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Band On The Road: Touring The U.S.A. 101: (For Bands on Tour, Book Your Own Tour) (D.I.Y. Music)

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Purchasing Band Equipment with Tithe Money – Does God Approve or Not?

Tithe Money for Band Equipment?
Who controls your money?

 

Purchasing sound equipment is an expensive business investment. Occasionally a band will make enough profit from gigs to buy some equipment, but most bands are finding it difficult just to break even these days. So, unfortunately, one of the first places many bands look to get money to buy equipment is from the band members. Christian bands often ask, expect, or even require band members to tithe to their band ministry. We spiritualize it in a variety of ways, with all kinds of reasons and rationalizations. But in the end, what matters is:

 

What does God think about using tithe money
from band members to buy band equipment?

 

Of course, it would be presumptuous of me to give a definitive answer to that question, since I am not God. But we can examine the possible answers in light of what we already know about God and His ways of looking at and doing things.

Within our band there is bound to be varying beliefs about money and giving. Not every Christian believes in tithing or even giving a percentage of our income to God. We all do not agree on where the gifts should be given. What we do all agree on is giving to benefit the kingdom, regardless of what we call the gift. Most Christian band members also agree that their band is a ministry unto the Lord and is a benefit to the kingdom. If we did not believe this we would simply be in a band, not a Christian music ministry. So, we do generally agree that giving to our band is good and acceptable in Gods eyes.

But, in our humanness we tend to make a mess of things from there…

The problems seem to be fourfold:

• Who determines how much money we are required to give?

• Who decides where we give?

• Who determines how to spend the money after it is given?

• Who owns whatever the money bought?

 

All the issues come back to one question:
Who is in control of our money?

 

Let’s look at each of the four problems separately.

Who determines how much money we are required to give?

All of us believe in giving, but we do not all share the same beliefs about how much is appropriate for us to give. Even our churches do not all agree on what the Bible says we should do. So, why should we as a band try to dictate doctrine for our band members? In every area, our Christian walk is based on starting where we are right now and moving forward to become more like Jesus each day. So, wouldn’t it be better for each of us to give according to what we feel is right in our own hearts and then encourage each other to stretch and grow in our giving as we grow in our faith walk? Some of us give 25%, some 10%, some only 5%. Still others do not give a percentage but do give a set amount from each paycheck. Some of us give only when we can, after the bills are paid. Many of us do not give money because we cannot afford it but we give what we can by going out of our way to help and encourage other people. The important thing is that we are giving and then that we are growing toward being more Christ-like in our giving.

When the band as a whole decides that it is mandatory for all members to tithe to the band we are taking a first step in attempting to control the lives and faith walk of our brothers in ministry. This is never a good idea. Control over each of our lives belongs to our Lord as led by His Holy Spirit. When the band starts mandating doctrine it will not take long until someone is offended and soon after the band will probably be looking for a new band member. So, the best option for bands to handle giving from band members is to make a way for the band members who want to donate to do so, without expecting, requiring, or pressuring gifts from any one. We simply need to encourage each other to grow in every area of our faith walk, including giving.

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give.
And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.
‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.'”
2 Corinthians 9:7  NLT

 

Who decides where we give?

Some people think all gifts should be given to the local church who then distributes the money as they see fit. Others believe in giving however they feel God leading including: missionaries, nonprofit organizations, or individual people. Some churches teach that all tithe money should be only given to the local church in which we attend. This is usually based on Malachi 3 which talks about bringing all the tithe into the storehouse. The church leadership believes that their church is Gods storehouse for their community. Other people disagree with the church being Gods storehouse based either on the storehouse being and Old Testament principle which we no longer follow or on their determination that the church has abdicated its position as a storehouse because the church does not allocate funds in the way that God originally set up storehouses. Still other people believe that the tithe goes to the local church and offerings (over and above the tithe) go other ministries. Even people who attend the same church hold varying beliefs. Obviously, not every Christian agrees on giving exclusively to their local church, but this disagreement does not necessarily make any of us wrong or more spiritual than the rest. We must each be convinced in our own hearts that we are doing what God wants us to do.

