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Instrumentalists should be paid by the church if....- Prof. Adedeji

Prof./Pastor Femi Adedeji 

By 'Gbenga Bankole

Following the ongoing controversy surrounding whether instrumentalists should be paid or not, a Professor of Music and former Head of Department, Music Department, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Prof./Pastor Femi Adedeji has said that full-time instrumentalists should be paid by the Church.

Prof. Adedeji noted this in an exclusive chat with CAC NEWS on Tuesday.

In his exact words: "Music ministry in the Church is not different from other ministries such as pastoral, evangelistic or prophetic. The confusion comes when clarifications are not made. Just like the five-fold offices, a music minister may also be either full-time or part-time.

"It is perfectly in order for full-time instrumentalists to be paid by the Church. In the Old Testament, that was the practice. Today, the Anglican and Methodist are among Churches that maintain the practice. The Baptist has the best model today, in which case they have on their payroll, the Church Minister and a Music Minister over a parish. The Music Minister would normally have specialized in Church music from the Seminary. I have trained many of such, even up to doctoral level in Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho."

"Secondly, there are instrumentalists who are gainfully employed outside the Church who now serve God with their skills, such may not take money from the Church, just as Honorary or Associate Pastors do not get money from the Church."

"However, there are few instrumentalists that are indigent students that Churches should support financially. Sometimes, Churches have failed woefully in this welfare aspect and have not only lost talented musicians but has also pushed prospective great church musicians to the secular hip-hop world. Note that many worldly musicians started from the Church."

"On the other hand, it is pertinent to state that many instrumentalists now place emphasis on monetary gains, this is not ideal either. If everything we do for God in His house is for monetary gains, where would our worship for Christ be? Instrumentalists should know that the voice of highly trained singers is also a musical instrument. Should soloists also demand for money?"

"Let me now conclude my clarifications with my own case. In my Church, I do not draw any honorarium as the Senior Pastor, though God used me to pioneer the Church. This is because God is taking care of me. I also have instrumentalists worshipping God on their instruments without expecting any money. However, my student organist from my department in the University is on a salary in the Church because that is what he uses to sustain himself in the University. So it is not correct to say outrightly that any musical instrumentalist that takes money from the Church is a thief; it depends on the context!"


  1. The man of God had said it all.

  2. Agreed sir.... I do say "if pastor takes money for pastoring a church, then instrumentalists that have no other job deserve same" in other words, they are both propagating the gospel. God bless your wisdom sir

  3. Paying an instrumentalist who plays instruments in the church should be optional. Instrumentalists are just like other church workers and their roles in the church is a volunteering is unpaid role. It is volunteer. If the church should begin to pay the instrumentalists then other church workers should be paid as well. An instrumentalist is not part of the 5 fold ministry, it is a volunteer and unpaid role.

    Paying an instrumentalist in the church is a uniquely decision by the church discretion, it is not compulsory and it is not mandatory, it is just an optional and that will depends on the financial capacity of the church if they can afford it.

    1. Then before you know it, you've no one to play instrument in your church anymore

  4. Indeed, you nailed it all.

    May God almighty honour you Sir.

  5. The end shall tell, Jesus must surely come, if you want to collect money collect, the moment you play to be paid your passion for worship is dead, come to think of it, does God need to pay you to worship him? What happened to our first love, also do you know most of the instrumentalists are not born again, do you notice that majority of the don't listen to pastor message's and during message's some will just go aside and buy bottle of minerals and biscuits and start eating also do you notice that at some can decide to disappoint you because the pastor don't have much cash to give them, do you still really see true love and passion in their worship, God will really judge everyone both pastor's, instrumentalists and any worker's in the church whom their primary purpose in God's house is to make money.

  6. What I expect you to say is not to place a bill on churches on certain amount to be given but church is in the right place to give something as honorarium,,, what of those that has nothing else to live on aside that instrument he plays, ,will he be telling everyone he has no other work so that the can give him money,..... Pls use your mentality, playing instrument is not a voluntary work sometimes

  7. There will always be arguments and counterarguments on this issue. Meanwhile, let me say that Prof. Adedeji has made a lot of practical sense in his submission. He spoke from experience. However, that is not to say that some of the contrary comments do not make any sense, too. I believe each assembly has its peculiarities. I would rather say that choir members, both male and female, should be encouraged to learn how to play musical instruments. When choristers play musical instruments as part of their ministration, then I don't think they should expect any form of financial reward from the church. If, however, the church has a genuine reason to hire an instrumentalist, then the church has no excuse to not pay such. Meanwhile, we should be careful who is hired to play in the church. A church once hired the late Fatai Rolling Dollar to play on Sundays. It was later discovered that the man would leave the church and answer the call to Muslims' prayers whenever it was time! Similarly, stories abound of instrumentalists who excuse themselves in the course of the service to smoke! Things happen. There have also been cases of instrumentalists impregnating choir girls. Therefore, beyond paying or not paying, many factors should be considered in our choice of instrumentalists. Shalom!