FASHION ON THE PLATFORM
Well… There’s a lot to say about this, so… Brace yourself. 😳
I get SO MANY questions about fashion on the platform. Some people want to know what is considered appropriate to wear for their own personal benefit and others just want to understand why my personal choice in attire (flowing shirts and flats, for the most part) is the way it is.
So, I’ve agreed to share my thoughts with you guys, but this isn’t for you to go telling people that they need to change clothes. Each person has their own convictions and while I’ve agreed to list mine, here below… Others may not have the same conviction.
The only common ground that the Holy Spirit will speak to us all in is the Word of God. People interpret those words differently, but that, my friend, is not up to me… 👀
The ultimate goal for ANY one who steps foot on a platform representing Jesus Christ is to do just that: represent Jesus Christ. ☝🏾️ Whether you are the MC (Minister of Ceremony), the Praise & Worship Leader, the Pastor, Preacher, Teacher, Usher, Greeter, or any other title that requires you to stand in front of a body of people with the purpose of representing Jesus, it is your duty to be a good representation of Him.
While the Bible does not list specific do’s and don’t’s on “what not to wear during ministry, many different denominations have created strict boundaries for their leaders in hopes to eliminate the arguments... and I kind of don't blame them anymore.
I grew up in the grand ole Church of God In Christ. Women wearing pants, jeans, bold hair, makeup, and nail colors was STRONGLY prohibited for services and any other functions. Now a days, they’re a little more lenient when it comes to hair, makeup, and nails because well, the times have changed. However, to this day, ANY time I visit a COGIC occasion, I wear a dress or skirt in hopes not to offend anyone.
CAN’T WE COME AS WE ARE?
Growing up this way had always caused me to wonder WHY in the world my physical appearance was such a big deal?! “I thought the Bible says, “Come as you are.” right? Well, I came in jeans. And just because I sing in the choir doesn’t mean I have to dress like the Missionaries, does it?…”
Well, first of all, I found that “Come as you are” isn’t even the Bible. 😒 People say it because as the scriptures show how Jesus pursues us, it’s implied that He wants us to respond to His invitation while we are still in the state that we’re in. Then, allow Him to do the work from the inside out instead of trying to “get ourselves together” before we come to Him. There is a growth process in which the same things you used to do (or wear or say) will change once Jesus becomes Lord of your life and that’s called “Progressive Sanctification”.
But also, there is a totally different standard for those who have been walking with Lord for a while vs. the ones who are responding to His invitation for the first time…
Anyway, that STILL didn’t answer why I couldn’t wear pants on the platform! “I’m singing about Jesus, I’m talking about Jesus! WHAT does that have to do with my clothes?!” 😤
Well… Everything, my friend. God is a Holy God and we must present ourselves before Him in a Holy way.
There are a couple of different ways I’d like to approach this answer from. This is the first:
THE WORD SAYS...
1 Corinthians 8:9 says “But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.”
This passage is basically saying (using my previous example) that if you know a ministry that does not agree with wearing pants on the platform and you go right in front of them wearing pants on the platform, YOU have become a stumbling block to them. Like I explained earlier… Since I know my COGIC family will disapprove, I refrain from wearing pants around them.
Yet again, this still hasn’t explained WHY it’s even frowned upon to wear pants on the platform in the first place.
WELL, HERE’S WHAT I THINK
I believe that what we SHOULD wear on the platform is determined on a case by case basis. The BOTTOM LINE when ministering is to completely disappear and let the glory of God shine through you.
Jesus is the GREATEST example of how to be a leader on a platform. With every miracle He performed, He made SURE to point back all the attention to God who deserved the credit for operating through Him.
Matthew 5:16 says this: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”
Even though Jesus’ name was made famous and people would run to Him for miracles... (Even though people tell you that you're a great leader and people always call you to come sing and preach, etc....) Jesus steadily pointed them back to His Father in Heaven.
It is SO important to remember that we are not the central focus. How good we think we sound or speak is not the central focus. What we’re wearing is not the central focus. The glory of God is.
But what we wear DOES play a huge part because certain things can easily become a distraction from that focus…
Now, humans are well... human. We sometimes are just not able to zoom in on God when there are things going on around us, especially during a church service. 👀 You have people up, walking back and forth to the bathroom, babies crying and spilling crumbs all under the pews, children horse-playing around, laughing loud and mommies trying to shush them and of course your text messages are coming in hot while the preacher is trying to get a point across… 🙄 I mean, it’s just a lot going on. So, we already have to fight for focus as it is. Some churches have separate services for everyone by age, but when I was growing up, this is what it was… and still is in my hometown church. The ushers had to come round that corner and make you hush or else you would get that eye from your parents and you knew that public embarrassment was sure to follow.