The varying beliefs are confusing. But does the variety of beliefs in where we should give mean that your band should determine where each band member gives? Probably not. Once again, when the band as a whole tries to dictate doctrine to each member by requiring them to give to the band we are attempting to usurp control over each other. Now of course we are not talking about confronting each other with sin issues here, dealing with sin is requires a different level of accountability. What we are talking about is allowing each other the freedom to grow in our individual faith walks at the same time as we are trusting in God to provide for our ministry. We are talking about loving each other through our growing processes. We are free to love like this because we are confident that God loves us and has provided what we need for our ministry.

“For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat.
In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources
and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”
2 Corinthians 9:10  NLT

 

Who determines how to spend the money after it is given?

When a band member decides to spend their personal money to purchase equipment and then retain ownership of the equipment while allowing the band to use that equipment, that band member gets to decide everything about the equipment. While that band member may ask the band for advice, the final decisions about which equipment to purchase, how much to spend, when to buy it, where to make the purchase, and how to pay for it all belong to the band member. The owner of the equipment even gets to decide if there will be times, places, or events for which the equipment will not be allowed to be used. The only thing the band has to decide is if they will accept the gift of the use of the equipment whenever the owner of the equipment allows it to be used. The downside is that this situation can set the band up to be controlled by one person. The person who owns the equipment has the potential to attempt to control band decisions by withholding the use of the equipment whenever they do not agree with a decision or by threatening to leave the band completely (taking all of their equipment with them) when band decisions are not made with their full support. Loaning the band equipment but not controlling the band with the loan requires the person who owns the equipment to be especially strong in the area of submitting to one another in love. Remember that submission does not begin until there is disagreement. Can you let the band use your equipment even when you do not agree with the band decisions? Can you do it without an attitude? Can you trust God to work through the band with your possessions? Can you trust God to redeem the situation even if the band is making a poor decision? These are the challenges of owning equipment and submitting your possessions to Gods control.

When money is donated to the band, no matter who donates it, who gets to decide how to spend it is determined by the band partnership agreement. In an equal partnership each band member has an equal say in that decision. So, even if one member donates money to the band, the entire band decides how to spend it. When equipment is donated to the band it is treated like any other band asset (including money), the entire band decides how to use it, including selling or donating it. Can you donate money or equipment to the band and then relinquish control of that money to the band? Can you allow the band to make a decision you do not agree with when they are spending the money you donated? Can you trust God to work through the band with your money? Can you trust God to redeem the situation even if the band is making a poor decision? These are the challenges of donating money to the band and submitting your money to Gods control.

Whichever path we choose,
we are challenged to submit our money to God
and then submit to one another in love.

 

Who owns whatever the money bought?

When tithes, gifts, and offerings are given to the Lord by donations to the band and are used to purchase assets for the band, those assets legally belong to the band and spiritually the band (including all its assets) belongs Lord.

Who legally owns band assets is determined by the business structure of your band. Most bands are an equal partnership, which means that each member owns an equal share of the band assets (part of which is band equipment). The way equipment is divided in the case of one band member leaving or the band breaking up is determined by your bands partnership agreement. In most equal partnerships, if the band breaks up equipment is sold to pay off all remaining band debts and then whatever is left is divided equally among band members. Usually, if one band member leaves the band that member is paid for their share of the bands assets either in cash or an equal value of equipment after their equal share of current band debts have been paid. So, for example, if your band has 4 members in an equal partnership and you donated 100% of the money to purchase equipment for the band only 1/4 of the current market value of the equipment minus 1/4 of the bands debts actually belongs to you. Legally, it does not matter who donated the money to buy the equipment unless your partnership agreement states otherwise.

band equipment
Equipment can be a spiritual challenge.

