What Do You Wear At Church?

Formal Dress Code

Image by alex.ragone via Flickr

I walked into the local Post Office and saw Al there. As as we were speaking I saw someone I used to work with years before I got into full-time ministry. He motioned to me that he would like to talk to me. Al graciously motioned that he was done speaking with me.

This man said, “Lupe, I have been thinking about coming to your church. I want to know how do people dress in your church?”

Now there is a question. In our culture today there are various ways people dress to attend  church. Most men that I talk to do not like wearing a suit and tie. Yet in many of the small town churches you find that is still the norm and many times an unwritten code. However in urban America; you find the “come as you are” attitude more prevalent.

In our church you will see tee shirts, shorts, flip-flops to dress shirts, tie, slacks and right of the ranch clothing.

In our society we are judged by what we wear. If you are in sales or in business at all then you are taught that “You have first 10 to 15 seconds to make a first good impression”. I believe that is true. However we are not in business, this is the place you come to hear and learn about Jesus and the work He accomplished for us through the cross.

I grew up where you presented your best to God. This is acceptable as well. If people want to come to church in a suit then they should. I do more so in the winter. The issue of clothing is subjective.

We have some of the cowboys who wear their hats through most of the service. Now that is acceptable in the southwest. That would be disrespectful back East. I like the fact that the hats are kept on. We have several youth that come to church that see that and feel comfortable keeping their hats on.

Eventually people will be taught church etiquette. In the mean time I don’t want to make clothing such a big deal. We as Christians should not judge a person by what they wear. We should look at the innate value of that person and love them as God loves them.

I believe that the church in America uses the worlds standards for a dress code of first impressions. In fact there is a church that tells the young adults to cover their tattoos.

Don’t let the fact that you don’t have “Church clothes” keep you from coming to church. Every person should be able to enjoy the service, in casual clothing and be themselves.

We may still have someone who might say something. But please remember that sometimes the views of the “members” does not necessarily represent the views of the scripture and that of the church leadership. This is our disclaimer.

When the man at the Post Office asked this about what we wear. I pointed to Al and said, “Al comes to church pretty much the way he is”. Al who was raised on the ranch, a cowboy, was in his cowboy hat, red bandana around his neck, blue work shirt, jeans and his work cowboy boots. Al just shook his head yes, affirming yes that is the way we all dress at church. Al will come right off of the riding trail and come to church. Here is a scripture that talks about how it is wrong to judge a person by what he wears.

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4)

We love everyone that comes to church regardless of how people dress. However this is  a legitimate concern of people who want to come to church. This is why we changed our home web page and inform them on our dress code.

Now you know.

Here is a related article you might enjoy.  http://johnmeunier.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/pastors-in-jeans-and-hawaiian-shirts/

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2 Responses to “What Do You Wear At Church?”

  1. sreth Says:

    Clothing is a cultural manifestation.It speaks a certain language of its own. Very subjective however as each person can interpret it differently, having had different cultural experiences. I think the key is mutual respect and some consideration of the norm. If you think your manner of dress could be offensive, resist the temptation, don’t make your brother stumble.

  2. Lupe Says:

    Hi Sarah, you make a good point, that clothing has a language of its own. Actually I had not thought about it. When looking at culture, we have to consider that the church has a culture of its own. So repecting the culture is important. You hit on the subject of how people come to church could / might be offensive. That is a good thought. Do you think that is true more with women than with men?