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This is an age old question and it may not have a well-defined answer. Personally, I still go back and forth on it and have had a difficult time charging for items. On the other hand, I don't mind running out and grabbing a new book or paying to download my favorite Christian artist's new CD. I also don't mind paying for great artwork. The gospel is free, right? So why are there people selling it? And thus, my thoughts go back and forth.
What am I paying for?
You may think you are paying for the materials, right? Book binding, paper, publishing costs, CDs, printer ink, art supplies or tons of other things. Now that we're mostly digital there are still programs and the time it takes to learn and use them. Sadly, most non-famous Christian artists and creatives work other jobs too because their products don't provide enough to take care of their families. When you purchase from a Christian creative then you are paying them for their time, materials, and more.
What more am I paying for?
You are paying them for their time for sure. A purchase helps ensure they can keep websites up, art supplies on hand, computer software programs active and things like that. But you are also buying more than just a book, just a painting, just a song. Why is that? No matter where the artist is on their journey - it took experience to get to the spot they are in today. They may be singing, writing, or drawing about a valley - but they walked through that valley to be able to use it to minister to you. Perhaps there have been countless hours of study and dedication to learning the word to create Bible study guides, devotionals and more. When someone stands and recites what seems to be a simple poem - it was literally years in the making.
What it does for a Christian Artist
To make a purchase from a Christian artist in any genre helps them keep going. We don't do it for that - but it's a vote of confidence. It communicates to them that you think they are worth the investment and it tells them you want more. Read their blog, order their book, buy that painting. You are ensuring Christian art continues. You make sure these types of things will still be available tomorrow. Tell an artist you believe in them by buying their items today. It helps keep them going in ways you may not understand - especially those who are not in the limelight.