Most of the problems that occur when band members donate money to the ministry, especially when purchasing equipment, stem from our desire to be in control. We want to give a gift, but we want to retain control of the gift and how it is used. Often, we expect the gift to be returned to us when it is no longer being used or to be repaid if it is damaged or stolen. Is this what God had in mind when He asked us to give? Probably not, since part of the reason He asks us to give is to grow our trust in Gods control of our lives.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning and buying equipment. We simply need to state clearly if we are donating it to the band or allowing the band to use our stuff. If you choose to let the band use your equipment do not call the dollar value of the equipment a gift or offering or tithe. Your tithing or financial giving would need to be done in addition to purchasing your personal equipment. Your gift is allowing the band to use your stuff, just the same as if a band member allowed the band to drive their vehicle to get to a gig. The band member with the vehicle does not claim the vehicle purchase as a tithe or donation and gives tithes, gifts, or offerings in addition to making their monthly vehicle payments. Both the owner of the equipment and the owner of the vehicle are free to use their possessions in any way you see fit in addition to loaning them to the band. Neither the equipment nor the vehicle belongs to the band, cannot be used as a band income tax deduction, and stays with the band member who purchased it in the event of a band break up or the member leaving the band. Retaining ownership of equipment by purchasing the equipment and then allowing the band to use it is not more or less spiritual than donating money to buy equipment. Both ways supply equipment to the band. Both ways require us to trust in God (and our band mates) to use the equipment wisely. But retaining ownership of the equipment while claiming it as a donation, especially on your taxes, is illegal. Attempting to control the band through money and equipment is unGodly.

Spiritually, your Christian music ministry belongs to the Lord. Although it is not legally required, unless you are a nonprofit corporation, you do not own your bands assets. Your ministries assets, including equipment, belong to the Lord. Therefore, if the band used donated money to buy band equipment and the band no longer does the work of the ministry, you should ask God if what should be done with the equipment. Should it either be donated to another ministry or sold and the money donated to another ministry? Is it right in Gods eyes that you should keep a share of what has been donated to Gods ministry? Perhaps God does want to return the equipment to the person who donated it or the money to buy it. We cannot automatically apply one cookie cutter answer to this situation. Again, this is not a legal requirement. Legally each band member (in an equal partnership) gets to keep an equal share of the bands assets after all debts have been paid. The most important thing is to be convinced in your own heart, to prayerfully work out our decisions with the whole band, and then be obedient to whatever God wants you to do with the equipment.

Donating equipment or money to buy equipment for our bands ministry is not wrong. It is actually not about the money or the assets—it is about our attitude, obedience and trust in God. Before we give, we must ask ourselves “Are we giving out of humble obedience to Gods plan for our ministry or are we giving in an attempt to provide for our ministry ourselves?” In other words, “Who are we trusting in to provide for our ministry—God or our own resources?”

 

If we are truly trusting God to provide for our ministry
we must relinquish control over both the gifts we give
and the gifts we expect others to give.

 

 

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Strength from the Lord – The Christian Musicians Devotional

This is a very busy time of year for most of us. We have been performing more than usual and working in all the extra family activities. I’m a little weary – how about you? So, today we simply need to encourage ourselves a bit as we continue to develop extraordinary music ministries. Here’s an excerpt from The Christian Musicians Devotional to help you do just that:

Christian Musicians Devotional CoverStrength from the Lord

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

There is a supernatural strength and energy available when we are doing God’s work. Christian music ministers often experience this strength without realizing it. We have come to rely on God’s strength and energy to get us through the weird hours and inconsistent sleep schedules. We perform when we are sick and when we are hungry; we play when it is time, not when it is convenient for us.

Have you ever been tired or sick prior to a show? You show up to play the gig regardless of how you feel. Then, you walk on stage and feel fine. That is God’s supernatural strength enabling you to do your ministry. You experience this energy because you trusted God enough to show up to the gig when you did not feel well. Sometimes God allows us to go back to not feeling well immediately after the performance to demonstrate a gentle reminder that He provided the strength. Other times, we leave the show feeling better than when we arrived as a testimony to His power in our lives.

Most of us have experienced this so frequently that we have come to see it as normal. On one hand it is a sign of maturity that we have come to rely on God so readily. But on the other, have we come to take God’s working in our lives for granted? Pause for a moment and consider all the times you have been given energy and strength to do your music ministry; be in awe of your God who cares about the details of your life.

Prayer: Father, thank You for giving me the strength to soar like an eagle while serving You.

Cyber PR for Musicians by Ariel Hyatt

I just finished reading the book Cyber PR for Musicians: Tools, Tricks & Tactics for Building Your Social Media House by Ariel Hyatt. It’s is one of those books that has been on my to-do list for quite a while, but I thought “Really? We all already use social media—so what’s the big deal?

