I was at a large Christian event a few weeks ago. I was doing a little bit of people watching as the crowd slowly trickled in for the kick off session. There were these guys that came in to the conference room that looked so cool. I thought they must be in one of the bands. All around the same age, all wearing similar brands of clothing, and all spent a ton of time on their hair. I didn’t think much about them after that encounter until the session started. Those three guys were the main stage speakers!
As I went through the convention and watched each speaker I remember thinking all of these people are so cool. All of them look like the best of the best. One of the coolest looking guys was old enough to order the senior coffee at McDonalds! As I heard some of the chatter from other attenders, I knew people were noticing how cool the speakers were.
As I have visited churches – both traditional and contemporary – I think there is a tendency that the best looking and coolest people are on the main stage/pulpit. In fact as we have looked at many different church websites, my wife and I have noticed how cool each staff looks. I’ve left several going, I don’t think I’m attractive enough to be on their staff!
Could we be sending an unintentional terrible message to our students? I believe the majority of our students see that only the cool and beautiful people can be used by God. They see the athletic, young person with sweet hair, and skinny jeans speaking and think “I wish that was me. That’s who God uses.”
Now there is nothing wrong with being cool or athletic. There is nothing wrong with buying great clothing or spending a large amount of time on your hair. However, there is something very wrong if that is the only type of person your students and young adults see teaching and leading. Because that isn’t represented of most people. It could even hurt students struggling with their physical appearance. It also isn’t biblical.
Moses was an absolute mess. He argued with God because of his insecurities.
Paul – wrote many books in the New Testament and was a huge influencer. Christian tradition is that he was an ugly guy with some major health problems. From what I’ve heard about Paul, I think we wouldn’t allow him on many of our main stages.
In the 1970s, the strategy for student ministry was to reach the Quarterback and the head cheerleader. If you got the most athletic and prettiest people, you’d reach everyone else. Hopefully we’ve repented of that type of strategy…..we recognize that wasn’t a healthy, biblical strategy right???
Again nothing wrong with pretty people on stage. Let’s just make sure that students and adults see more than JUST cool, athletic people on that main stage. God uses all kinds of people for his purpose. I want leaders who love Jesus and want to make a difference in the world even if they don’t have perfect hair.