Concerning Modesty in Ministerial Garments

Modesty allows us to be a transparent veil through which

the Glory of God may shine.

     I feel that modesty is a serious and critical issue for praise and worship dancers (while ministering and not).  We operate in an extraordinary liberty in worship, and need to be hidden behind the cross as we minister.  There should be never be a doubt in anyone's mind whether we are promoting Jesus or ourselves.

     Firstly and foremost, we should want to direct attention to the Lord, and not to our bodies. 

     Secondly, we have a very real responsibility not to be a stumbling block to our brothers, whether it is someone that visits our church with an unregenerated heart, or someone among us that struggles to keep his heart right and his mind pure.  As a mother of teenage boys, I've seen first hand how a young man can struggle trying to keep his heart pure and I can say with all my heart, "Ladies, please watch what you wear."

     Finally, as ministers of the Gospel, we don't want to be distracted from His presence by worrying whether we will be exposed if we move "in a certain way." So we have to be sure that our garments cover us in all of our movements, whether leaning over forward, or spinning, or kicking a leg out.

     Proper foundation garments (that keep our female attributes from showing through and moving around) under our ministry garments are absolutely essential.

     Ladies, I would suggest a slightly padded bra (to add a layer for keeping us invisible) with a strong back band for support, with snugly drawn straps (to stop the bounce). The thin-layer, Lycra sports bra is definitely too thin for use in dance ministry.

     A leotard or a torso liner (or a t-shirt) under our garments will also help hide any outlines.  Always make sure that your tops are not too thin or too clingy.  A leotard top only, is not proper modesty for ministry even if you are thin.  (That is not to say that Ballet for Jesus is improper.  Know your audience and your venue.)

    We can naively choose garments that are slightly low in the front, that at first glance show nothing, but when we bend over we allow the viewer to see the hollow between our breasts and the rounds of the tops of our breasts.  Although you might think this should be okay, this is not okay for ministers of the Holy Spirit

    When we choose a garment that fits this way, we are actually drawing attention to our bodies instead of to the Holy Spirit.  Even a seemingly limited view of a woman's chest could easily be a stumbling block to someone.  Why would we want to even be borderline on this?  Surely, we should keep our necklines high enough that there would never even be a question as to whether the garment is alright to wear, or whether we are glorifying our bodies or God.  We don't have to clothe ourselves in a way that draws attention to us, when we have already been clothed in righteousness.
  
      Proper undergarments under our skirts are also necessary.  Undergarment culottes/palazzos, or petti-pants (loose, elastic waisted pants with elastic at ankles) provide coverage when we twirl or kick, so that our legs do not become distractions as we minister.  It is also advisable to use the undergarment culotte/palazzos under your outer-wear palazzos (especially white palazzos) because they usually are quite translucent.

**Note:  The painting I did of the dancer with the white tranlucent skirt, while depicting the joy of the Lord with art and Ballet, is definitely not proper attire for ministry.  Again, know your audience and your venue.

      Our dedication to modesty is not bondage, but the vehicle which allows us to come boldly before the Throne, offering ourselves as living sacrifices, wholly (and holy), acceptable in His sight.  Proper modesty allows us to minister anywhere.  Modesty allows us to be a transparent veil through which the Glory of God can shine.

When ministering to youth or to inner city venues, make sure your t-shirts are loose and long.  Proper undergarments apply here too; ladies, no bouncing as a distraction.  Make sure your jeans are not poured-on tight.  Guys -- same thing:  long, loose t-shirts and pants that stay up, not riding low on the hips as gang "fashion" dictates.
    
      Another aspect of modesty is not calling attention to our individual personalities.  Some of us have more flamboyant personalities than others and naturally prefer brighter, flashier hair, clothes and jewelry.  Just remember that we come together in the beauty of holiness and humility.  As we have heard many times, ministering in dance "is not about us."  We also must have grace with one another as we all are maturing and while we seek to be as one (in the Lord) when we minister as a group. 

      I believe hairstyles generally should be simple, and for most group ministry, pulled away from the face securely, with simple or no adornment, as designated by your leader, (but still without being gaudy or drawing undue attention to ourselves.  Again, know your audience and your venue.  Ministry to youth or inner city, your hair may need to be more natural.  The point is not to be a distraction from the Holy Spirit.  

You know, how you wear your hair for ministry is a personal choice.  Again, we are not locked into bondage, but do ask the Lord what He wants and be aware of whether or not your hair will be a distraction.  

In solo ministry, we should again seek the Lord as to what is appropriate for conveying the particular ministry dance to the people.  There are occassions when unrestrained hair may give the viewer the feeling that the dancer wishes to convey.  However, we should be very careful, because it doesn't take a whole lot for the devil to use something even as simple as free flowing hair, as a distraction -- and then we are not as effective as we would have been.

     I feel jewelry should be kept to zero or a bare minimum.  Some feel that we need never take off our wedding rings, and that small earrings are okay.  Others feel that any jewelry only detracts and distracts from God’s purpose in our dance.  Many African cultures will not listen to you, if you come in with flashy jewelry.  Follow your leader in this, as they follow the "House" and the Lord.  If you minister by yourself, seek the Lord for His counsel on this decision.

     I believe that nail polish should be clear or very soft.  Distraction can come in many forms.  The adornment of our hands and nails should not be the focus, or become a distraction.

     Since we are a royal priesthood and ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we should also keep in mind that what we wear while we are not ministering also greatly reflects back on God and our church. 

     As anointed women of God, seeking to give Him glory, I believe it is not wise to show our cleavage while in public.  If you are flashing your God-given curves, who are you asking attention from?  This is a hard one for some.  Many have grown up to believe that it is natural to show cleavage.  There is a time and a place to dress a little more alluring, but realize, the world is watching you.  Your choices speak clearly to them.  Tops that are thin material, or very low are certainly about showing off the individual and not about showing off God. 

     We speak volumes by what we wear.  We need to stop and think before we buy all of our apparel.  Are we prophets that wear clothing as a living demonstration of the prophetic, such as Haggai's life was?  Do we walk the prophetic life on a daily basis as a lifestyle?

     Women of God, we need to be training our daughters from a very young age to understand God's heart about modesty because this world is vying for them at every turn and drawing them away with every television commercial and magazine.  Please don't let them, even at a young age, show too much skin. What may be alright to see on a child doesn't translate well when that young lady is maturing.  We are better off teaching the proper mindset to our daughters from the beginning.

     Everything about secular society says that showing volumes of skin is "okay" and as Christians we have become desensitized.  We need to wake up!  We can be beautiful and in style without looking just like the world.

Copyright Jeanine Lynch, owner Judah Dancewear

There should be never be a doubt in anyone's mind whether we are promoting Jesus or ourselves.

 

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
Psalm 29:2b

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1

...and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:3

 

Women of God, we need to be training our daughters from a very young age to understand God's heart about modesty because this world is vying for them at every turn and drawing them away with every television commercial and magazine.  

Please don't let them, even at a young age, show too much skin.  What may be alright to see on a child, doesn't translate well when that young lady is maturing

We are better off teaching the proper mindset to our daughters from the beginning.


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