A church in Oregon is getting new attention over an old rule appearing to discourage overweight people from participating on their worship team.
New Creation Church has long held a list of mandatory rules for their worship team, including requiring members to take care of their bodies.
The rule reads: “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 old requirement, however, received a lot of negative attention recently after it was posted on the Facebook page Stuff Christian Culture Likes late last month.
“Uh, yeah, no, I would not be on this worship team,” one person posted. Another said, “No excessive weight???? So as a woman of size for my whole life, I can’t be a worship team member… really?”
Not only does the church urge members on watching their weight, they also place high importance on appearance.
“We want the worship team to look the best they can! Remember that the way we look is of utmost importance. We are the first thing the congregation sees. People do judge by appearance. We never get a second chance to make that first impression. 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,” the church policy states.
The church also demands worship team members fully agree with therules.
“Since you are interested in this area of ministry we want you to be encouraged and know that our desire is to see you fulfill all God has called you to do and be. As a part of the worship team, we have specific guidelines that we have established for our team to work together and to be the best we can be. Please read this carefully. You must be in 100% agreement for you to flow with our team and in order for the anointing to flow through you,” the worship requirement states.
Pastor Rebecca Sundholm, who heads the church with her husband Rod Sundholm, said the guidelines have been on their website for a long time. She said she’s “dumbfounded” by the recent controversy, adding that the rules are no longer enforced.
The church took down the guidelines from their website after the social media firestorm.
Sundholm also said those who commented on the Facebook post don’t understand her church.
“What’s funny is this has nothing to do with anybody else but our church,” Sundholm said. “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. “It’s ridiculous really. It’s just so taken out of context.”