Skip to comments.A Christian Band With Secular Business Practices
Posted on 06/08/2013 12:06:29 PM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
My wife and I went to see Hillsong United last night at the Hollywood Bowl. The Australian band fronted by the talented Joel Houston, whose dad, Brian, founded Hillsong Church exactly 30 years ago has produced some of the most well-known praise and worship songs of the past decade and a half.
Its playlist includes Shout to the Lord, Mighty to Save, Hosanna, My Redeemer Lives, The Stand, Worthy is the Lamb, From the Inside Out, Lead Me to the Cross and other standards in Sunday church services not just in the land down under, but also here in the United States.
I very much enjoyed seeing Hillsong Uniteds live performance. And so did the other 18,000 or so Christ followers who stood for much of the more than two-hour concert. Yet, I left the Hollywood Bowl last night with a troubled spirit.
Thats because, while Joel Houston and his bandmates might be strictly about glorifying God through their music, the bands business management appear to be worshiping at the altar of Mammon.
Indeed, the tickets for Hillsong Uniteds concert were almost as expensive as tickets to a Hollywood Bowl event later this month featuring Aerosmith frontmen Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. And Hillsong was selling overpriced tour merchandise, including tee shirts going for $40.
I expect such buckraking of secular enterprises, especially in the entertainment businesses. And if I attended a U2 concert or a Dodgers game or a Cirque du Soliel performance, I would think nothing of paying a couple hundred bucks.
But just as those who follow after Christ are to set themselves apart from those who follow after the prince of this fallen world, the business practices of Christian enterprises like Hillsong Music should be set apart from those of secular businesses.
I have no problem whatsoever with Hillsong United earning a decent profit on its world tour. But the maximization of profits should not be the driving force of a Christian enterprise. Especially, not a worship band that performs a song, Hosanna, that proclaims that everything they do is for the Lords kingdom cause.
I would like to see Hillsong United handle its business more like, say, Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California, who famously authored The Purpose Driven Life, one of the best-selling Christian books of all-time.
Pastor Warren earned millions of dollars from his book sales. And he doesnt merely return a tenth of his earnings to the Lord. Or a quarter. Or even half. But 90 percent.
Thats not to say that the Lord expects everyone that earns money in His name from Christian authors to Christian bands to reverse tithe, like Rick Warren. But He does encourage them to be not conformed to this world.
Indeed, if the practices of a Christian business are indistinguishable from those of a secular business like charging marking up its merchandise as much as 400 percent it cannot claim to be about the Lords kingdom cause.
Hillsong has been a blessing in my Christian walk and in that of millions others. I’d pay more to see them than any secular band.
The Gaithers are not exactly non profit either.
“The Gaithers are not exactly non profit either.”
The Gaithers have to be the worst offenders in this regard. Crazy expensive tickets!
As for Hillsong, it is part of a larger ministry (a church) with numerous campuses around the globe. At the very least, the money, I’d imagine, is invested back into the ministry at some level. Brian Houston is a great man of God and their music is the standard bearer now for praise/worship in churches today.
As another poster pointed out, just think of all the money people throw at secular bands.
Or you could just stay away from mega-Christianity altogether and “go to Him outside the camp.”
So THEY'RE the ones who wrecked my church service.
what’s the difference between ‘a decent’ profit and ‘a maximization’ of profit? is there a formula for it or is it what you decide? How much does it cost to put on the concert? Does the band keep the money for them selves or do they donate it to charities or efforts that help the Kingdom? There seems to be a lot we don’t know about what this group does with its money. It seems that should be between them and The Lord.
The only non-profit “famous” Christian artist I’ve ever heard of was Rich Mullins.
This was his practice: The profits from his tours and the sale of each album were entrusted to his church, which divided it up, paid Mullins the average salary in the U.S. for that year, and gave the rest to charity.
He was a wealthy man, and he had no idea what kind of wealth his songs, song rights (dozens of artists recorded his songs), and albums generated. He didn’t want to know.
I believe the best Christian songwriter at present, who writes and sings songs, in the Rich Mullins style, is Andrew Peterson. Check him out on youtube if you’ve never heard his songs.
Thank you, Friend. I just checked out “Dancing in the Minefields.” You’re so right. Andrew Peterson is a wonderful Christian artist.
