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A Christian Band With Secular Business Practices
The Christian Diarist ^ | June 8, 2013 | JP

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 United’s 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.

That’s because, while Joel Houston and his bandmates might be strictly about glorifying God through their music, the band’s business management appear to be worshiping at the altar of Mammon.

Indeed, the tickets for Hillsong United’s 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 Lord’s “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 doesn’t merely return a tenth of his earnings to the Lord. Or a quarter. Or even half. But 90 percent.

That’s 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 Lord’s kingdom cause.


TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christianbusiness; christianmusic; hillsong; hillsongunited; joelhouston
The Lord has no problem with prosperity, be it an individual or a business. But He does care how money is made in His name.
1 posted on 06/08/2013 12:06:30 PM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


2 posted on 06/08/2013 12:13:51 PM PDT by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyrannis)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

The Gaithers are not exactly non profit either.


3 posted on 06/08/2013 12:18:10 PM PDT by csmusaret (Will remove Obama-Biden bumperstickers for $10)
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To: csmusaret

“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.


4 posted on 06/08/2013 12:32:19 PM PDT by AskNotReceiveNot
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

Or you could just stay away from mega-Christianity altogether and “go to Him outside the camp.”


5 posted on 06/08/2013 12:41:36 PM PDT by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
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.

So THEY'RE the ones who wrecked my church service.

6 posted on 06/08/2013 12:45:09 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Blather. Reince. Repeat.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


7 posted on 06/08/2013 12:50:16 PM PDT by InvisibleChurch (http://thegatwickview.tumblr.com/)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


8 posted on 06/08/2013 12:59:12 PM PDT by memyselfandi59
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To: memyselfandi59

Thank you, Friend. I just checked out “Dancing in the Minefields.” You’re so right. Andrew Peterson is a wonderful Christian artist.


9 posted on 06/08/2013 1:11:50 PM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


10 posted on 06/08/2013 1:23:52 PM PDT by informavoracious (We're being "punished" with Stanley Ann's baby. Obamacare: shovel-ready healthcare.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSzzGuQcyQs


11 posted on 06/08/2013 1:29:07 PM PDT by memyselfandi59
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


12 posted on 06/08/2013 1:45:44 PM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

But He does care how money is made in His name.


I’ve heard it said that that is what is meant by using the Lord’s name in vain. e.g. putting the Christian fish on your business card. It is a way of saying, “I’m a Christian, do business with me.”


13 posted on 06/08/2013 1:53:35 PM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: AskNotReceiveNot

At the very least, the money, I’d imagine, is invested back into the ministry at some level.


Those two words “I’d Imagine”, are the rub.

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.


14 posted on 06/08/2013 1:56:19 PM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


15 posted on 06/08/2013 2:05:48 PM PDT by napscoordinator (Santorum-Bachmann 2016 for the future of the Country!)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
The Lord has no problem with prosperity, be it an individual or a business. But He does care how money is made in His name.P>Jesus asked a rich man to give up all he had. Jesus was not big on wealth prosperity so I wouldn't go down that path of trying to pick which jobs Jesus would say are OK or not. In any event it is none of this author's business how people make a legal living. However he is free to lead the way and show us how it is supposed to be done ... according to him.
16 posted on 06/08/2013 2:21:41 PM PDT by plain talk
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


17 posted on 06/08/2013 2:58:00 PM PDT by Jemian
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To: Colonel_Flagg

Well that gave me a good chuckle.


18 posted on 06/08/2013 3:11:46 PM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST
My good friend, a self-made multimillionaire. As honest as the day is long, also very caring and giving says this about christians and business.
He says:
"When I go to church I sit in the front row. After everyone is seated I turn and look at all the faces behind me and THAT is how I know who NOT to do business with."
19 posted on 06/08/2013 4:25:16 PM PDT by lewislynn (What does the global warming movement and the Fairtax movement have in common? Disinformation)
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To: informavoracious

Yes! When I looked to buy I could not believe his prices. Totally higher than anyone.


20 posted on 06/08/2013 5:04:04 PM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: lewislynn

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.


21 posted on 06/08/2013 5:14:30 PM PDT by beandog (All Aboard the Choo Choo Train to Crazy Town)
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To: cuban leaf

“Those two words “I’d Imagine”, are the rub.
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.”

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.


22 posted on 06/08/2013 5:16:39 PM PDT by AskNotReceiveNot
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To: beandog
Seems rather arrongant and snotty.
Arrongant[sic], snotty and successful.
23 posted on 06/08/2013 6:10:17 PM PDT by lewislynn (What does the global warming movement and the Fairtax movement have in common? Disinformation)
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To: Roos_Girl

I live to serve. :)


24 posted on 06/09/2013 7:18:25 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Blather. Reince. Repeat.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

Amen!


25 posted on 06/09/2013 7:27:03 AM PDT by rabidralph (http://www.cafepress.com/westernwis)
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To: AskNotReceiveNot

...and apparently you have a pretty severe opinion if someone dares cross it.


Naw. It just seems that way on the internet. If we were to sit down and discuss the subject over coffee you’d pick up the nuances of my opinion on the subject.

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.


26 posted on 06/09/2013 10:53:28 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: CHRISTIAN DIARIST

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.


27 posted on 06/09/2013 11:02:16 AM PDT by discostu (Not just another moon faced assassin of joy.)
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