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#85 Leading worship barefoot

posted by Stephanie Drury


Every so often the worship team likes to go barefoot onstage.


They’re just keepin’ it real.



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Chris

posted June 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm


You know, I'm not sure about this one … my last two churches had rules about this: no open-toed shoes and no bare feet. One church has an easy explanation – the stage is at eye level with people sitting down, and come on, who wants to stare at a guy's hobbit feet?



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Astrid

posted June 8, 2009 at 9:03 pm


we also have a similar rule that really strict on it though.In australia (where I am ) there would be more thongs (the shoes) or ugg boots not common for singers but I remember one guy was given a bit of crap in jest about being the first guy do to pray in his ugg boots



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Alan

posted June 9, 2009 at 6:19 am


I'm a worship team drummer, and find I have better control over the instrument if I don't wear shoes.. It does get a few comments from people that think I'm being weird, but people soon understand it's just a part of my worship. Not ritual, but functional. And there is a place for 'functional' in worship right?But just being barefoot for the sake of it.. hmm maybe has it's place too, I really don't know. Maybe I'm just used to the idea, far too biased to have an opinion.



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George

posted June 9, 2009 at 8:37 am


I never really paid attention to anything that went down worship-team-wise when I had my experiences in the evangelical circle. I was too busy hiding in the back thinking that everything was really weird, while at the same time, trying to wrap my head around the fact that many of these people swaying back and forth with their arms in the air were raised to believe that I prayed to statues.



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Shari

posted June 9, 2009 at 12:09 pm


Or maybe it's just comfortable.



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Mumsy

posted June 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm


Yeah, this barefoot-for-barefoot's sake always puzzled me. It felt contrived, like some "hey, we're cool and casual" trick, but I found it distracting. I mean, I'm cool and casual, but I'm wearing my shoes at church.



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Chrissy Johnson

posted June 10, 2009 at 1:05 am


I'm so glad I'm a Methodist.



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Still Breathing

posted June 10, 2009 at 5:38 am


As our music team is situated in the transept of a drafty Victorian church going without shoes isn't often an option.



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Until...

posted June 10, 2009 at 7:55 am


this is hilarious! my good friend led worship this past sunday and did it barefoot. we both frequent this site, he's going to get a kick out of this!



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Paul Wilkinson

posted June 10, 2009 at 3:59 pm


Sometimes I work a shift in my Christian bookstore barefoot; and I knew a pastor who often worked barefoot in the church office.If anyone asks, I just say it's holy ground.



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Astrid

posted June 10, 2009 at 8:38 pm


ha ha ha holy ground I like it



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Mike

posted June 12, 2009 at 3:06 am


I just found this blog, and I love it. But I'd like you to confess, right here and now, that Steve Furtick doesn't really exist, and is just a figment of your imagination.



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Mark (under construction)

posted June 12, 2009 at 4:45 am


Being a Kiwi – I reckon they should wear Ugg Boots … Pamela Stevenson does – so it must be right!!! -eh?



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stephy

posted June 12, 2009 at 8:56 am


Mike,it appears Steven Furtick does exist. http://www.stevenfurtick.comMark, do you mean Pamela Anderson? :)



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Rye

posted June 12, 2009 at 9:13 am


Me longtime listener, first time baller…I hear your website on funny podcast, Grapes of Rapes.



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Mike

posted June 13, 2009 at 10:59 am


No, he means Pamela Stephenson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela_Stephenson) aka Mrs Billy Connolly, who does indeed come from New Zealand.About Steve Furtick, I do not accept the existence of that website as very good evidence. What I see there is a perfect instance of everything you so perceptively point out on this blog, so I believe the whole thing is a very accomplished parody. I'd much rather believe that than what I really suspect to be the truth.



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stephy

posted June 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm


Oh haha! Shows how much I know. I hope I am also wrong about the existence of Steven Furtick.



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Mark (under construction)

posted June 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm


Acutally it was a typo I meant Barbara Bush wears Ugg boots…… Mike you are one bright guy!!! and I agree with you this is a great site.The problem with barefeet as I see it is … even a cool person walks like an idiot when he stands on a tack.



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Courtney

posted June 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm


Ha! Funny cause it's true.



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a.barefoot

posted June 18, 2009 at 12:50 pm


Request:Please do a post on Christian camps…all the ones I went to were so awful…but then if you write about it I can laugh about it.