Then I watched a video from Bob Baker (if you don’t know who he is, read his guest post on Christian Band Help). He was interviewing a lady who intrigued me not by what she was saying (because honestly at that moment I was more intent on getting the dishes done as I was watching the video), but that she wasn’t hyping what she was saying. In this world of selling and promoting ourselves, Ariel spoke with a peace and confidence that you do not often see. So, I stopped doing the dishes and paid attention. I liked what I heard—a non-hypey, rational way to use social media that works for musicians who are real people. Her way of approaching social media is about building relationships, not selling yourself. Now that is something we really need in the Christian music ministry!

Ariel_Hyatt
Ariel Hyatt

First, let me say that I do not know if Ariel or her staff are Christians or not, I didn’t ask. Her books are not sold at Christian bookstores nor are they published by a Christian publisher. So, if you believe that we should only use materials and ideas from Christians, this book might not be for you. Ariel’s books are, however, used by the Berklee College of Music, she has taught at Berklee, and spoken at multiple other colleges. The media and music fests love her; it is difficult not to bump in to her and her company, Cyber PR, whenever there is a discussion about social media. I’ll admit it; I should have paid more attention to Ariel and Cyber PR sooner, if only because of the great reputation she and her company have. But I am not a fan of social media. I recognize its necessity, so I use it, begrudgingly.

…which brings us to yesterday: the book Cyber PR for Musicians came in the mail. I had a few minutes before starting to cook dinner so, I sat on my porch swing with my favorite cat, Miss Abbey, and started to read it. Miss Abbey loves Ariel because the usual 10 minutes sitting outside lasted much, much longer. Dinner was late, and now I have a greatly expanded to do list, but it was worth it! Honestly, I was excited to read the book because I was initially intrigued with Ariel the person and her creative company. I kept reading the book because this is the kind of social media use that I can get behind.

 

Both the book Cyber PR for Musicians and the company Cyber PR are not about using social media to get rich or famous quickly. They are about using social media to establish a relationship with your fans.

 

The two primary illustrations used in the book are the Social Media House and the Social Media Pyramid. The Social Media House is made up of rooms that are your online presence, including: your website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, YouTube and assorted other platforms and apps. Ariel explores each room in the house and gives her best advice on how to use those rooms to make your guests feel special—so they want to come back and visit you again. The Social Media Pyramid is based on the old school food chart that showed us how to eat well rounded meals. When guests come to our house we want to serve them great food that is healthy and interesting enough to talk about. Social Media food groups are: direct engagement, shining a light on others, curating content, pictures, and shining a light on yourself. All of the foods are good, but should be served in the right proportions at the right time. I’m all about chocolate and coffee but if that is the only thing you feed me, eventually I won’t come to your house very often. According to Ariel, Social Media is the same. That is what I like about this approach to Social Media—it becomes about loving other people and meeting their needs instead of selling myself. I can do that! In fact, that is what my ministry is all about.


I am going to have to rework some of the social media I already have set up. I am certainly going to have to use it differently. And to do those things I am going to have to learn to use new tools as well as learn to use some older tools in new ways. But Cyber PR for Musicians has very clear instructions complete with screen shots to help me along the way. Even though I am not a techie I’m pretty sure I can do it. Keep an eye on Christian Band Helps social media over the next few months; you will see some changes as I learn to be better at connecting with you. And, since talking with you is the one thing I like to do best, I might even come to truly enjoy social media.

Cyber PR for Musicians: Tools, Tricks & Tactics for Building Your Social Media House is not a book I am going to read through again. It is a book that I am going to write all over the pages as I go through them one by one and apply it. (Thank you, Ariel, for leaving us wide margins.) And, no, you cannot borrow my copy—I am going to be busy using it.

 

You can follow Ariel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cyberpr

She has a lot of FREE information on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ArielPublicity

Another very popular book by Ariel:

Music Success In 9 Weeks

Ariels company, Cyber PR® is a boutique digital PR and social media strategy firm based in Brooklyn. Their mission is to effectively widen your audience, engage your customers and help you become an online influencer. They have social media courses and even a certification in social media exam available. Or, you can also hire them to do it all for you.

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Is your Christian band posting videos on YouTube? Here’s a FREE Kindle book that may help you with program scheduling and branding, to title and thumbnail design. Follow these 10 commandments and you too can succeed on YouTube.


