Family Series 17 B – How do you address modesty (in Church)?

A very sobering post that we can all learn from, not just folks who sing on the worship team, but all of us, professing Christians, who enter the House of God for the weekly services.

Posted by Bob Kauflin who serves as a pastor and worship leader at Covenant Life Church and directs worship and music development for Sovereign Grace Ministries, Pastored by C.J.Mahaney. From his blog Worship Matters.

How Do You Address Modesty?

imagesOne of the topics in the church that leaders rarely address is modesty. It’s awkward. You can be accused of legalism. People can be offended. It can seem politically incorrect.

But that doesn’t mean it should never be addressed, nor that there’s not a gracious way to do it. Ideally, those who participate in a public platform on Sundays should be aware that people learn not only from what they say but what they wear. (I did another post on what we wear when we worship here.)

Certain things are clear. We aren’t to treat people differently based on what people wear (James 2:1-5). That means we don’t look down self-righteously at those who dress differently than we do. Both men and women are to dress modestly, preferring others over themselves (Phil. 2:3-4). We aren’t to do anything that would make someone else stumble (Rom. 15:1-2). Specifically, women should wear “respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control” (1 Tim. 2:9).

A wise leader spells out expectations up front, before someone ever joins a music team. But over time, we can drift. Little by little people start to wear things that raise questions or distract others.

Not too long ago, a leader sent me an email he had sent to his team about this issue. I thought it was a great example of clear, gracious, and biblical leadership. Here’s what he said (slightly edited). Feel free to use it to start conversations on your own team.

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!

Some videos of Bob Kauflin discussing Music Worship in the Church.


Music – gift or God?

Here’s an interesting article from the Worship Matters website, if you sing or are in a worship group this website has great resources for you. This article is written by Bob Kauflin:

Back in November I had the privilege of speaking at the Christian Musician Summit in Seattle, WA. In one of the main sessions, I spoke on the topic of Music:  Gift or God? and mentioned that I’d post my notes on my blog. I had forgotten until someone emailed me the other day asking for them. So here’s what I shared…

Music is a very good gift. The 13,000 songs on my iTunes are testimony to that. My eyes have often welled up in tears as I’ve been affected by a lyric, a chord progression, or a musical texture. I’ve thanked God for the gift of music more times than I can remember.

Whenever I think about my love for music, I’m reminded of what Martin Luther said in a Foreword to a 1538 collection of chorale motets:

“I, Doctor Martin Luther, wish all lovers of the unshackled art of music grace and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ! I truly desire that all Christians would love and regard as worthy the lovely gift of music, which is a precious, worthy, and costly treasure given to mankind by God… A person who gives this some thought and yet does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.”

While we may not want to emulate Luther’s attitude, most of us will readily agree that music is a gift from God.

And that’s the problem. Scripture tells us that gifts can often become gods. Good things can become idols.

In Numbers 21, the Israelites grumbled against God and it resulted in him sending poisonous serpents. When they confessed their sin and repented, God had Moses cast a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. Anyone who looked at the serpent would live. It was a good gift. But later on in 2Kings 18 we read that Israel had been making offerings to the serpent, and even gave it a name – Nehushtan.

Good gifts can become gods.

Music turns from a gift to a god when we look to it for the joy, comfort, power & satisfaction only God can give. Here are 5 indicators that might be happening.

1. We choose to attend a church or a meeting based on the music rather than the preaching of the gospel and God’s word.
Nowhere in the Bible are we told that the church is to gather around music. We gather around the crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ. We gather to hear God’s Word in the Spirit’s power. Eph. 2:13-14 says the blood of Christ unites us, not music.

2. We can’t worship in song apart from a particular song, style, leader, or sound.
Anytime I say, I can’t worship unless X happens, or X is present, unless X is the death of our Savior on the cross for our sins or the power of his Spirit, we are engaging in idolatry. At that moment, X is more important to us than God’s command to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength. That doesn’t mean that there are no bad songs, lousy leaders, or inappropriate styles. But being discerning is different from being unable to worship God at all.

3. We think music leads us into or brings God’s presence.
Here’s what music can do. It can affect us emotionally. Create a mood. Soften our hearts so that we listen more intently. Help us hear words differently. Distract us from what’s going on. Help us focus on what’s going on. Help us remember words. And more.

Here’s what music can’t do. Make God more present. Bring God’s presence down. Bring us into God’s presence. Manipulate God. (Heb. 10:19-22; 1 Tim. 2:5).  There is only one mediator, and it’s not a song, style, leader, or sound. It’s Jesus Christ.

