Church Dress Code

I have been in church most of my life.  I have attended various kinds of worship services.  In the church that I grew up in, the youth were asked to wear pants on Sunday nights.  I thought that this was strange, but out of respect for the pastor and our youth pastor, we did just that.  I began to realize as I continued in my walk of faith that "church dress code" has become a huge deal in many churches.  This has been something that I have never really understood.  Many times I've been told that "we are to wear our very best during our worship on Sundays."  This view has never made much since to me.  Why are we to come to worship in a manner that is not our everyday manner?

As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, we have a relationship with Him every single day.  Our worship is not to be limited to a building and time on Sundays.  If we are to "church up" for Sundays, why aren't we to "church up" the rest of the week?  I totally understand that there are some ways of dress that are not glorifying to our LORD, but is a suit and tie or dress the only way to glorify our LORD?  I do not think so.

I can find nowhere in Scripture where a dress code is given for worship.  I believe that it is understood that our attire should be that which would be modest.  For someone to wear attire that is sexually revealing or obscene is not appropriate (1 Corinthians 10:31).  I do not see anywhere in Scripture though that says that you have to wear your best and finest clothing for worship.  In fact, James 2 warns us about showing partiality to those who do wear fine clothing.

One of the functions and purposes of the church is to reach out to those who do not follow Christ.  If we put limits and requirements on attire, are we shunning some people from our fellowship?  I wonder if our "church dress codes" have fed the beast of many fellowships being seen as a country club.

I want to make it clear that I am in no way against wearing suits to worship.  What I see as a problem is that when people are told that they are to come as something that is not them in order to worship with us.  If you are one that normally "dresses up," then by all means, dress up for your worship.  If you are one that normally wears jeans and a regular shirt, there's nothing wrong with wearing that to worship.  We are told in many places of Scripture that God is measuring the quality of our hearts not the quality of our clothes (1 Samuel 16:7; Matthew 23:25-28).

What are your thoughts?


Ryan Hollingsworth said...

I'm currently compiling an essay right now entitled "The American Church, and How it Must Change." The idea of the paper is similar to what you've discussed here. The problem with "Church," from my perspective, is that Church has become a religion, and we've removed the relationship with Christ almost entirely from the equation.

The Church increasingly ads religious policies to follow, dress codes for instance. Similarly, Sunday worship, (and sunday night for the pious) The problem that has come is that people go to church and leave unchanged. They feel as if tipping God their financial crumbs and donating their time once and a while should entitled them a position in heaven and totally neglect the Gospel.

We as a nation, and as a Church, have forgotten that it is not by deeds that we are saved, but by Grace, through faith. America is a country that believes it is entitled, and that ideology has bled into America's faith.

The summation of my essay states that before we can carry out the great commission, and make disciples of other nations, that we must our selves be genuine disciples in our own nation, our definition of church should be a body of believers and not a building that houses God.

Ultimately, we must admit that Christianity is not a religion, it's a lifestyle focused on the personal relationship in Jesus Christ, for we were dead in our transgressions and sins and it is by grace that we have been saved.

For the record, I'm not against organized religion, or wearing a suit to church. However, my passion is to see authenticity in worship, that worship to be a lifestyle, and that lifestyle to daily live up to the example of Christ.

That too radical?

I think its awesome we're still on similar wave lengths, despite the years its been since we've seen one another.

Leanne said...

This site seems 'spot-on' to me. I will sure spread the word about it.
We have become a nation of judgmental folks who use mans' eye and never look at attitude or heart...but that's where God finds our true worth! Forget WHAT to wear...just be clean, neat...and dress in your awe, worship and love of the Lord. That's the bottom line.