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Testimony: Telling Your Story On Stage and Off

testimony
The message is more important than the music.

The main reason we are Christian music ministers is to love people closer to Jesus. We hope that our music will connect with people and help to open their hearts to our message. So, it is important to create excellent music but it is even more important to have the ability to speak our message well. Most often our message of the Gospel is not presented by preaching a sermon; it is given through our personal testimony.

If your band was a secular band, interested in promoting its quality and style of music, you would tell funny band stories and subtly highlight things such as your music experience, gear used, and your music education. But, since your band is a Christian music ministry; interested in ministry first, you want to talk about what God has done or is doing in your lives, highlighting Gods work rather than your expertise. To put it simply—we tell the story of God in our lives.

 

When we tell Gods story in our lives
what we say on stage, off stage and in our press kits
becomes much simpler.

 

The easiest way to figure out your story is in a group of people who know you well. This could be band mates, friends, or family. Ask people to picture themselves as a person with a similar problem to one you have dealt with in your life. Here are some possible scenarios: “My parents are getting a divorce and it’s tearing me up…I’ve been good all my life and I still don’t feel good enough…My addictions have hurt everyone around me…I just don’t see why cutting is so bad even though everyone says it is”.

Next ask the people in your group to imagine that this imagined person stumbled upon your band web site or saw you in a live performance. If they met you or read your biography, what would they want to hear? “My parents divorce almost tore me up too, but God…” “I was always the good kid and I got teased because of it, still I never felt good enough. When God showed me…” “I lost everyone close to me because of my addictions. Then God…” “I used to cut but I stopped because God…”.You get the general idea. Everyone will have a different story and it will be told differently from everyone else’s story—that’s what makes your personal story so powerful! The group of people closest to you has a more objective viewpoint on your life than you do. Their insights and comments will help identify your strongest areas of ministry.

 

Once you have identified what you want to say, you must find the best way to say it—CONCISELY—when you are speaking as well as in your band biographies on the website and in the press kit.

 

Try to speak a short version of your story in 2 to 3 sentences. Unless you are a solo artist, your written biography should not be more than a paragraph long (less than ¼ of a page). Remember that you are telling a ministry story. So, the audience does not need to know things like where you were born, your favorite food, what gear you currently use, your musical influences etc. unless they are directly related to the story. Structure your story so that you share the problem, then how you connected to God through it, and then the end result of your life now. Again, you would try to connect to your fans in a completely different way if you were in a secular band. But as a music minister, you want to tell a compelling story of Gods work in your life. Your goal is to bring people closer to God through your personal testimony.

Be aware that you will probably have to edit, edit, and edit some more to be able to share your story in a compelling and concise way. It’s OK, take your time and get it right. Ask a few people close to you to listen to your story and then read your biography. Make sure it conveys what you are trying to say as clearly as possible.

 

When you have practiced clearly communicating what you want to say, you can stop worrying about what to say and focus on when to say it.

 

Most often our songs are written from our hearts. So, our stories will most likely connect well to one or two songs in our bands set. Just before or after these songs are ideal times to share your story. Ideally, the band will plan who is going to share their story in between which songs as your plan your set list. But performing on stage is not always under ideal circumstances. Each member should have their stories ready to share at a moments notice whenever something does not go as planned. Whoever has a microphone and is not involved in solving the problem should immediately start talking. Did the guitar player break a string? The drummer can share his story while the guitar player switches instruments. Did the venue blow a circuit? Each band member can move to a different spot up front on the stage and share their stories to small groups of fans without a microphone. This encourages the audience to get closer to the stage—they are up front and ready when the power comes back on instead of losing them to different places in the venue.

Sharing your story off stage will become a part of conversations with fans before and after shows. You know that awkward hole in the conversation that comes after “Hi! It’s so nice to meet you.”? Fill it in with “Would you like to hear something amazing that God did for me?” and then continue with your story.

Your story should be told in written form in your band biographies. Band biographies are frequently left out of press kits because they are difficult to write, especially for young band members. More often than not, new bands biographies come off as silly and detrimental to the bands ministry. But, well crafted band biographies can be used to demonstrate the professionalism of the band when handling business matters and, more importantly, show that you are serious about the quality of your ministry. Biographies can establish a connection between band members and potential promoters and fans before they meet you personally.

