ModestyPosted: February 16, 2011
A thought provoking article on the topic of modesty, which is helpfully unpacked by the inclusion of a letter from a leader to his team. The full article is here.
I thought would be good to post the letter on here too. Worth reading!
“In the last year, we’ve had a few questions from members of the church about what some of the worship team wears on Sundays. This email is to bring you into the conversation, and also to ask for your help.
Let me start by first making sure that you know how grateful I am for the ways that you serve. You sing wonderfully, and more importantly, you serve humbly and joyfully with an eye toward magnifying Jesus. It is a pleasure to do it with you!
It seems that what’s in the stores and in the media has become more and more form-fitting over the last few years. I don’t track these things carefully, but it seems like stuff is a little tighter on the body than it used to be. Although one wonders how that trend can infinitely continue!
A few church members shared some concerns with me very humbly and graciously. One parent said he is training his girls how to think biblically about clothing (specifically about how tight their pants are), but felt like sometimes pants of vocalists were tighter than he’d encourage his daughters to wear. Another couple said that the tightness of clothing was sometimes tempting for the husband during corporate worship.
I don’t believe that any of you are intentionally trying to cause temptation or distraction. And I don’t think that these comments represent everyone. But they’re a healthy reminder that we need to be aware and alert about making our clothing choices wisely.
My wife mentioned to me that it seemed like women in general are often conscious of how much skin is showing (neck lines, skirt length, etc.) but may not always be as conscious that things being really tight-fitting can be just as much a temptation for guys as actual skin showing. I thought was a helpful distinction, and as a guy, would agree.
As a whole church, we don’t enforce a dress code or talk about specifics often, because we want to direct ladies primarily toward the heart issues rather than a specific application. As a worship team, though, we do need to get more specific, because what we do is seen by the entire church and serves as a model, whether we intend it to or not.
Our goal in clothing is pretty simple: don’t tempt others, but instead do what is beautiful, simple, and will help us point others toward the beauty and greatness of God. Peter speaks to wives in this way: “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4). He’s not saying we shouldn’t look nice. If we look bad, that’s not helpful, either! Instead, we want to dress in a way that communicates that it’s not all about how we look, that we care about what helps or hurts others, and that lets people join us wholeheartedly when we sing to them about following Jesus.
So this email is just to stir you up again by way of reminder, to be vigilant and alert about what you choose to wear on Sundays. Sometimes what’s in style is tempting for others, and as trends change from year to year, we just want to continue to be thinking critically about what might not serve others. It’s not an easy job!
I don’t want anyone to feel condemned. I’m not assuming anyone has had wrong motives. But if you’re experiencing any Spirit-induced conviction, confess your wrong, bring it to the cross, and remind yourself of our perfect Savior who was sacrificed for your sin! As we think about the topic of modesty, we want the effect to be repentance (if needed) but then primarily a joy and faith to do what will serve others and help build the church.
If you have any thoughts or response, please feel free to contact my wife or speak to another woman you respect on the team. Let’s seek to ask questions humbly of others that are close to us (either a spouse, or another female friend who is honest and wise about these things).
I’m grateful to God for you all. May he continue to confirm, strengthen, and establish you as you continue to grow into all that the gospel of Jesus means for us!”