4. Poor musical performance leads us to sin against other band members or the musicians leading us.
We’re hardly representing God’s heart when we get angry, frustrated, or impatient with musicians who don’t play up to our standards. God’s standards are perfection, and they’ve been met in Jesus Christ who lived a perfect life in our place and died as our substitute, enduring the wrath of God in our place. ALL our offerings, no matter how well or poorly offered, are perfected through the once and for all offering of the Savior. We can strive for excellence to serve others, while extending to others the same grace we’ve received.

5. A love for music has replaced a love for the things of God.
It’s possible to listen to music that’s destroying your soul and be completely dull to it. To become enslaved by an idol and you feel like you’re breaking free. In his confessions, Augustine said “For he loves thee too little who loves along with thee anything else that he does not love for thy sake.” I have no doubt we love music. But do we love music for God’s sake or for ours?

To sum up:
Music is useful, but not necessary.
Music is good. But Jesus is better.
Music is a gift, but not a god.
Music isn’t my life. Christ is.

The gifts of God are meant to deepen our relationship with God and create fresh affection for him. Not replace him.

May we enjoy and make music to the fullest of our abilities, all for the glory of the one who gave it to us to enjoy in the first place.

You can download a more expanded copy of my notes here.

To read more of this  article click here at Worship Matters website.

Related articles De ce sint(em) Penticostalii asa galagiosi?

and Why does God want us to sing?

De ce sint (em) Penticostalii asa de galagiosi?

Trebuie sa admit ca imi place stilul cintarii postata mai jos. Sper ca sintem galagiosi pentru ca sintem multumitori si ii datoram mult, foarte mult Dumnezeului nostru care si-a dat Fiul Sau pentru noi. La urma urmei, Dumnezeu cunoaste intentia si  inima omului.

L-am auzit pe Bob Kauflin (autorul cartii „Worship Matters’ zicind  ca in Psalmul 47, Dumnezeu ne comanda ca sa il laudam prin cintare si ne spune sa ne invatam si sa ne sfatuim prin cintari, cintind cu multumire in inima noastra.

Psalmi 47

1(Către mai marele cîntăreţilor. Un psalm făcut de fiii lui Core.) Bateţi din palme, toate popoarele! Înălţaţi lui Dumnezeu strigăte de bucurie!

2Căci Domnul, Cel Prea Înalt, este înfricoşat: El este Împărat mare peste tot pămîntul.3El ne supune popoarele, El pune neamurile supt picioarele noastre.  4El ne alege moştenirea, slava lui Iacov, pe care -l iubeşte. –

5Dumnezeu Se suie în mijlocul strigătelor de biruinţă, Domnul înaintează în sunetul trîmbiţei.

6Cîntaţi lui Dumnezeu, cîntaţi! Cîntaţi Împăratului nostru, cîntaţi! 7Căci Dumnezeu este împărat peste tot pămîntul: cîntaţi o cîntare înţeleaptă!

8Dumnezeu împărăţeşte peste neamuri, Dumnezeu şade pe scaunul Lui de domnie cel sfînt. 9Domnitorii popoarelor se adună împreună cu poporul Dumnezeului lui Avraam; căci ale lui Dumnezeu sînt scuturile pămîntului: El este mai înalt şi mai pe sus de orice.

Si in Coloseni 3:16

16Cuvîntul lui Hristos să locuiască din belşug în voi în toată înţelepciunea. Învăţaţi-vă şi sfătuiţi-vă unii pe alţii cu psalmi, cu cîntări de laudă şi cu cîntări duhovniceşti, cîntînd lui Dumnezeu cu mulţămire în inima voastră.

cinta :It’s the greatest feeling- being washed in the blood!

and here’s Bob Kauflin speaking on ‘Encouragement to use our bodies in worship’



Why does God want us to sing?

Bob Kauflin (author of ‘Worship Matters’) first talks about Motivating the Church to Worship God;

then he explains why God wants us to sing:

here’s additional  short clips that are worthwhile, they are a Biblical theology on music. First an intro by Piper, the rest are Bob Kauflin’s.

Piper- The Lord’s triple command to sing, sing, sing

Does God sing?

The human voice in congregational music

Why does God want us to sing?

Truth and worship and The importance of singing truth (about the music style wars)

Kauflin on the (in)effectiveness of some tunes (gives funny examples of what some songs would sound like)

Style of music

Why Christians sing

Is music without words a language?

Encouragement to use our bodies in worship

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