 

Your story will change over time
as you have new life experiences.

 

You can always change and add new stories—this is a sign that God is continuing to work in your life. But as music ministers, we should always have a story ready to tell. Telling your story with excellence, in a concise and compelling way, can be the first step in changing someone’s life. The trick is to do it REALLY well so your fans look beyond the music to your message of Christ’s love.

Merchandise Beta Test

Band Merchandise
Try Out Our Merchandise to Help Your Christian Band

Christian Band Help
wants to start a new program
that will help your band
make more money at the merchandise table
with no up front cost to you!

Sounds too good to be true, like a scam, doesn’t it? It’s not. Remember, our goal here is to help you create extraordinary music ministries – not to make the most money possible for ourselves. If we were in this for the money we would be doing many things differently.

The basic plan of this program is to lend you merchandise that retails for $176 FREE for 90 days. At the end of 90 days, you can return whatever product is unsold to us with cash for our share of whatever you sold. You keep the profits from whatever you sell. If you sell it all you will keep $76 and be able to send us back our initial investment in you of $100. Now that’s a good deal!

We want to invest in you and your ministry! We are taking a chance that you are honest and won’t steal our stuff. We are even paying for the shipping.

But before we actually start this program
we want to beta test it on 3 bands.
Are you willing to try it out?

 

 

Cross Necklace
Disciple’s Cross Necklace

Here’s what you get:

• 6  Disciple’s Cross Necklaces

These sell at your table for $8 each. We keep $5, you keep $3 for each one you sell.

• 12  Festival Goers Headbands

These sell at your table for $5 each. We keep $3, you keep $2 for each one you sell.

Headband
Festival Goers Headband

• 34  Threads of Hope Friendship Bracelets

These sell for $2 at your table. We keep $1, you keep $1 for each one you sell.

Band Merchandise
Friendship Bracelet

You’ll notice that none of these items have your bands name on it or will conflict with your regular t-shirt and music sales. All these items are small so they will not take up much room on your table and will not shift the focus from your regular band merchandise. We are designing this program to help new bands raise money to buy their first merchandise or to increase the merchandise sales of more established bands with a wider variety of merch.

Interested in helping us out with this trial plan?

Here’s what you need to do…

E-mail marie@ChristianBandHelp.com with this information:

• Name of your band

• Band website URL

• Music genre

• Number of shows you have booked for the next 3 months

• Name, e-mail and phone number of the person who will be responsible for receiving, paying for and returning unsold merchandise

• Shipping Address

If we choose your band to participate in the beta test we will respond with an e-mail within a couple days. We will ask you to sign a simple one page contract agreeing to these terms and then we will ship your merchandise. Easy!

At the end of 90 days we will ask you to return all unsold merchandise and pay us for whatever you sold. We’ll also ask you to fill out a short one page questionnaire about how this program worked or did not work for your band. You’ll help us to create a better program and we’ll help you by giving you an opportunity to earn extra cash without doing a lot of extra work or spending a dime of your own money!

UPDATE: Congrats to our first beta test participant Mo Howard. Check out his website – MoHoward.com.

There’s still room for you, send me an e-mail if you are interested.

Sales Taxes for Christian Bands

Sales Tax & Christian Band

Christian bands should collect and pay sales tax on the merchandise we sell.

Should your Christian band be collecting and paying sales tax on the merchandise you sell?

Most often, the answer is “Yes”.

Sales taxes are not controlled by the Federal government, they are governed by states. So, each state gets to set their own rules. For bands that travel from state to state and sell merchandise, sales taxes can be a real headache. Many bands, both Christian and secular, simply sell their merchandise under the table, without collecting or paying sales taxes. This is not legal. There are only 5 states which do not have sales taxes: Oregon, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, and New Hampshire.

Some Christian bands try to get around the system by saying that they do not “sell” merchandise, they take offerings and give gifts in return. This only truly works (is legal) when you are actually willing to give away your merchandise for a donation without specifying the donation amount. Can you afford to give t-shirts away for a penny donation? If not, you are actually selling merchandise and should collect and pay sales taxes.

