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Pastor Stephen Widener responds to Selena Day’s Open Letter about Musicians in Church

Written by Staff on June 1, 2018 – 10:07 am -

Selena Day

Selena Day

Several weeks ago, author Selena Day, a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine and wife of Chuck Day, Christian Country vocalist, wrote an open letter to pastors regarding outside Gospel artists being invited to sing at churches. To read it in its entirety, click here. Selena gives pastors valid reasons for inviting musicians to their services, including drawing new people into that assembly.

Pastor Stephen Widener, from Lenoir, North Carolina, who also writes for SGNScoops and SGMRadio in the column “Pastor’s Ponderings,” responded to Selena Day’s open letter. He writes,

The open letter that was in Scoops had me thinking because I have been on almost all ends of that situation.

As you know that as a singer/musician (with the Gospel group Faithful,) I don’t charge churches to sing and most of them give us a love offering. Now if we do travel more than, say, two hours, we may ask for enough to take care of expenses but that’s it.

As a minister of a small country church, I have been asked to bring artists in and I am glad to do this, but my dad (senior pastor) has final say about who comes because they are an extension of the ministry we (the church and its leaders) have. Plus, I have had a lot of groups ask how many people might attend their concert. I may say I don’t know because there are less than 300 people who live in that part of the world!  Yes, this has happened on more than one occasion.

Pastor Stephen Widener responds to Selena Day's Open Letter about Musicians in Church

Stephen Widener

Then there are people like Mylon Hayes, who don’t have a problem coming to where I am for a love offering and I love people like him. I have packed places out when that happens.

But then there is also the concert promotion side, of which I am also familiar, because of my work with Tony Greene for years. Last year, I was working on bringing the Talleys to a local church. This country church is losing members left and right, due to age and other issues. So, to try to bring people in, they asked me to speak to the Talleys, a group who would certainly fill the church. I spoke with them and Harper Agency (talent representative) to bring them in, but when the current leaders talked to them, they only promised the group a very low love offering. Now, I knew the Talleys would have gotten a much larger offering easy with a full house of 500 people. I even went to Lauren and had her waive the fee for the gas expense for the bus, but the promise of the low amount, which was insufficient for the Talleys to make the trip, ended the whole thing. I was saddened because they don’t even get 50 people on a regular Sunday night. The concert would have brought new people in, had the leaders been more farsighted.

I have been praying for an opportunity to have a summer sing here so we can bring other groups in, as Tony Greene did for years in Boone.

So I feel for her and know what she is experiencing.

God bless,

Stephen Widener

For more by Stephen Widener, click HERE.

READ The latest PDF Version Of SGNScoops Magazine here.

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Selena Day writes an open letter to Pastors

Written by Staff on May 5, 2018 – 11:28 am -

Chuck and Selena Day

Chuck and Selena Day

Dear Pastor,

 

Why should you have an outside guest come into your church?

 

Or better yet, why should you let a singer or singing group come into your church?

 

Over the past 29 years of traveling with my husband and doing our type of ministry, we have seen a decline in churches opening their doors for singers to come in.  

 

Contemporary music is pretty much obsolete, being swallowed up by praise and worship music. I am not knocking praise and worship. I actually love it and listen to it a lot, but I also love to hear a song that tells me a story that I can identify with.  

 

Recently, we received an email from a man asking how to purchase Chuck’s music. He told us that he and his wife had just recently gotten back into the church and were working on their marriage.

 

His pastor had recommended that he begin listening to the Christian radio station in their area. He heard one of Chuck’s songs about working things out in marriage. The man listened to the words of the song, and it touched his heart because of the season he was in with his family.

 

This is a regular occurrence for us. Many times after a concert, a man or woman will come up to us and begin to tell us how one of Chuck’s songs paralleled where they are in their walk in life and how it gave them hope and encouragement to trust that God had them and would not let them fall.  

 

CHUCK AND SELENA DAY

CHUCK AND SELENA DAY

But back to my open letter….

 

Why should you have singing ministries in your church?

 

For one, it opens the door for the invitation. It has been discovered that many churches find that their new members come for a gospel concert after seeing it advertised. It sparks within them a remembrance of their mother, grandmother or grandfather’s love for that old-time music, and something propels them to check it out.

 

While there, they discover that the church wasn’t too big and dynamic with all the lights and smoke machines, or that Christians weren’t actually judgmental and angry as society leads them to believe … and the peace they felt there draws them back the next Sunday.

 

Secondly, it’s the evangelism. People open up when they hear music. It unlocks something within us. Neuroscience is studying the effects music has on our brain. One study even showed that patients about to undergo surgery were split in two groups. One group was told to listen to music prior to surgery while the other group was given anti-anxiety drugs before surgery. It was found that the patients who listened to music had less anxiety and lower cortisol than the patients who took the anti-anxiety drugs.

 

Selena Day

Selena Day

Scientists are still studying how the brain processes music, but they are finding that music affects many different parts of the brain. When humans are listening to music, not only the part that is auditory reacts, but other parts as well. It stands to reason that when a person hears a message in a song, they more easily accept that message than if it is given to them by words alone. So bringing in a singing ministry is quiet evangelical as well.  

 

In these days of rediscovering what church means in the postmodern society, I would challenge pastors to not overlook the benefits of bringing in outside singers or singing groups to your church. There is a benefit to having them come.

 

Pastor, as a good steward of what God has blessed you with, I would encourage you to open your doors to those who have chosen the profession of travel while ministering through the gift of song that God has given them.

 

You, your church, and your community, may find healing from the music that is brought to you.  

 

Blessings,

Selena Day

 

April 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

April 2018 SGNScoops Magazine

Selena Day is a motivational speaker and is available to speak at your conference or event. She can be contacted by e-mailing selenaday@me.com, by visiting www.queenliving.org, or at www.facebook.com/queenismsbyselenaday.  

Selena Day is a regular contributor to SGNScoops Magazine.

Day by Day: An Open Letter to Pastors was first published by SGNScoops Magazine in April 2018

READ The latest PDF Version Of SGNScoops Magazine here.

Download The latest PDF Version Of SGNScoops Magazine HERE

Find SGNScoops Magazine On Facebook HERE

Listen Online To The Best In Todays Gospel Music HERE

 


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