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“I Love Me a Preacha in Dangly Earrings”

A true story for women in ministry

Ever walked past a mirror to catch an unexpected glimpse of yourself? "Yikes, I hoped skinny jeans might make me look skinny."

I serve in a church that projects our service onto what we call "The Jumbotron." It's not exactly the scoreboard at the Superdome, but it's a jumbo enough tron to elicit a similar arresting gasp when I see myself on it.

When I'm up front leading worship, I have moments of God-honoring bliss when my soul laps up every drop of God's glory. When song and Scripture splash together as if an angel wrote the sermon then pressed it into the palms of our keyboard player. Eyes closed. Arms raised. My heart laid prostrate.

There are also moments when I catch a glimpse of myself on that screen and wonder who let me out of the house without a proper haircut and shoes from this decade. Who listens to this disheveled mess?

Fretting over our appearance as worship leaders should not matter, but we all know it does. Just ask the hipster pastor who spent an hour making sure his hair did not look like he just spent an hour on it. Oh, vanity of vanities.

One Saturday I stared down at my hands and noticed my mangled cuticles. I was preaching the next morning, and when I speak, my arms typically flap about like wings on a caffeinated bird. I needed a manicure. Can I be this vain? Could I put this extra 15 dollars in the offering plate instead?

I settled on the manicure.

As I flopped into the chemical-saturated room, I stared up at the mani/pedi Jumbotron, an 80-inch plasma TV bolted to the wall where Hillary Clinton waxed eloquent about bombing in Sudan. I felt like a loser, waiting for a woman to drizzle Pomegranate Punch across my nails while other people scrambled for their lives.

Suddenly the room lit up with conversation. Women began to yammer about Hillary's new haircut. "Did she have work done?" They balked. "She looks terrible, her forehead is too big. Someone needs to reshape her hair." I thought to myself that I would prefer the Secretary of State fret about the Sudanese people than her haircut. I also thought it was a good thing I got this manicure before tomorrow.

Would they have listened to her report if she had looked less gauche? Perhaps. Would people listen closely to my sermon with a nifty manicure? Not sure, but for good or ill, image plays a huge role in worship. Pastel ties on Easter, marvelously coiffed hair on big-name Christian celebs, the deliberate granola-goatee look on most youth pastors from Colorado. Somehow all this helps us connect with the crowd.

That Sunday morning I also donned an enormous pair of silver earrings. Post-sermon, a woman grabbed me in a tight hug. "I love me a preacha in dangly earrings. I listened to every word you said."

And there you have it.

"Sredael Detfig" is the everywoman among church leaders. She is you, me, and the female church leader next door. You might say Sredael knows church leadership backwards and forwards. She has some funny stories about church ministry, and she has agreed to share those stories, along with what they've taught her about ministry and the God she serves.

September13, 2012 at 8:00 AM

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