I used to wonder about Father John Corapi. He gave amazing, spirit filled and orthodox conferences. Then he sold the tapes and videos at exhorbitant prices. I always thought if he was truly a man of God he would sell them for cost just to get the Word out. I don’t know if he started out as one, but he ended up being a fraud and left the priesthood.
He’s been recording from the mid 90’s but is relatively unknown. I have all his albums on MP3 format, and just play them in the background while I’m working. I and other friends who appreciate his music, say, “He writes about where we live.” I like all his songs, and the interesting thing is some songs minister me more on certain days, and then I’ll have a new “favorite” a few days later. My favorite right now:
I started playing bass in 1998. I cut my teeth covering their stuff. It made me a much better player because it is difficult (I played 5 string from the start). I eventually became worship leader.
I still have recordings I got of Limewire that I used to practice. I listen to them sometimes and, though they are pretty good stuff, I enjoy all genre’s of music except rap/hip hop. I also believe there are two types of Christian music: worship and performance. They did blur the lines with their music though.
All that said, when I go to a music “concert”, I don’t go to overtly “worship the Lord”. I go to listen to good music. This is true if it is classical, rock, pop or “Christian” - though Michael W. Smith pulled off a pretty good worship concert in his Worship DVD.
If I paid money to see Hillsongs, it would not be to worship. It would be to enjoy good music performed by talented and skilled musicians. Frankly, when they put the overt worship stuff in it they are not really getting my emotional buy in. And I don’t want the worship part to be emotional anyway. It is better than that.
BTW, the reason I became worship leader at my church was that the whole band quit to join a different church where they would have a bigger crowd.
Yeah. Me too. It’s why I didn’t go with them.
But He does care how money is made in His name.
At the very least, the money, Id imagine, is invested back into the ministry at some level.
We don’t know. Nor do I care - if they are playing the music as entertainers and not as “worship leaders”. Last I heard, it is bad form to pay people for the privilege of attending their worship service. I think Jesus tossed some tables over it.
40 bucks for a band tee shirt and this author is complaining? That seems right in line with any shirt from Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister. I guess this author needs to get a grip on reality.
I would strenuously object if they would charge these prices at the regular meeting of the body of Christ, a church worship service. I object when tapes, tee shirts and other stuff are sold on Sunday in a church.
But, frankly, I cannot at all find anything wrong with what they did. Who are you to set a valuation on something that belongs to them? No one forces you to buy a tee shirt. It isn’t required by God and so they are not hindering you in your walk with the Lord. They think their stuff is worth the prices they’ve set. You don’t. Then, negotiate or don’t buy.
Well that gave me a good chuckle.
Yes! When I looked to buy I could not believe his prices. Totally higher than anyone.
I guess it’s a good thing for him that everybody sitting behind him didn’t think the same thing about everybody sitting in front of them, or he might not be a “self-made mutimillionaire”.
Seems rather arrongant and snotty.
“Those two words Id Imagine, are the rub.
We dont know. Nor do I care - if they are playing the music as entertainers and not as worship leaders. Last I heard, it is bad form to pay people for the privilege of attending their worship service. I think Jesus tossed some tables over it.”
There’s a fine line between “Christian contemporary artist” and “worship leader” and apparently you have a pretty severe opinion if someone dares cross it.
What you may not had seen is all of the comps that were given to local churches, families, etc. This is standard practice for many Christian artists. Not to mention, often times a portion of the gate goes towards a missions project (WorldVision, clean water projects, etc.).
I would just suggest look deeper into it before throwing any stones.
Seems rather arrongant and snotty.Arrongant[sic], snotty and successful.
I live to serve. :)
...and apparently you have a pretty severe opinion if someone dares cross it.
I was REALLY disappointed in my band, though, for leaving their home church just because they would have a bigger crowd. I can see individual members leaving a church for whatever reason. But the whole band? Weird.
I don’t see why they should charge less because of their religion. Are they being charged less because of it? Did the Bowl give them a discount? Are the roadies cheaper? Are the hotels cheaper? Gas for the bus less? The fact is tours are incredibly expensive affairs, a lot of the inflated cost is paying for what it takes to put the show on. And yes there’s some profit taking from the captive audience, but it’s not like anybody is forced to buy these things, they can stay home and listen to the albums, they can go to the show and not buy shirts. It’s silly to say “well you guys are religious you should charge less”, they’re still a business and need to run that way.