STOP DOING DUMB THINGS, PART I

You know why people make fun of worship leaders?

Because we deserve it.

Say what you want to about “celebrity pastors” who give the church a bad name, but I think it’s the worship leaders who make us all look silly.

I can’t be silent anymore. It’s time to speak out about the things worship leaders do that are dumb and should be stopped. You or someone you know suffers from “doing dumb worship leader things”. Please take this information to heart. It should also be stated that this post is for male worship leaders. While I know many women who lead worship, I don’t know any who actually read this blog or listen to the podcast. (Plus, female worship leaders don’t do as much stupid stuff as we do.)

I hate to start with something so obvious, but I think we all agree this tops the list of dumb things worship leaders do.

STOP DRESSING LIKE A GIRL

  • Just because something is popular doesn’t mean you should do it. Sure, leading worship in a tapered faux-army jacket is fine, but where does it stop? What if “skirts for men” become a thing? You gonna’ rush to the mall and pick up some of those for next Sunday?
  • I’ve never had a thin frame to flaunt, and I’m guessing there’s some measure of joy in it, but remember this. Age changes things. Those little t-shirts look way different with a gut hanging out.
  • Unless everybody else on stage is also dressed like a sophmore tennis player from an all-girl college, you look really ridiculous next to the 46-year old guitar player in Levi’s and an untucked golf shirt. Sure, it makes you more prominent, but do we really need THAT?
  • Don’t get me wrong, layers are really neat, but you can’t possibly be comfortable up there in front of the lights with that much stuff on. I mean, do we ever really need a knit cap on stage during worship?
  • There’s no way to dress like “everyman”, but why not aim for the middle a bit? Dressing like Zooey Deschanel alienates everybody dude.

(Other dumb things…)

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14 comments

  1. Johnny Simmons

    When I play the kind of gigs you do, I always wear simple, black clothing. Why? It’s a “contemporary cassock.” No one should be looking at me in the first place; but if they do, I want NOTHING to catch their eye/attention. It’s why I HATE IMAG. Don’t watch me.

    At my home Church, I wear a REAL cassock. Laying aside all the other symbolism for a moment, choir dress is designed specifically to make clothing a non-issue.

    There has to be a way leaders can accomplish the same goal in clothing that allows them to play their instruments.

    • toddwright

      I’ve actually adopted your black “contemp cassock” as well for Sundays over the past few months, Johnny.

  2. Adam Johnson

    Worship leaders are generally the artistic, creative types (myself included). asking them to “dress like everyone else” isn’t going to happen.

    I’m not 100% sure what this post is intended to do, it’s definitely not a positive push or challenge, it seems like a negative judgment of all worship leaders, if you want worship leaders to stop “dressing like girls” what would your worship leader “dress code” be that would fix this “problem”?

    • toddwright

      Thanks for the comment, Adam. I actually wrote it as fun, silly post. I’m surprised it’s been linked around as much as it has!

      I’m very intrigued by your comment that asking worship leaders to dress like everyone else “isn’t going to happen.”

      If you’ve got a minute or two, I’d love to find out what you mean by that? I’m intrigued that you would think that would be something impossible for worship leaders to do. I’m interested to hear your take.

      Thanks again for stopping by the blog.

      • Adam Johnson

        well that makes more sense as a silly post, sorry I missed the context.

        what I meant by my comment was that ( I can’t speak for everyone) as an artistic person, the clothes I wear and the way I look is an extension of my creativity. I wouldn’t consider myself to wear girl clothes or anything extreme, but I usually don’t wear “the norm” (which there is nothing wrong with).

        I agree that we should minimize distractions and now that I know the post was more for fun than anything else the examples in the post don’t seem as extreme.

        I agree not to dress a certain way to be a “cool” worship leader, but i don’t think that individual style should be muted.

        with the new context in mind this post is quite humorous 🙂

  3. ross

    Great post, Todd. I know you’re mainly just being funny, but I think this is dead-on. Of course we can’t judge people’s hearts by their clothing, but there’s just something a little suspicious about the fact that we look more like rock stars than we do like “regular people.” and of course that last sentence is going to provoke someone to say “who are regular people and what do they look like?” I just mainly mean that it’s hard to imagine Jesus dressing like a rock star. Either way, thanks for the honesty.

