We live in a consumeristic world. I realize most Pastors and ministry leaders don’t like this reality. So we have two choices: change the world or adopt the reality (without sinning).
Transparency moment: I’ve had agents representing me for 30+ years as I’ve walked fashion runways, acted in movies, appeared in TV ads, and sold products in magazines. Sure, you probably know me more for church communications though. But the 2 worlds where I work are complementary.
Here are 4 things I’ve learned from being a model (and why it matters to a Ministry Leader):
- There’s an acceptable, appealing look for most demographics: I think we all realize that fashion is fickle and ever-changing. For the most part, if we want to be a convincing, engaging person, we must (to some degree) fall within this look. Most churches today have a disparity between the average congregational age and the community’s. We must do whatever possible to look and act like the younger group — if we want to attract younger people. RULE OF THUMB: wear only clothes that can be currently purchased today. Be aware of the trends for the demographic group you’re trying to reach and (age-appropriately) wear it. This is not sinful (unless you make it an idol).
- The marketing industry knows it’s critical to represent current trends. Marketing is about taking a beneficial product to a needy market. Doesn’t that sound like evangelism? Secular marketing understands the critical concept that they must window-dress for that audience so they feel understood by the brand. So they must commit to the rollercoaster ride of trend. Church leaders shouldn’t be too trendy, but instead fall within trend parameters (without compromising your position as a Christ-Follower).
- If your look appears to be current, your message will feel relevant. This is the crux of the discussion. Be all things to all people so that we can lead some to Christ. And that relevant message will be accepted better and faster if it comes from someone who appears to be relevant.
- Every detail matters. I think everyone would be amazed at how much time is required to make sure every detail is looked after, to get it right for a photoshoot or video shoot. There are wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, hairstylists, set designers, prop artists, art directors, and creative directors. Each person is paid as a professional and you’d probably be shocked how much is invested in order to capture a marketing moment in time. But secular marketing and communication fully understands how important EVERY detail is. Why? Because everyone is amazed how many focus on unimportant things that detract from accepting the important message.
Sure it sounds vain but why would you risk anything keeping you from presenting God’s Word to a needy (and admittedly uninterested) world that needs to engage with you. Look sharp, look appropriate, look relevant, look like your audience; and more people will listen.