What is the WELS stand on hiring organists from outside of the WELS and ELS to play for worship services?
When it comes to organists who serve at regular worship services or special worship services, our practice is that those individuals be of our faith and fellowship. Why is that? We want to follow what Scripture says about doctrinal unity and our participation in activities in which we express a common faith (Romans 16:17). We want to send a clear signal that all teachings of the Bible are important (Matthew 28:20). We want to work together with fellow Christians when there really is a common confession of faith (3 John 8).
I can refer you to the following information from Church Fellowship: Working Together for the Truth. It is available from Northwestern Publishing House.
“Church musicians are public representatives of the church, with a prominent public role. They, therefore, should be members of the congregation or its fellowship.”
“Scripture teaches us that only people who agree with the teachings of the church should lead its services. Wouldn’t it be strange if we invited someone who did not agree with our beliefs to speak a message from God’s Word to us? Isn’t it just as strange to invite such a person to sing a message from God’s Word or to remind us of such a message by playing the melodies that bring it to our minds? For this reason, our practice is that we do not permit people from outside our fellowship to serve as organists and soloists during services of our churches.” (Pages 127, 130)