What standards should worship leaders hold regarding personal dress and physical appearance?

While I am sure there is no shortage of opinions on this topic, I wanted to wade into such an important topic.  We each possess a certain amount of preferences on the issue, but is there anything we can agree upon?  I hope so.  For starters, we should be able to agree upon one simple concept:

Worship leading is about drawing attention to Jesus – not myself. 

If worship leaders aren’t careful, they will serve as a distraction during worship.  If their clothing is intended to impress, wow, or seduce, it functions as a powerful opposition to the nature and purpose of the gathering.  It’s serious.

If you are in a gathering space that utilizes live video, you must use extra caution.  What is the purpose of putting live video footage of musicians as the background to worshipful lyrics?  What are you trying to accomplish?  Does it increase or decrease the amount of distraction?

Even if you don’t use video footage, you are on display.  Such distracting dress can come across at any age or any style of dress or any type of church.

Some Simple Guidelines

We live in a culture that provides enough variety in clothing to show your style without having to show anything else.  You have the freedom to be trendy as long as it isn’t tempting.  People can actually be stylish and appropriate at the same time.  By dressing modestly, we acknowledge that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19-20) and attempt to remove stumbling blocks (Rom.14:13; 1 Cor 8:9; 1 John 2:10) from the path of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Make no mistake – this warning is for women and men.  Plunging necklines and tight pants are no longer just for women, but it seems as if many male worship leaders make that a habit as well.  What do you hope to happen as a result of such a wardrobe?  In an attempt of being relevant, are you able to remain reverent?      

While your clothing shouldn’t have a different standard if you are on or off the stage, realize that being on a platform causes all eyes to look at you. 

Don’t give them a reason to show you attention other than the fact that you are pointing them to behold the LORD. 

3 Essential Questions

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is your clothing neat (this has more to do with sloppiness than style)?
  2. Is your clothing non-distractive (why would clothing beg for attention when we desire them to focus on Jesus)?
  3. Is your clothing modest (nothing too revealing or too tight)?  

It is an awkward conversation to have when you have to send someone home to change wardrobes, but the important task of leading worship makes the discomfort worth it.

5 Worship Team Killers Overview

Your worship team is under spiritual attack. If your team doesn’t notice it, that may be because the battle is already over. While contexts differ, these five worship team killers show up in almost every situation and every heart: pride, inconsistency, inability, detachment, and division.

Since you are a target, would you take some time to research the dangerous areas? Study through the common assaults and observe the wreckage on the roadside. And then allow the Word and the Spirit to work in your life to ensure you won’t be another casualty.

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.