Does it matter how the Praise Team members are dressed? Does their outward appearance matter?
I believe that appearance matters. Here’s why.
The purpose of the PT is to lead others in worship. The goal of the PT is to direct the attention of the people of God Godward. So, if this is the desire of the PT, they will try to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. Of course there will always be some attention on the PT. After all, they are there on the stage, visible for all to see.
When it comes to appearance, what would be considered an unnecessary distraction? This would depend largely on what is considered appropriate in a given location. For example, if, in a certain church culture, short hair for men is considered appropriate for worshipers, long hair on a man could prove a distraction. In an environment where women wearing pants is considered inappropriate, this would be a distraction.
In the word of God, women are urged to dress modestly. Therefore, dressing immodestly may not only be a distraction, but also disobedience to the word of God. Standards of “immodesty” will vary from place to place. Immodest dress in women may lead to the men in the meeting being tempted to have sinful thoughts. (Of course men may be tempted to have sinful thoughts in the face of modest dress also. But my point is, that immodest dress may lead to an unnecessary increase in exposure to temptation.) Men are urged by the word of God to “flee temptation”, but how does one flee from a worship service to which one has come to worship God?
It is my belief that men may also dress immodestly. In some congregations, might it not be possible that men, who have turned to Christ from a gay lifestyle, could be tempted unnecessarily by the tight fitting attire of a well-intentioned worship leader? Just a thought.
PT members who’s hearts are right with the Lord will care about how their appearance affects those watching them leading the worship. They do not want to become a distraction to the people of God who are seeking the face of God in worship.
At this point it is necessary to say a word about judgemental attitudes. We know that there are those who love to find fault with just about anything. Critical comments from the people need to be evaluated carefully. Is this a genuine criticism or is the person simply engaging in fault-finding? Also, if someone’s appearance is found to be distracting to a majority of those present, it does not follow that this person deliberately tried to flaunt a certain standard of modesty. Someone may simply have been following the pattern set by someone else. It may all have been done innocently, and without awareness of the impact on others. Correction, or instruction needs to take place with gentleness and in love.
PT members who love the Lord will not want to be “unnecessary distractions” when they lead the worship. They will also consider honestly any criticism that comes their way. They will want to err on the side of caution.The leadership of the church will seek to protect the PT from unfair and unkind criticism by addressing those who engage in it.
May God give wisdom to PT members, and the leadership, to navigate a course that brings the maximum amount of praise to God.