Most states require anyone who is selling merchandise in their state to get a vendors license before starting to collect sales tax. Most often, there are two kinds of vendors’ licenses available: one for brick and mortar stores and another called a transient license, which is for retail sales made in a variety of locations. Small businesses such as artists and flea market vendors also use this type of license. The transient vendors’ license is what bands need as it allows sales tax to be collected anywhere within the state. Most states require an application form and an application fee, which varies greatly between states. Some states also offer a temporary vendors license, which could be used for a one or two day event in a state that you will not perform in the rest of the year. This temporary license is best for events such as festivals. It usually does not have an application fee.

The amount of sales tax you must collect and how often you must pay them back to the state also varies widely between states. In addition to state sales taxes, most states allow counties and some cities to add additional sales tax. These additional taxes are almost always collected by the state at same the time as the state taxes. Search online for your states sales tax requirements.

Sales taxes are based on the location of the sale,
not the home office of your band.

So your band, even if it is a hobby, will probably need a vendors license for each state that you perform in. Start by obtaining a license from the state in which you reside because that is where virtually all of the bands first gigs will be. As the band expands check with each new state you will perform and obtain whichever licenses they require.

Collecting and paying the appropriate sales tax is one more way to submit to our government. This submission, paying taxes where taxes are due, brings us into greater obedience of all the things God has asked us to do. Our obedience clears the way for God to grant us more favor and blessings.

Irritating and Sinning Christian Band Members

Christian band members irritate each other, it’s a fact of band life. Christian band members sin, it’s a fact of Christian life. We are simply not immune from being human. From time to time we are all going to fail. The real test comes in how we respond to our band mates failure. Have you ever considered that God is just as concerned about how we respond to our band mates as He is with their failure?

Here is an excerpt from The Christian Band Guidebook to help you succeed at responding correctly when your band mate is irritating or outright sinning.

Personnel Issues: Sin Really Bugs Me and So Do YouThe Christian Band Guidebook

The successful ministry of a band hinges on the individual members commitment to holiness (right living). But, defining the boundaries for holiness is a sticky issue between denominations and individuals. Adding to the confusion are personalities that conflict. The guidelines for appropriate behavior and sin must be defined during one of the initial discussions at the start of the band and with the addition of each new member. Gray areas (areas which not all denominations agree upon) to discuss are: smoking, consumption of alcohol, language (are some words acceptable replacements for cursing?), and physical fighting or “horsing around”. Each member will probably have these issues already defined, but personal beliefs must be questioned in light of the goal of the success of the band.

Beyond the gray areas are the definite sin issues: pornography, fornication, drunkenness, illegal drug use, etc. The band must decide, before any of these issues occur, how to handle problems. Ideally, the agreed upon process would be written out in the partnership agreement. Predetermining the process for dealing with sin as a band adds to the consequences of committing the sin, thereby becoming another deterrent to aid the tempted person. Additionally, no accusations of favoritism or unfair dismissal from the band could be rightly entertained if a policy is clearly communicated before the sin is committed.

Personality conflicts can become as intense and confusing as to be perceived as a sin issue. Tempers flair and words are spoken which cannot be taken back, especially on the day of a show when the pressure to perform well is greatest. Remember the adversary is the devil, not your bother.

On the day of a show, defer to you brother, even if you are positive he is wrong, rather than allow any divisiveness to come between members of the band. Deferring is much easier to do if the band understands and reminds members that Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy—he wants to divide the band to destroy the potential of any further ministry. Determine not to let him win. At the next band practice bring up the issue privately and decide how to handle similar situations in the future. The discussion may be heated and the band may need to table the issue until the next practice to allow tempers to cool off. Agree not to bring the issue up to other people during this cool off time. Come back and try to discuss again, clear thinking will usually prevail and the ministry will not have embarrassed itself in any way. Communicate these issues throughout the life of the band during private band practices, not in front of any extra people. Rumors about the holiness and credibility of ministries are frequently blown out of proportion and devastating to the success of the band.

Do not be naive, grey areas, sin, and personality conflicts plague every band because every band is made up of imperfect people. Band members do not always agree on everything and get along all the time. The successful band plans ahead to deal with each of these problems. The band that stays together does so because of the commitment each member has made to the other, much like a marriage. The band which is the apple of Gods eye loves each other to the point of each member being willing to lay down their life (preferences, dreams, goals, music style, music quality, etc.) for the benefit of any other member.”