Should Fat Worship Leaders Be Banned?


An Oregon church is apparently reconsidering its stance that prohibits fat worship team members from leading worship after its rules were leaked online.

Well, this is an interesting church issue.

An Oregon church apologized for offending people with an apparent ban on fat worship leaders included in “a slew of mandatory guidelines” being used as prerequisites to be part of its worship team, according to The Christian Post. The church said those guidelines are under review and will be changed, the site reported.

The controversy began when The Christian Post published the guidelines last week and they went viral, leading to criticism.

According to the site, the guidelines banned “excessive weight” among worship team members, “along with a number of other typical holiness requirements common to Pentecostal churches, like evidence of speaking in other tongues:”

“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 church warned.

Should fat worship team members be kept off the stage? That’s an interesting question.

The church’s document reportedly explained that the worship team is the first thing visitors see and that the church would not have a second chance to make a first impression. While I can’t argue with the logic of the first impression, I can’t say that I agree that it should be considered proper inside a church to make sucha stance based on fear of being judged. Perhaps the church could remind people once in a while of the wisdom of 1 Samuel 16:7:

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Church visitors will never fully be able to shake the seemingly natural propensity of judging a book by its cover, but given a reminder, they might at least reconsider their notions.

But there’s a bigger question here, I think, that seems to go unaddressed.

If “excessive weight” is such a big problem that the church feels it is justified in using the condition as a legitimate disqualification for would-be worship team members, one can only wonder whether the church is that adamant about the issue to the entire congregation. How often is the subject of physical fitness brought up during the Sunday morning sermon (which follows the worship music performed by svelte worship team members).

I would expect there to be small groups at this church devoted to fitness “boot camps” and healthy eating.

Treating your body as a temple is either important or it isn’t.

I scanned the church’s website, but I didn’t find any fitness-oriented small groups. Ironically, I did find one small group the meets every other Monday titled the “Hebrews and Bakes Small Group.” The description reads:

Guys, join us for an in depth [sic] discussion of NCY services and Bible verses. We’ll be brewing and tasting of different coffees and teas as well as teaching guys how to bake.

How to bake?

How healthy that is depends, of course, on exactly what is being baked. But if it’s something other than skinless chicken or vegetables, I’d have to wonder how they can justify such a group.

Unhealthy is unhealthy.

If you attended a church and saw a fat worship team member on stage, would you be offended? Would you consider not returning because of that?

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.