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Ep. 258: Corporate Worship With Kelsey Kramer McGinnis

Hello everybody.  I’m Warren Smith, coming to you from Charlotte, North Carolina, and I’d like to welcome you to the MinistryWatch podcast.

Here at MinistryWatch we cover a lot of stories about scams, scandals, and frauds in the church. Every story is different, of course, but I find that most of the scandals have one of two origin stories.

The first story is the story of someone who sets out from the beginning to defraud people. These people have evil intent right from the start. But in my experience, these stories make up by far the smallest portion of the stories we write about here at MinistryWatch.

The vast majority of stories we tell here are stories of people who start well, with good intentions, but are lured by some combination of money, power, or sex into self-destructive behavior – and that often leads to public scandal and, sometimes, organizational collapse.

That’s why one of the things we look for here at MinistryWatch is any unusual concentration of power, or money.  And perhaps nowhere has that concentration been more conspicuous than in the area of worship music. Praise and worship music now generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year in performance and royalty income.  Most of that money comes from Christians, some of it directly from churches, but – as we will explain in this episode of the MinistryWatch podcast, that money often goes directly into the coffers of secular corporations and others with no interest in the peace, purity, and unity of the church.

To help us unpack some of these issues, I’ve asked Kelsey Kramer McGinnis to be on the program today.  Kelsey has written a fascinating and helpful cover story for Christianity Today called “Our Worship Is Turning Praise Into Secular Profit.”

Kelsey McGinnis covers worship music for Christianity Today.  She also has a PhD in musicology from the University of Iowa.  You can find her article on the CT website here.

The producers for today’s program are Rich Roszel and Jeff McIntosh.  We get database and other technical support from Stephen DuBarry.

Until next time, may God bless you.