(pic credit: Considering the Flowers ©2017 by crisbaj. Used with permission)
Question: have you ever felt un-comfortable by what somebody was wearing on-stage during worship?
Was it un-modest?
Distracting from worship?
Modesty… when guys and gals are on the platform/stage, leading God’s people in song and worship…
9 I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Tim 2:9-10 NIV
Let’s ‘talk straight’ about how worldly fashion trends have ‘become OK’ to wear when leading worship, and how they can violate solid Biblical principles of modesty. Somehow, they snuck into the gathering of the Saints…
Senario: I went to a movie theatre to see the internationally-released film about a well-known worship band and ministry’s world-tour (whom I will leave un-named). I was excited that a film was out that chronicled a season in this ministry, since the influence of this group is huge-huge-huge (over half a million people have seen them live, millions more singing their songs on Sunday).
The film moved nicely along, doing the live-shots, showing song-writing angst, long recording studio-grinding and biop-interview spots, with the ‘tension-builder’ being a huge concert in a massive venue with new material. Their discussion of purpose and inspiration was pretty ‘stock’, but good to hear.
Most of the time, the band was dressed in the new, mod, I’m- cool, ‘ragamuffin’ style of torn t-shirts (especially the armpits) and dilapidated jeans… not a modesty problem, but can’t Christians be a bit original? Oh, yeah, the hats…
However, during one of the live-concert, multi-cam shoots, there was a very un-modest segment. On stage, the female singer in the band was wearing skin-tight yoga pants with boots, a pull-over top under a cropped jacket that came to above the navel… very trendy, somewhat revealing. During a scene featuring her intense vocals… of an intense worship-God song… she was in a long, fill-the-screen, dead-center shot with super-bright spot back-lighting, which resulted in a well-defined, glowing shape of the female form… in, ahhem, many aspects… well, I was glad there weren’t young teen-age boys at the film showing I was at!
Question: have you had a similar experience with a ‘Christian’ event?
Scenario: Nothing against wearing modern rock-industry shirts and swag to go out and sip coffee with friends… I have a few U2 shirts in my drawer… but one would think that wearing torn-up T-shirts with images such as Jimi Hendrix, or 80’s chic girls while leading worship at a large, national-level conference… I really didn’t appreciate the distraction of being called to ‘deeper worship of God’ from the mic with the large image of a drug-addicted rock musician on the leaders’ shirt.
Question: has this happened in your worship band or ministry?
Scenario: A recent Facebook post had a worship pastor from a size-able church sharing his frustration with both guys and gals on their team showing up to lead vocals or play in the band in either  terrible choices for style (distracting rap or rock t-shirts a common culprit),  ripped-up clothing that looked like a dumpster-dive collection, or  super revealing and un-modest attire (usually the girls, but the low-slung-underwear-showing thing with guys was noted).
This modern Levite, out of concern for putting distractions and ‘impure images’ up in the Sanctuary as part of the worship band, lamented; “After leading worship for 12 years at our church, I was finally forced to write up a Worship Team Dress Code. “
Question: Have you felt frustrated by the worship-band fashions?
Scenario: [Another] Blogger wrote,” I resisted the idea of ‘Worship Dress Codes’ for as long as I could, but when I noticed the teenage boys fighting for up-front seats near the girls in the band who wore the tight yoga-pants style, or the currently-popular look of a lacy black bra being worn under a white, see-thru blouse, or a dress with platforms or high-heels… ”
Question: …any similar problems, including with the youth worship bands?
I could add a dozen other high-octane examples that raises the question: are we dressing appropriately for being in worship ministry?
Taking the risk of being called a fuddy-duddy, old-fashioned and out-of-touch, I would like to make a PLEA to all in adoration and worship leadership to require Sensibility and Modesty in dress for any and all ‘on the platform’, and on-camera.
It would seem that the ‘let’s be accepting, let’s not judge what people wear in church’ movement that started in the 80’s needs to be brought back to center. It seems the worldly fashion trends, all of which scream “look at me!’ while pushing a coy sensuality have crept into the thinking of people in worship ministry as ‘OK’ to wear on the platform.
Exercise: Before proceeding in this blog, are there any points from your experience that you would put at the top of your Dress Code list?
