes is not to keep people out, but to make sure that those who are joining know the commitment they are making. Let me tell you this, I joined the church years ago and never took a class or had a meeting with the pastor. I know others who did too.

    You incestuous church comment is detestable. Even if you mention a church with related members, that is not the way to do it.

    I don’t know of any who flee before the last prayer. In fact, they stick around to talk to the pastor. So there.

    People do feel welcome. Our people do a great job of that. As far as reasonable teaching, if you mean teaching that calls sin a personal choice and alternative lifestyle, then guess what, ain’t gonna happen. That isn’t to say we are up there talking about the hot issues all of the time, but we aren’t going to say they are okay. If that is what it takes to grow, leave us out. I don’t want to have to give account for people going to hell believing they were okay.

    Not everyone believes the exact way in the church, nor do they have to. You make an awful lot of assumptions and are dead wrong.

    Your attitude shows more and more what kind of person you are. You defend those who are blatantly against God and ridicule those who attempt to preach God’s word. Well, enjoy.

  95. quartet-man wrote:

    By the way, Wade, I am not just looking at my church or even my denomination when I see the results of having music acts in.

  96. Harry Peters wrote:

    Q MAN:

    Harry Peters doesn’t mean to stick his nose into your and Wade’s business, so he’ll limit this post to the point that you and I agree.

    Harry Peters has been in several churches that have meetings with new members. Sometimes they are called new member orientation, I’ve heard them called several different things.

    I believe Wade is sincere in his beliefs about using them as a screening device, but he may have experienced situations where this was used to screen or weed out.

    Old Harry Peters has not had that experience. Seems to only make sense that if new members know what the church they are joining believes and what the focus in ministry (mission statement) of that church is, there is a better chance of them joining the church that is the right fit for them.

    Now Old Harry and Fonda Peters have church hopped all summer worshipping in a different church every week and usually a different denomination every week. My only point is that if people find the right church home, chances are better that they will stay there and not move from one church to another so much.

    I leave you with a funny story. Old Harry and Fonda Peters were sitting in a little independent Baptist church up in the mountains of NC one Sunday evening. Old Harry Peters had been invited to speak about the mission work he was doing in Russia and the Ukraine.

    Somewhere during the service they announced that there would be a special called business meeting at the end of the service.

    Old Harry Peters sat all through that service staring at this place on the wall that looked like a bus had rammed through the wall. It was badly patched.

    Old Harry Peters would have left before the special business meeting, except they were going to feed me and Fonda after the service…and don’t let anybody ever say Harry Peters turns down good mountain cooking. One of the deacon’s wives told Fonda that they were having “mountain oysters” on menu. Paint Harry Peters stupid, but he didn’t even realize that mountain streams had oysters.

    When the meeting started, I learned that many years ago when the church was built, different families donated stained glass windows in memory of loved ones. One particular family got mad with the church and left and took their window with them. :-)

    Here it is now years later. The family that left and took the window felt bad and they were just storing it in their barn, while this little church had a patched hole in the wall where the window had been. Feeling badly, the family wanted to give the window back to the church and have it installed for them. The special business meeting was to decide if they were going to accept the window back.

    Now in Fonda’s opinion, Old Harry Peters doesn’t have short comings, but Harry Peters is certainly aware of his faults. But I see a little bit of irony in the gospel as it was being lived out from that little church. A prodigal family left and took something with them that they shouldn’t have. They wanted to make things right and give it back and the church was trying to decide between being gracious and merciful or telling them where they could stick their window while they sat there service after service staring at a boarded up wall.

    Come on church! Old Harry Peters says we can ALL do better and not major on the minors.

  97. SGfan wrote:

    #94 quartet-man

    Just for the record, I don’t think I backed Wade up. In fact, I did not read his posts before he referenced me. We may have came to a similar conclusion about the size of your church, but I never said you were lying and I would never rationalize in the way Wade does. That is evident from our posts on this site. The fact is, I have been involved in helping churches grow, and I have seen churches collapse before my very eyes. My comments and questions were just a way of exploring the situation you brought up and exploring the possibilities around those situations. God Bless you in your ministry.

    #81 Wade

    Obviously the only thing we have agreed on in a long time is what constitutes a small, medium, large, or mega church. Beyond that, I would appreciate it if you refrained from using my name to try to show some similance of agreement on church policy.

