I think it’s time for some worship leaders to grow up. I know the artsy types are free thinkers, like to push the boundaries around them, and don’t like to be told what to do. It’s part of their creative make-up and helps make them who they are: explorers. However, I believe that these reasons are sometimes just excuses to circumvent the expected, and many times in the process hurt and offend others.
I recently attended a wedding. The setting was a small Catholic church, complete with hardwood pews, kneeling benches, and stained glass windows. This traditional setting had a modest sound system and had added a retractable screen for a projector, but otherwise every effort had been made to keep the aesthetics true to its history. This wedding was a formal event, most people in suits or dresses.
After I was seated, I was admiring the skill of the worship leader who was playing, singing, and just providing a nice ambiance before the ceremony. It was then I was horrified. The worship leader was also in a suit and tie, but decided to express his uniqueness by wearing teal Converse. This man was being paid by the bride and groom, and obviously expectations were set by them, the pastor, and the sacredness of the event; yet I felt like they were totally disrespected. I felt embarrassed for them by this rude gesture.
Each Sunday, anyone on the platform represents the church and pastor. In many cases, the pastor has set a climate or culture that they want established. There are guidelines set, whether written or verbal. This can vary from a suit and tie, to jeans and a t-shirt. Whatever the expectation, those who are allowed the privilege of serving on the platform should follow the dress code.
And this is where many worship leaders say, “You can’t tell me what to wear!” Think about other jobs: McDonalds tells their employees what to wear; nurses are told what to wear; and offices set a dress code. Truth is, most of us are told what is acceptable and what is not.
So I’d like to encourage every worship leader to put their pride aside and be sure they are following the rules given to them. There is great freedom within the boundaries set, as long as we are obedient within those parameters. Show respect to the people or event you are participating in, whether it is a church service, wedding, VBS, or funeral. Meet the expectations, and represent the authorities above well.
Written By: Dave Feltman. Dave is a Search Coach for Froot Group, a worship staffing and consulting company.