Having lived and worked internationally for so many faith-based groups and churches, this issue of ‘what you wear’ takes on a whole different ethos cross-culturally. In many places on the African continent, what you wear clearly identifies your allegiance and intent; I am a Christian, or I am not. In Latin America, what is worn on the platform of a church or out on an outreach or crusade must be unquestionably modest for both guys and gals. I have seen so many ‘short-term outreachers’ from America come to Mexico, dressed in their usual at-home styles, and the people deeply offended… (the outreachers are never told, since confrontation is forbidden in Latin culture, and saving face is a huge ethic…). It has broken my heart so many times that the ‘visiting outreach team’ is out in the community, and the people of the Church there will pretend they don’t even know them, because of the boys with drooping pants to show off underwear, and the girls in short-shorts with flimsy tops dangling with spaghetti straps…
Question: Have you had any similar cross-cultural experiences?
In this blog, I’m going to avoid casting motive and intention on people who wear ‘improper clothing’. Even though psychology tells us that our clothing choices speak about the person within, I’m going to focus on the measurable behaviour of guys and gals (both!) dressing appropriate for standing in front of people to ‘lead worship’.
I am calling out guys as well… is wearing your locale’s rival team’s jersey while leading worship as much a problem as a gal wearing tight yoga pants? Different issue, but yes, a problem!
Wow, do the Scriptures have a lot to say on this topic! Just go on-line and put in ‘Scriptures about modesty’ in the search parameter…
In the Scriptures, there is a lot of attention paid to the area of what we wear, and how that should be a reflection of the Kingdom of God and the redemptive work of Christ inside each of us. There is also a clear ‘topic stream’ on how a person can dress in ways that are meant for ‘crafty intent’ or ‘seductive reasons’ (see Prov 7:9-12). The body of Scripture also makes a clear connection with ‘our bodies’, what we do with them, including the clothes we put on them (see 1 Cor 6:12-20).
Here are 15 key Scriptures I’ve chosen, in no particular order:
1 Timothy 2:9-10
1 Peter 3:3-4
1 Samuel 16:7
1 Corinthians 8:9
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
1 Corinthians 6:13
I encourage worship leaders to spend time un-packing these Scriptures [and other related passages], and fan the flame of discussion in their group!
Question: After a worship band studies this Scriptural topic together, would it be good to have them draft a Dress Code framework… would they ‘own’ their efforts in this area?
Previous movements of God have had to deal with this issue. If you take some time to read the historic writings of the Quakers and the Mennonites, Dress Codes were implemented to allow for a un-distracted, don’t-give-in-to-sensuality, live-God-directed lives. Having spent time in Mennonite and Amish communities, the simple, common-sense way of dress really has a positive effect on being a follower of Jesus in the community of His People, while being simple and practical.
No, I’m not saying we all need to ‘go Amish’, or advocating suits and ties in all things Church for boys (which was my up-bringing), or floor-length dresses with buttoned-to-the-top blouses for girls.
Having been classic-music trained in my youth, the non-descript, cover-all black ‘costume’ of an orchestral member was required, and never up for discussion. The ‘why’ of that was to not distract the audience from focusing on the music being played. I suspect that, in our day of ‘audience-stage’ dynamics in Mod Worship, this needs to be re-visited in the Church.
I still opt for non-descript black when subbing in someone’s band.
Those blogging worship pastors I mentioned earlier… Here are excerpts from their lists for Worship Ministry Dress Codes:
Starting out with ‘a positive list’: simple solid black pants/pants suit, black shirts or blouses, black shoes with low heels and soles… the ‘modern orchestra’ style of a solid shirt/blouse/top, jeans in reasonable repair, simple shoes or sandals. Skirts to knee length (required if tights or yoga pants underneath).
Then comes the ‘NO FLY’ list: no low-cut tops, spaghetti straps, shorts, short skirts, yoga pants, tights instead of pants.
No legs showing higher than knee. No display of underwear, either by low-slung pants, see-through over-wear or tears in outer-wear. No shoes with excessive heel height or platforms.
(Honorable mentions to the ‘NO’ list:)
No neon togas, regular togas, speedos/bikinis, loin cloths, suits of armor (? I was like, ‘really…?’), barrels, no superfluous prosthetics.
No ‘band swag’ shirts or ‘artist image’ attire
No ‘logo advertisement’ shirts or jerseys: brands, products, sports teams.
All wardrobe to be in ‘reasonable’ condition, without excessive tearings or severe dis-repair.
There was some real interesting give-and-take about hats, but I’ll step over that one.
Question: From your personal and Church experience… anything to add?
For me, the bottom line is: it’s all about God-adoration and God-worship.
It ain’t a performance, and the musicians should dress modestly to help lead God’s people un-distracted into His Holy Presence.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col 3:17
written by crisbaj
© 2017 by crisbaj/AdoreTheLord.blog All rights reserved.
All Scripture references from New International Version unless otherwise indicated.
If you re-post or use material from this blog, please be honest and give author citation + AdoreTheLord.blog as the source… thanks!!