  4. Adam

    True Johnny. What we wear really does reflect what we think we’re doing and it really does reflect what we say about ourselves. It shows who we are, who we think we are, and how we want others to see us.

    Though I can understand what this post is about, if we were really honest, should it matter what people wear outside of sexually enticing clothes? (of course this would need to be defined)

    Maybe instead, we need to keep accountability and openness with one another as to why we are wearing what we do each week. The man wearing “women’s clothes”, another wearing all black, and the man wearing jeans and an untucked polo could all equally be prideful and in sin because of the attitude that comes with their motivation for wearing what they are. “The stage” has a habit of building that up within us.

    It’s not about judging one another, but caring about each other and what God cares so much about (the heart). We’re all human, so we are all going to do things from pride at different times. But being open with each other and honest with what we’re thinking helps keep us humble and “up front” with ourselves about why we do what we want to do. We’re here to support one another towards Godliness.

  5. ross

    This is good, healthy dialogue, and I think everyone is being really gracious so far. My thoughts here are meant to continue in that spirit. This post was fun and light, and I’d love to keep the comments fun and light as well. So that’s my intent as I think this thru and give my two cents…

    I agree with the sentiment that Adam seems to be aiming at. We need to be careful not to judge exteriors unless we’re prepared to judge them across the board, no matter what fashion sensibilities are represented. Vanity is vanity, whether or not someone is “in style.”

    But I think if we stop there, we’re kind of missing the particular point that — I think — Todd is making. To be fair, I don’t see a lot of famous worship leaders wearing “jeans and an untucked polo” (or the comparable sort of thing that Adam was probalby trying to allude to). I think Todd agrees with Adam and that’s actually *why* he wrote what he wrote (and again, he was being funny). He wants accountability as much as the next guy, I think.

    But I won’t try to speak for Todd. I’ll just give my own take. I see a trend of lots of worship leaders starting to dress in a particular way, and that particular way happens to look a lot like the way famous rock musicians and celebrities dress. Is it a little effeminate, traditionally speaking? Maybe so, but that’s where I think Todd was just being funny. That’s subjective and doesn’t ultimately matter. If rock musicians and celebrities starting wearing muscle shirts and clown makeup, and worship leaders started doing it too, the point would be just as relevant. We’d be taking our cues from them.

    And this is what I think Todd was addressing. (or even if he wasn’t, it’s what I’m hearing in his post). It’s a Romans 12 problem. We worship leaders are starting to conform pretty seriously to the fashion patterns of this world. Can’t we just be honest and say that we’re all a little surprised when we see someone in a successful worship band who *doesn’t* dress like Chris Martin or Bon Iver or Bono or Ashton Kutcher (etc, etc)? And if that’s true, isn’t that a little odd? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth noting. Any time we start to look like the world in a broad, consistent manner, that’s worth noting. maybe it just means we’re getting better at being “like the Jews to save the Jews… like the weak to save the weak… all things to all men.” Or maybe it means we’re being conformed to the world. But it’s our job — and a sober one — to do the work to figure it out.

    Whether or not Todd was effective or appropriate in doing that, I appreciated the humor and the thought-provoking. and I appreciate the dialogue that has followed.

    Listen, ultimately clothes don’t matter. But the amount of thought and money and time we invest to try to look a certain way does matter. And copying the world does matter. And reaching the world — maybe by doing some righteous copying — does matter. Where all this comes together is the mystery. thanks for being nice, everyone. I hope I’ve kept that ethic in my thoughts here.

  6. brittonwesson

    Dress according to the crowd you are leading for. I can, at my church, typically get away with jeans, untucked pearl snap shirt and Chucks. However, depending on the crowd will determine jeans vs. khakis. Nice brown shoes vs. Chucks. I never wear sandals or shorts when I lead. Ever. Clothes don’t matter in the long run, but, they do. Some crowds will not respond based on how the WL is dressed.

  7. Pingback: STOP DOING DUMB THINGS, PART 2 « toddwright
  8. Pingback: STOP DOING DUMB THINGS, PART 3 « toddwright

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