An Oregon church drew flak after it posted guidelines for worship team applicants on its website.
New Creation Church in Hillsboro said one of the requirements for those who want to join the worship team is they should have “no excessive weight.”
“Weight is something that many people have to deal with. Make sure that you are taking care of your temple, exercising and eating properly,” the guidelines read. The post has since been deleted on the church’s website, but a copy of the document can be accessed online.
The guidelines also include general instructions for proper hygiene, such as keeping hair properly washed and groomed and not styled in such a way that it would draw “undue attention.” The applicants were also reminded to keep themselves clean and to use an “effective deodorant.”
People look up to music ministers, the guidelines said, so their lives “must exemplify one of excellence in all areas.”
“We want the worship team to look the best they can! Remember that the way we look is of utmost importance,” the document said. “We are the first thing the congregation sees. People do judge by appearance. … Please be sure that your style and clothing bring honor and glory to God, isn’t excessive and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself.”
A copy of the document was shared on Facebook by the page Stuff Christian Culture Likes, an online community for “people who have been harmed by Christian culture.” The page posts evangelical trends and then deconstructs them to help people see that such ideas “can be challenged safely.”
“Are these worship team guidelines or Abercrombie & Fitch’s employee dress code?” the page wrote, referring to New Creation Church’s recommended dress code for its worship team. The church specified smart casual attire, no clashing colors, dresses or skirts below the knee and no tight, revealing or sleeveless blouses.
Pastor Rebecca Sundholm of New Creation Church was “dumbfounded” that the guidelines have become an issue. She explained they were not new and had been online for a long time.
“What's funny is this has nothing to do with anybody else but our church,” Sundholm told Oregon Live. “If anybody looked at our worship team, they would see they aren't all skinny. In fact, the worship leader has weight issues.”
She said the guidelines were prepared by the worship leader years ago and are no longer being enforced.
"We have standards just like anybody would have standards in a business,” Sundholm said. “Don't come to church with wet hair; if you wear make-up, put it on. It's not negative."