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Anonymous

posted June 20, 2009 at 3:54 pm


What is the point of this sight? I am sort of confused…why does it matter if people don't have shoes on or not…maybe we should just be loving on eachother no matter what kind of culture we fit into



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Steve Hayes

posted June 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm


In the Coptic Church they take their shoes off to receive communion.



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Sam Norton

posted June 21, 2009 at 8:02 am


Hi – got sent here via a link, and love your stuff, but is there any chance you can change your RSS feed so that we get the whole blog (or even just the first paragraph!) rather than just the title? It makes it much easier to follow what you have to say…. (easy to do via Blogger dashboard settings)



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Scot

posted June 22, 2009 at 8:00 am


I find it amusing that so many worship "teams" are arrayed in front of the congregation like musicians at a concert. They aren't shaping culture–culture has shaped them.



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Anonymous

posted June 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm


Reading this makes me so glad I'm a Jew and one of the Chosen People. Ain't no one no how showing up at temple without shoes. You goyim be crazy!Yours in Moses, Saul Menowitz



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Still Breathing

posted June 24, 2009 at 2:54 am


Scot, I don't find it amusing – I think it is worrying that "worship teams" like to be centre stage instead of leaving God there. Having said that you do need to be at the front to lead the singing but off to one side is preferable.I have just realised one of our singers often goes bare foot but not only is she standing on the carpet but at 6ft she is taller than the rest of us.



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Anonymous

posted June 24, 2009 at 9:45 am


Do you guys hold hands during prayers? And if you're barefoot, do you touch toes during prayers?Just curious.Catholic Chris



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stephy

posted June 24, 2009 at 9:49 am


Hand-holding during prayers is very common. But absolutely no toe touching. That's just kinda dodgy.



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BannaOj

posted June 24, 2009 at 3:42 pm


Yeah, but every now and then some "innovative" Christian Culture person decides their church needs to have a footwashing ceremony too, normally around Easter.Maybe footwashing + pedicure before being allowed on the worship team?



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Fr. Sean Lotz

posted June 27, 2009 at 1:34 am


I am a priest in the Celtic Catholic Church. Our custom, shared to some extent with, e.g., the Coptic Orthodox, is for all the ministers, and even the entire congregation, to be barefoot in the church or anywhere while worshiping. "Take off your shoes…." For us, this is no self-conscious fad, but an ages-old way of reverence. I always feel odd when I visit a church and feel the need to wear my shoes so as not to cause a scandal. It is not always pretty, but worship is about beauty, not pretty.



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The Poor Blogger

posted June 27, 2009 at 12:06 pm


Ten reasons NOT to wear shoes in worship:1. If you really believe God is present, why would you leave them on? (Exodus 3:5) 2. Makes it easier to wash each other's feet.3. If we're truly bearing the Gospel, our feet should be beautiful anyway. Why not show them off?4. Being closer to the ground makes it easier to prostrate yourself.5. David danced shoeless (and naked) before the Ark. Surely, we can at least bare our toesies?6. St. Francis didn't wear shoes (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/Stfrancis.jpg)7. Which sounds better, "And did those FEET in ancient time" or "And did those REEBOKS in ancient time"?8. People kill each other for shoes. By wearing them to church, we prop up the shoe subculture.9. Celtic Christians walked barefoot to the top of Croagh Patrick. Surely we can do it to our pew. Plus, they're called "pews". Let's add some pungent reality to the name!10. God doesn't wear shoes.



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Anonymous

posted June 29, 2009 at 3:38 pm


Feet are not beautiful. If you think so, then perhaps you have a fetish and we know that ain't beautiful.Keep your shoes on.Saul Menowitz



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Fr. Sean Lotz

posted July 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm


Feet are beautiful. If you think not, then perhaps you have a neurosis, and we know that ain't beautiful. Keep your shoes off, like Moses at the burning bush.



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Mark

posted August 25, 2009 at 9:16 pm


To me, leading worship (can be) a very convicting experience, in which God reminds us of how awful, and sin-filled, our lives are—and yet still chooses to use us to facilitate the worshipping of others. When this occurs, I personally feel akin to Moses before the burning bush—that I am not worthy to be in God's presence! Thus I remove my shoes as an act of humility and reverence.That being said, however, I typically only go barefoot on the stage at Montreat, which I view (with, admittedly, some good old Presby pride) as a "holy of holy" place.Then again, I really don't think God cares what we choose to wear.



