(Photo: Pastor Steven Furtick singing Psalm 121.)
Church music has become big business.
Ultimate Guitar reports that almost $600 million is spent annually on audio equipment and instruments for performing church music.”
Churches have become one of the most common venues for hearing live music.
In six years, Bethel Music, the music ministry of Bill Johnson’s megachurch Bethel Redding, generated $80 million in revenue.
Bethel Music is one of the four most popular church music ministries in America, according to a recent academic study being published at Worship Leader Research.
The researchers identified 38 of the most popular church worship songs from 2010 to 2020. Almost all the songs were written by or performed by Bethel, Elevation Church (pastored by Steven Furtick), Hillsong (founded by Australian pastor Brian Houston) and Passion City Church (pastored by Louie Giglio).
Church performances, concert tours and radio airplay have boosted worship band awareness. Hillsong has reportedly sold more than 20 million albums.
Business Legal Structure
Most American Christians have never heard of the term integrated auxiliary, but it is the key to understanding how most megachurches and televangelists operate financially successful worship ministries.
The IRS describes integrated auxiliaries as “a class of organizations that are related to a church or convention or association of churches, but are not such organizations themselves.”
For example, Elevation Church registered a trademark for the name Elevation Worship, the name of the worship band. This allows the church to create a bank account and do business in the name of Elevation Worship.