It happens to every Christian band from time to time—we play a show and then, when it comes time to be paid, the booker says he does not have the money. What do we do? What should we do?
Ministry costs money. It costs Christian bands money to put gas in our vehicles to get to shows and to feed everyone while on the road. It costs venues money to pay for the facilities to put on the show. Sometimes there is simply not enough money to go around.
Here is an excerpt from The Christian Band Handbook to help us in that awkward situation:
Taking It Like A Man When You Don’t Get Paid
One of the more difficult situations in which to behave like Jesus occurs when the band does not get paid after performing. The most common reason for lack of payment to a band is lack of attendance resulting in poor ticket sales or offerings. Promoters speculate on attendance, hoping to make enough money to cover expenses and a little profit. Most promoters do not have enough money in the bank to cover expenses if the event is less than successful. The ethics of this method of business are questionable, but they are the industry standard of today. So, if the event did not draw a crowd it is highly likely that the promoter lost whatever money was set aside for the show plus is now in debt. An inexperienced promoter will feel devastated, and let down by God or other Christians after a show which has lost money.
At the end of the show the band should receive payment before leaving the venue. Sometimes a band will leave before the end of the show (in a multiple band show) and the promoter will honestly forget or not be aware that the band is leaving. Usually, that is not the case. Before the band leaves politely ask for payment in full, if it has not been received. When the problem arises take a few minutes to seek Gods counsel before approaching negotiations. Do not ever leave the venue in anger without working out a solution with the promoter. Remember that most Christian promoters are honest but inexperienced and are most of the times embarrassed by the lack of funds. Band members have probably felt the same way when a bill which was due which could not be paid. In this situation, ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?” Allow the promoter to give reasons for lack of payment. If any of those reasons are that the band did not perform up to expectations, both parties should refer to the performance agreement, contract, or confirmation letter. If the band has performed up to expectations, try to work out a solution with the promoter.
Possible solutions are:
● Forgive the debt to the band right there in person
● Arrange for payments to be made over a period of time
● Accept partial payment as payment in full
● Accept assets (equipment) in trade for the debt
● Explain the bands need for money and require immediate payment
Treat the promoter as you would like to be treated and God will provide your reward. It would be foolish to assume that Jesus would automatically forgive every debt immediately. Occasionally, the band will be impressed by God to demand immediate payment in full or something that seems equally as harsh. Do what you believe God is saying in the nicest way possible. Obedience to God with a loving attitude toward your brother is a key to success.
has several chapters that will help your band with difficult situations.
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