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stephy

posted August 25, 2009 at 9:39 pm


Evangelicals don't do it as an act of humility and reverence though (even though God doesn't care what we choose to wear), it's more like they want to be earthy by being barefoot onstage like Joss Stone or Henry Rollins or something.



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Christina

posted August 31, 2009 at 7:43 pm


This whole blog site is brilliant, really. I'm laughing because it's all mostly true for me. I've never been able to put my finger on why I've hated so many churches, but now I see, that the one I do like and currently attend, does the least of these things. Nice job at presenting the facts. Too bad some people get defensive instead of reflecting on why they have these habits. The barefoot thing in particular…my husband plays guitar with a pedal board and all, so if it's summer he'll take off the flip flops so he can manuever the pedals and switches, but I totally would feel creeped out going to a church that goes barefoot for the whole Jesus factor…it all seems so fake and planned. On that note, I hate when the worship lead keeps strumming along some pretty chords while speaking their words of wisdom. I feel like sometimes, worship, or their tunes, placed at the right spot during a service can lead people to be manipulated. All that feels like it detracts from a true relationship with God and each other. Keep doing what you're doing, you seem to have a good sense of what Christianity should be about.



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i am

posted August 31, 2009 at 10:16 pm


haha that's just lame observation man. but smart one though. i worship in church every sunday and these things don't matter really.



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Anonymous

posted September 1, 2009 at 7:54 am


Well I wear flip flops almost all year long, but anytime I do wear other shoes they usually end up coming off because they're uncomfortable. My church family knows I run around in my bare feet all the time. It's just who I am. Plus while I was an assistant missionary in Japan I got used to it. Japanese christians never wear shoes inside, especially not in a church. I think American's are too preoccupied with self-image, but maybe that's just me. I do find all the other comments quite interesting though.



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Doug

posted September 6, 2009 at 8:22 pm


well I love this! So its Sunday night and I get home and check my facebook. Someone at our church posted that they found it inapporpriate for an adult (ME) lol to be running around the church barefoot on or off stage. I lead worship and i cant stand no being barefoot in the summer. What is the difference if I keep my flip flops on or off? It cracks me up. When I was a very young christian (Might not even have been baptised yet I saw Rich Mullens (Our God is an Awesume God, guy) lead worship. He was in a beat up pair of levis and a plain white T shirt and barefoot at the piano. I was so moved by his words and his music. I will never forget it. He was so comfortable in God's presence. I was a total suit and tie church person. I was in a BB King Tshirt and camo shorts and barefoot today. I dont know if I care or not about this. Its not the first time. I dont have gross feet. I keep them clean and nails trimmed. They dont stink. I think I will leave it up to the preacher to decide. We are a very laid back church of around 600. Preacher was in jeans, polo and tennis shoes today. Love everybodies input on this.ThanksShoeless in Arcadia!



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Anonymous

posted September 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm


Fad.



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Rich E

posted September 29, 2009 at 12:16 pm


all my kids hate wearing shoes, hmmm maybe they are onto something ?



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Anonymous

posted October 2, 2009 at 8:38 pm


You know any worship leader you asked about it would tell you "it's because I'm standing on Holy groundblah blah blah…"trendy trend trend. They're just trying to make themselves feel all "humble" and earthy and "relevant." Ugg relevant. Hippies.The only thing grosser than Christians is CHristian Hippies.



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Susan deWaalMalefyt

posted October 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm


I love love love your blog!



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missyx101x

posted October 29, 2009 at 11:01 am


I'm just wondering do any of you have any biblical evidence on why we should or should not be able to be barefoot while worship leading?I hope that wasn't a stupid question…



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Kari Ann

posted January 3, 2010 at 10:26 pm


The first time I’d ever heard about someone doing this (although it wasn’t with worship music in particular) was about 15 years ago when Rich Mullins performed barefoot during one of his tours (either “Ragamuffin Band” or “Brother’s Keeper”). But he wasn’t trying to make a statement, or trying to be hip, or anything; it was just him being him.
As someone who grew up thoroughly ensconced in Christian Pop Culture (CPC)in the 90’s, I would say that Rich Mullins was the single exception to most of the fluff in CPC (then and now). Even though he was a well-known singer, he lived out his faith in a way that really has not been seen since. I wish there were more like him.



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Jessica

posted September 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm


I’m a Christian Hippie! God loves us too. :D



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