Valuing IP “Stars” in a Church Setting

by vernsanders on January 12, 2010

If you are just joining us, we started by identifying just exactly what church musicians and worship leaders actually do…create IP. Then we explored how IP can be valued in the marketplace…including a description of the 1000 true fan economic model. Then we looked at how to value IP in a church setting. Yesterday we examined more closely the “unsung” areas a church musician/worship leader’s IP can add value to a church, and why a person serving in that role almost always plays “second fiddle.”

Today we get to the good news/bad news part.

Sadly, the better the church musician/worship leader is in the “qualitative” areas of their calling, the more that person becomes a target…primarily because a non-musician/worship leader doesn’t have the tools to understand just exactly what it is that the musician/worship leader does, and how well…unless the church musician/worship leader’s stature in the community is so well recognized that the church (and its leadership) gains a perceived benefit from keeping the person on staff.

In essence then: star value good news, no star value bad news. An “American Idol” world. It is not a new thing for church musicians, as the careers of Bach and Mozart, for instance, well illustrate…and Mozart even had star value when his troubles with the Bishop boiled over. As we now look back from the perspective of a couple of hundred years, Mozart’s probles was that he wanted to contribute more than just “short ditties” (that’s my term), and had significant trouble subjugating his creativity to the demands of his pastoral superior. Sound familiar?

Ultimately the problem is that there is no “free market” for valuing the total IP a church musician/worship leader brings or contributes to a church except what another church might pay to lure them to another position. There is not even a “rule of thumb” metric, except perhaps the long-standing “10% of the budget should be allocated to music and worship ministries,” which might undervalue some people’s IP contribution, and overvalue others. And even that is a subjective decision.

But, in my opinion, the only accurate way that a church musician/worship leader’s IP can be truly valued is by another peer or a group of colleagues…not pastors, not lay people, but other church musicians/worship leaders. And historically the peer valuation of a creative person, and their IP, in any of the arts, is worth almost nothing to a church at which that person serves. In the vernacular: your IP and $5 will get you a cup of coffee at a brand name coffee house.

I’m still thinking about How/Can/What that problem be addressed…

Do we need to change church music education to focus on creating “stars”? But won’t that create even more of a problem, given the issues of platform sharing/ego between pastors and musicians? I’ll get back to you when I have more to say on the topic. In the meantime, I’d like to know what you think.

Can an IP valuation model work in a church setting?

Do you or your church use one?

Is there a better “rule of thumb” than that of 10% to music/worship?

Are you a “star”? Could you be? What would it take?

Have you ever lost your position to a “star”?

Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

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