Your ministry can be compromised by fans who will do almost anything to get attention, even accusing you of inappropriate behavior.
Here’s a few simple steps to protect yourself and your Christian band from their false accusations.
Here’s the video transcript:
Today we’re talking about avoiding accusations of inappropriate behavior.
Here’s an almost hypothetical situation…
A mid 20-year-old male band member was texting a female high school senior, trying to help her through a personal problem. Her Dad found out about the texts and reported the band member to the student’s youth group Pastor. The Father was irate and accused the band member of inappropriate behavior with his daughter. It took a few minutes for the youth group Pastor to figure out that probably nothing physical had happened, only texts that were meant to help the daughter through a difficult situation. Still… the Father was upset and put the Pastor in a very awkward position. The situation was volatile because The Father was very vocal and the Pastor had hired the band repeatedly for youth group retreats and special events. The Father was unaware of the actual problem the daughter was seeking advice on from the band member. The Pastor had suspicions about the daughters’ problem, but she’d not come to him for help. Meanwhile, the Father was talking to other parents and the daughter was silent. The Pastor verified what had (and had not) happened in a phone call with the band member, but the damage was done.
What a mess…
The reputation of 2 ministries hangs on the word of a teen that is in secret trouble and a protective parent with potential anger management issues.
You think this does not happen in real life? Hold on—I have worked with bands in this almost exact situation. In every instance the band loses. Obviously, the youth Pastor cannot ever hire the band again, even if nothing happened because the parents would be questioning the integrity of his ministry. The band loses gigs and income right away. More than that, rumors fly. Before you know it everyone in town has heard that something happened with a student and a band member. You can be sure the details won’t be correct but the negative gossip will reach every other youth group leader around. Now the band has lost the ministry in many youth groups and they won’t get recommendations from anyone to work outside the community.
Try this situation…
A 30 something male band member is loading gear in and out of the venue before and after the show. A 12-year-old female is constantly standing in the doorway, blocking the removal of equipment. The band member has asked the child to move several times but each time she reappears. Some large amps on wheels are following the band member this time so, out of frustration, the band member finally takes her by the shoulders and moves her. The girl is so excited… she runs to her friends and says loudly, “He touched me!” She means it in a swooning fan, “I’ll never wash this spot again” way and her friends admire her for being so close to a celebrity. That’s not how the adults nearby (who did not actually see what happened) take the meaning of hearing a girl scream, “He touched me.”
Beware of innocent actions that could be misinterpreted as inappropriate behavior.
These kind of innocent situations happen every day. Unfortunately, most people fall prey to listening to rumors and gossip rather than standing by their brothers in ministry. The reality is that the reputation of your ministry can be influenced by socially inept, emotionally and spiritually unstable people. These people are your audience and fans. They are often crying out for attention and will do really weird things to get it. You’re in ministry to help them. But how do you protect yourself and your ministry from their false accusations of inappropriate behavior?
A wise man once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In this case, it is true.
Let’s look at what you can do to prevent problems…
The first step is to talk with the entire band about potential problems and the importance of the bands reputation. Many situations can be avoided simply be raising the band’s awareness.
After you have discussed the issue with the band, you may want to come up with a set of rules that you all agree to adhere to.
Here’s my suggestions of
Band Rules for Dealing with Fans
1. Never be alone at a venue. It’s too easy to get trapped by a fan alone in the hallway on the way to the restroom. After that, it is your word against theirs. Band members should pair off when leaving the main auditorium.
2. Keep your personal information private. No one except the band manager should have access to band members’ phone numbers or addresses. Take care that personal information does not appear anywhere on-line, including press kits. Don’t give out that information to fans—even for potential counseling situations. If a fan needs to contact a band member, they should call the manager. The manager will take a message and the band member is then responsible for the deciding if the fan is really a personal friend or not. If not, the call should be returned using the managers’ phone (so the fan will not get the band members phone number) and make sure someone else is able to hear the conversation.
3. Do not counsel fans. Unless you are a licensed professional counselor, counseling situations should be referred to a local Pastor or Christian counselor if at all possible. If you try to counsel a fan you will get in over your head quickly most of the time. There are also legal ramifications that you are not equipped to handle. Most Christian venues have already have arrangements set up to help your fans. They hire you to draw people in and get them to open up, not to start your own counseling center.
4. Create guidelines for items the band will and will not autograph. For example: you may not want to sign any clothing that people are currently wearing or you may not want to sign any skin (A great reason to use is that the oils from skin ruins your sharpie markers).
5. Do not physically touch fans except in the most socially acceptable ways. Err on the side of caution. For example: shaking hands is great, anything more is questionable depending on the situation.
6. Do not accept personal gifts from fans. Many bands post their birthdays on their website (I don’t recommend doing this). If you do, be aware that sometimes fans will get you gifts. Some of it is well-intentioned and some of it is the start of stalking. The line between a fan and a personal friend can get a little blurry; most of the time if you do not see a person except at a show, they’re fans. If a fan tries to give you a gift explain that by band rules you’re not allowed to accept it—make sure they know it’s not personal, it’s band policy. If the fan gets insistent tell them that the best way to help you is to donate to the band and then show them the donation can.
7. Notify the venue of any unusual fan interactions. This rule only applies to Christian venues and settings; secular venues don’t care. Churches, youth groups, and even fests usually want to be made aware of potential problems with their audience. Remember that if you’ve experienced a problem with a fan, someone else probably will as well. It is much better for a Pastor to talk to a fan privately before they do real damage to someone else.
That is it! If your band would adopt these seven rules, or create your own set of rules, you’ll eliminate most problems. Stay safe—protect yourself—protect your ministry.
One of the best tools we’ve developed for you at Christian Band Help is The Christian Band Handbook. This resource book covers topics such as: defining your ministry’s mission, how to find the right band members, choosing and protecting your band’s name, copyrights, press kits and booking, music marketing, how to make the most of your ministry dollars, and a whole lot more.
We know what it’s like to be a Christian musician. Between us my husband Mark and I have over 60 years of experience in almost every aspect of music ministry. I wrote this book so you can learn from our experience. We want to help you launch your band on the journey to impact the world around you while avoiding the pitfalls along the way.
The Christian Band Handbook is available as a paperback or e-book on Amazon and most e-book retailers.
For more information go to ChristianBandHelp.com, click on ‘Store’ on the navigation bar, and then click on ‘Christian Band Handbook’. Or you can click on the link directly below this video. https://christianbandhelp.com/store/the-christian-band-handbook/