The problem is that more and more things these days are stealing the attention away from the glory of God.
I could really go on and on about this, but the bottom line is that what you're wearing on a platform representing Jesus should not contribute to the list of distractions…
SO… HOW TO KNOW WHAT’S OKAY TO WEAR?
There’s really no one-step, two-step formula for right and wrong fashion on the platform… Sorry, to disappoint ya, but it’s just not.
There’s only good judgment and the gift of the Holy Spirit, himself. Which, might I add, is MORE than enough.
I personally choose outfits that are not extensively form-fitting. Likely very colorful, but not overbearing (because I already have purple hair as it is) and flat shoes (mostly) because of the freedom I enjoy having while in worship. I dare not find myself on the floor because I’ve twisted my ankle due to trying to jump around in 6-inch platform heels. Lol. I mean, that would just be a disaster. Lol. I like to wear longer shirts because at my awesome church, Deeper Fellowship in Orlando, FL, we end up on our knees almost more than we are standing. If we’re not on knees, we’re jumping high with lifted hands, so longer shirts, or at LEAST tank tops underneath, make me more comfortable and secure, so that my flesh isn’t showing and I’m not offensive. I even wear a decent amount of makeup, even red lips from time to time, but only because I don't believe those things are an impediment to anyone. I choose to dress modestly and I believe the Lord is pleased with that and can easily operate through me that way.
I am extremely cautious every time I look in the mirror before service because my main focus is to not be a distraction, even down to my 40’ purple braids. I specifically chose this shade of purple, while it could have been much brighter, because it’s dark enough to not distract, but bright enough to express my personal style choice. My personality is fun and bright (in most cases), so I think there is always a TASTEFUL way to convey my personal style without taking away from the glory of God. And it’s the same for you as well!
I mean, how pointless would it be for you to do all this ministering and everyone missed the fact that Jesus walked into the room because of something as simple as how you look that day?
It’s all about the motive of your heart. If you purely just want to be a conduit for the glory of God to flow freely through, then choosing a looser pair of jeans or putting on a tank top so that cleavage isn’t showing, shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for you.
And a pretty good rule of thumb is that if you feel uneasy when looking in the mirror, the Holy Spirit is probably advising you against it. If you have to ask, the answer is probably "no"...
I personally love Pastor Paula White’s “platform fashion”. She faithfully sports her latest 4-6 inch heels on just about every stage! 👠 🙌🏾 And even though, I immediately notice them when she walks up (because well, I just love shoes!), her heels do not restrict her while ministering. She glides around just fine. On top of that, Pastor Paula will teach, preach, prophecy and pray the congregation under a rug within seconds of taking the mic. Therefore, it’s not a hinderance.
So, at the end of the day, all I’m really saying is:
Do you! But in everything you do, wear or say, BE MINDFUL not to take away from the glory of God.
I decided to add a couple of pics here, below... just to demonstrate my point. AGAIN, this is just me, personally. You should do whatever's best for you! Just don't forget the bottom line! 😊
This is my sister, Taylor Poole and I at a hotel in Ghana, I believe. I'm wearing a fitted Peplum top, but counteracting it with loose fitting pants and flats, of course, for freedom. Sometimes, I'll wear skinny jeans with that shirt, but my jeans aren't excessively tight. Taylor is wearing a white tee with a high-low skirt and flats, as well. TOTALLY appropriate for being in worship for 2+ hours.
This is an outfit I wore in Abuja, Nigeria. Notice that even though I'm wearing a form-fitting pencil skirt, it's counteracted by a long, flowing blouse. And of course, flats, again!
This is Taylor, Jose and myself in Abuja, Nigeria ministering with Pastor William McDowell that very same day. Two-hour concert and total freedom to get lost in worship. Perfect. #TJT
So, remember how I was talking about being on my knees at Deeper Fellowship Church? This is one of those times. Since, I knew my t-shirt was only a certain length... The simple fix was a tank top (that you can see pictured, here) underneath. Problem solved.
Lastly, ignore the picture for a sec. Just read the lyrics on the screen...
"Teach us how to live beyond ourselves. Let everything we say and do bring glory to Your name and bless Your heart. God show us how to love like You."
This is one of the verses from one of my favorite songs by Covenant Worship, "More, Holy Spirit" from the "Kingdom" Album.
It's also one of the best ways to describe what I'm trying to say... So, get this song in your life, it will bless you!
Back to the Pic
As you can see, I'm wearing a flowing, loose-fit tank top (yes, on stage). However, normally where it's low cut, a simple gray tank underneath prevented a cleavage offense.
Anyways, I'm landing here as this has been one of my longest blogs, ever. 😩
Don't dress this way because I dress this way. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Then, when He responds... listen to Him. 👀
Lol. Love y'all. Signing off for now! ✌🏾️