    One big difference of note that we have. A person should have to go through classes and an interview process to become a member of a church ( and at the mega-church I go to they do). How can anyone be an effective member and representative of the church if they have no clue what the church teaches, believes,etc…? The church should only teach one thing, the truth of Scripture. Anything to the contrary is heresy and should not be taught. The church has to make people feel welcome, be a place where people are healed, and be a place where faith is built on the rock of scripture and not the shifting sand of skepticism and rationalism. I can guarantee you one thing, no one becomes an active member (choir member, pastoral care, usher, etc.)at my church without first going through an interview process and a training process through classes on what the church believes and teaches. Our church is thriving with way more than 4000 attendees and probably over 5000. The point is, yes people are loved when they come there, but they are loved with a love that can come only from God that exposes their sin to them and yet draws them to Him.

  98. Wade wrote:

    # 95 QMAN… for ever example of where an event did not work I will get you 100 where it did. Then probably probe to find out the reason they did not work was because it was not promoted well.

    I do not think I have ever insulted any one. If some one gets busted then I call it. Dr. Joe has busted me before and I did not cry about it. AND I LOVE DR. JOE

    SGFAN… if you post it… it’s fair game. Get’m out of a wad. Never said we agreed on church policy.

    If I have been to a Baptist Church all my life I do not need to go to a class taught by some BuBBa (usually the most self important person in the church) who know only want The Board sent him.

    If I was going to some NEW kind of church or if I was a NEW believer I would not have an issue.

    LOVE YA ALL!!!

  99. SGfan wrote:

    #98 Wade,

    Judging from some of your responses in recent blogs, you may need to attend some of those classes to learn what the church believes and what the Bible teaches on many particular subjects (especially that Baptist church you cite). If you want, I will reference examples. My statements, by the way, are fair game as long as you use them in context and specify where we disagree, that way you do not try to make it seem as if we are in total agreement in some “back-handed” kind of way.

  100. SGfan wrote:

    One other quick note:

    You may know what the church believes and teaches, but the classes gives the church a chance to know you and who you are. It gives them the chance to see if you bare the fruit you are talking about. It gives them a chance to weigh your life against scripture, but it also gives them a chance to develop a relationship with you that brings forth more than just friendship but also accountablility. Otherwise, all you may have is a social club that takes time to read the Bible.

  101. SGfan wrote:

    Excuse the typos! Fingers got ahead of my brain, but you get the point.

  102. quartet-man wrote:

    #97 SGfan, no problem. We have different opinions on what the different sizes of churches are defined and that is fine. I am not sure there even is an official answer, and if so, I would love to see it. :) I took your questions and the like in the spirit they were offered and I appreciate your interest and help. My comment about backing Wade up was in reference to his saying you and he agreed on sizes of churches. Once again, no problem. I just wanted to show Wade that even if you and he agreed on the size of churches (and nothing else) that DjPhil had also agreed with my definition. Who knows who is right. :) No worries.

    Wade, it still appears to me that you enjoy messing with people. At least from your post ridiculing the size of church and making statements about it that you would have no way of knowing and ones not true. I don’t mind conflicting opinions, but finding joy in jacking with people doesn’t seem good to me.

    Sgfan made some great points about the classes and Ol’ Harry did too. Something I hadn’t said yet was that almost any club you join (no, I am not saying the church is a club) have membership requirements. I don’t think that many churches who even do have the classes turn people away from attending, just if you want to become a member you should share the beliefs and vision etc. This is useful for both sides. That is not to say that each member agrees on everything, but at least the main beliefs are understood. Once again, this isn’t done to weed undesirables out (although some might use it that way) or to stop people at the door.

    As far as the original part of the posts, I intend on posting some of the things in point format to show my opinion. I don’t intend to get into details in that post, but make some basic points. Then we can discuss further. Not just us two, but anyone who is interested.

  103. quartet-man wrote:

    Wade, after I left home this morning and had no internet access, I regretted not explaining things a little on my preceding post. I appreciate your trying to make things right and I wasn’t trying to start ripping you apart on things we disagree on. It just seems to me that your nice apology and concern showed over your previous posts was marred by your putting in the comment about the affiars and all.

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