This is a guest article written by John Chisum, Managing Partner of Nashville Christian Songwriters
Have you ever struggled with what it really means to build the kingdom of God? Do you long to see your church flourish, not only in spiritual matters like outreach and deeper worship, but financially and in your ability to give and serve your community? Do you wonder what supporting Christian songwriters has to do with any of this? Well, let me explain.
The Apostle Paul loved to compare the church to a “body” (1 Corinthians 12:27). He went to great lengths to help the church at Corinth understand that there’s a lot more than a metaphorical dimension to the fact that we are the Body of Christ in the world, and something much more than a symbolic representation—we are the Body of Christ, His hands, His feet, His mouth, ears and eyes. In Colossians 2:27, Paul goes so far as to say that Christ is in us, the “hope of glory,” so this leads us to the deep interconnectedness we have with Jesus, yes, but then unarguably with one another. This was Paul’s big point, anyway.
In the simplest terms, as Paul said, when one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers. When one part flourishes, the whole benefits. Our job is to be the healthiest part we can be in the body, supply what we need to supply like a heart or a vein, a tendon, joint or muscle. When we stop doing our part, other parts can’t do their part, get it? So simply put, the health of the body, the kingdom of God, the church and all its moving parts, depends on each of us to simply be what we are and do what we do. If we’re preachers, preach. If we’re singers, sing. If we’re ushers, ush.
But here’s the rub. A lot of churches and church leaders think that songs and their usages should be “free” with no remuneration for the songwriters and the people who publish their songs. There’s a misunderstanding that writers should write for free and give their work away. This is funny to me, because few people expect to have high-quality pastors and church staffers for free, yet they apply a double standard to songs and songwriters, somehow equating their work to the unpaid “volunteer” category. Unauthorized copying of music and duplication for rehearsal purposes or other freebies is literally stealing. This, I say in love and as a lifetime songwriter, is wrong at best, and very harmful to the overall health of the Body of Christ.
The fundamental argument about “paying for art” is an ancient one, yet God Himself created this glorious, artful creation as a testimony to the immeasurable value He places on it. He created song and He created songwriters. He gave people a hunger to sing and writers to give glorious verbiage to the praises they would express. Songwriters serve a unique and valuable function in the body that becomes weakened and malnourished if not celebrated, honored and supported. Even a brief survey of the Old Testament shows that temple musicians and priests were supported and well-provided for by the temple for their service in providing worship resources and leadership. When songs and songwriters are undervalued, the entire Body of Christ is impoverished.
This is why music licensing companies, like Christian Copyright Solutions (CCS), are so important to songwriters and to the church. Their goal is to simplify the process of churches obtaining legal permission to use copyrighted songs. They serve as a bridge between churches (users of music) and songwriters/publishers (creators of music). They make it easy to build the kingdom, to empower the church to flourish and to see a valuable portion of the Body of Christ supported in order to continue to do what they do best, to supply songs of praise and worship that empower believers everywhere.
You see, we are a body. We are interdependent, connected on more than a spiritual level. The performance licenses offered here at CCS (and I’m not being paid to say this) are vital for you to play your part in seeing the kingdom of God built around you, your church flourish and the flow of powerful Christian songs that build your people up continue. In the meantime, as a veteran songwriter and publisher, thank you for doing your part in order to help me do mine. Believe me, the Body of Christ is better for it.
About the Author: John Chisum is Managing Partner for Nashville Christian Songwriters, a long-time Christian music industry professional, prolific songwriter, publisher, and song coach. He is the former Director of Song Development and Copyright for Integrity Music and the former Vice-president of Publishing for Star Song Media. He is a much-loved worship leader worldwide with over ten worship recordings and over 400 songs professionally published. He and Donna have been married for 36 years and they have a lovely daughter, Aly. John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out NashvilleChristianSongwriters.com for more information on the NCSMASTERCLASS happening online April 21!
About Christian Copyright Solutions: CCS’s quest is to help churches and Christian ministries “do music right.” CCS is an expert on church music copyrights and our primary focus is providing licensing and clear educational resources to churches, as well as representation, administration and advocacy for copyright owners. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel.