Worship Notes

"What's the Big Deal
About the Dress Code?!?"

I am very excited to be able to share with you this week because I have had just about the best week of my life!  Louise gave birth to our daughter on Monday, August 28th 2000 at 10:33 am.  She is our first child.  Her name is Jessica Lauren Jarvis and weighed in at 7 lbs 15 oz, was 21 inches long, has my eyes and is absolutely beautiful!  But that's just the beginning.  I released my first CD, "Praise Him Anyway!" on Friday, September 1st with a debut concert at our church which was a huge success!  What an awesome night!  I keep telling everyone that it was "just another week...have a baby...release a CD...no big deal!"  Of course I was kidding...

I belong to a couple of internet newsgroups that discuss various issues of music ministry.  Recently we had an issue come up in the newsgroup that was so controversial that the list owner had to put a stop to the subject.  Honestly, I don't know why people can't just get along.  But this issue is one that comes up frequently in Music Ministry.  Of course the issue I'm talking about is...The Dress Code.

There are some churches that are very "loose" in what they consider to be appropriate to wear.  And there are churches that are flat out legalistic in what they consider to be appropriate, some even saying that a person's salvation could be dependant on what they wear.  Some churches or religions are known more for what they wear (or don't wear) than for what they actually consider to be their doctrine. 

To be totally honest with you, I don't think God cares one bit what you wear to church, so long as you are not causing your brother to stumble.  The question then becomes, "What causes my brother to stumble?"  All I want to say is this.  It's just as much your responsibility to keep him from stumbling as it is his responsibility to keep himself from stumbling.

My only concern when it comes to dress code is in regards to ministers, not parishioners.  The Bible says (paraphrased), "Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart."  Most people interpret that Scripture to mean that it doesn't matter what they wear because God is only concerned with their heart.  But they have skipped the portion that says that "Man looks on the outward appearance".  We are there to minister to man as much as God.  And if man looks on the outward appearance, then we should present ourselves in a way that will be well received by those in the congregation.

I believe that a well-dressed praise and worship team will bring an aura of professionalism and excellence that will make them well received.  Jesus Himself could do no great thing in Nazareth simply because they wouldn't receive Him.  It wasn't that He wasn't anointed or gifted.  They just didn't respect Him.  Dress your team in a way that will engender respect from your congregation.  It's amazing how different dress can bring different results.  I've seen it happen.

There's an old saying that says, "Dress for success".  Remember that everything you do as a minister will have either a positive or negative effect on your congregation.  I tell my team to look their best on Sunday morning if for no other reason than the fact that man looks on the outward appearance.  I've even used color codes so that we look a little more unified.  Yeah, it's not a very spiritual subject.  No, your salvation is not dependant on it.  Yeah, it's petty.  But if it helps your ministry, isn't it worth it?