Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Part of Leadership Is How We Present Ourselves

This came up on a forum I participate in sometimes and it is a culture clash I thought was very interesting and appropriate.

* Posted by J Pettigrew on July 29, 2009 at 6:00pm in Living a Life of Worship

This may have been brought up in another thread, if so then I apologize. My home church is not conservative, but not the most forgivig congregation either. We have had some complaints because some of the musicians on our team have ear rings, tattoos, mohawks, etc...

So it was suggested that only when they are on stage at our church that they tone it down a bit and dress or style themselves a little more conservatively.

These people are strong Christians who serve God with their gifts, inside and outside of the church. Should they really have to change their appearance just to please the congregation???

All comments would be appreciated. I'm really hoping to hear from both sides to better understand why people feel the way they do.

Reply by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

I agree that striving to not offend and sensitivity to others are signs of maturity. The Christian heart attitude is tested in such times. It is similar to the case Paul writes about in Romans where mature Christians had eaten meat thrown from the temples of false gods, because it was still good and they didn't want to waste it. Less mature Christians saw this and questioned their faith. To Paul, the meat was fine and not evil or cursed. But since the immature Christians were being tested by the sight of it, he recommended the mature Christians not do it where they could be seen. Some people in my congregation are against drinking. Others have no issue as long as it is not to excess. When I go to church picnics, I leave the beer at home. When I go to events with church members, I don't drink. The same is true in my work in other cultures. I try and be sensitive in what I say, how I say it, and how I appear in presenting it. So while it may offend your band members' sense of personal freedom of expression, it is not unreasonable to ask them to show sensitivity and be the bigger persons and dress in a way that is more acceptable to those who just can't see beyond their stereotypes.
The goal of worship leading, and your band members are part of the worship leadership in your church whether they say words to lead or not, is to point people to Christ, not to one's self. If your dress is flashy or your jewelry calls attention to you and not Christ, you are not being a good leader. I ask my team members to dress conservatively, but comfortably, and none of them have the issues mentioned. I don't feel uncomfortable asking them, and so far no one has complained that it was unfair. It's just a reasonable expectation of leadership.

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