DRESSING UP FOR CHURCH

A friend asked me recently what my opinion was about “how to dress for church.” I’ve been giving it a lot of thought on how to answer her, but I haven’t really come up with any solid answers. So I thought I might ask for your help and opinion today on this subject.

I grew up with three sets of clothes: the play clothes, school clothes and church clothes. And you better not have been playing around in the yard with your church clothes on or you were in big trouble. I was raised believing that when we went to church on Sunday mornings, we wore our Sunday best. My “church clothes” were by far the nicest clothes I owned. I also still vividly remember my hand-me-down, avocado green leisure suit I wore for years as a pre-teen. And I can still recall a time when women only wore dresses and men always wore a suit and a tie to church.

These days things have changed in dress, some for the good and some for the not-so-good. Gone are the days of everyone wearing their Sunday best to church every week, but thankfully so are the days that you had to wear a suit and tie to be allowed to wait on the table during the Lord’s Supper. Now it’s not uncommon to see people in Hawaiian shirts, Bermuda shorts, baseball caps and flip-flops. My friend Mike says, “The older generation is a lot more formal just because they were raised that way and it was the teaching at the time. You dress your best for God when you go to worship,” he said. “Generally, the younger generation is much more casual. The younger generation has gotten more interested in what they look like on the inside, and they consider that more important.” Which group is right? Probably both, as long as you don’t look down on the other because they choose to either dress up or dress down.

I’ve always thought it’s important to honor God by wearing our nicest clothes on Sunday, but recently I asked a new lady who had been coming to church if she was enjoying coming. She said she was but what made her so uncomfortable was that she didn’t have any nice clothes like everyone else. I tried hard to explain to her that it doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you’re here. But as I explained those things to her the thought kept going through my head, “Does this mean that if we dress up, we might make people who can’t buy clothes feel unwelcome?” Nothing would be worse than making someone feel unwelcome because their clothes aren’t nice enough. So I think there has to be a balance.

I personally cannot find any scripture that spoke directly to how one should dress for public worship. In fact, the only clear New Testament reference to dress is found in James 2. Though the point of that passage is how the saints treated one who did not have ‘proper’ dress, not what he might wear to church.

A few thoughts on how to dress…

  • There should never be a dress code at church that says you must be dressed up to attend, worship or serve. Clothes are not what God is interested in, it’s the heart. You should feel free to come as you are.
  • At the same time, we must make sure our clothes are respectful and modest. A Budweiser shirt, a dirty wife-beater undershirt, a halter top or see-through clothing would not really be appropriate, unless it’s the only thing you own. The problem with this type of clothing is it might cause others to draw their attention to you and not God.
  • I guess the best advice I can find is where Paul urges us to “dress up for church” everyday with the best clothes possible: compassion, humility, forgiveness, and love (Colossians 3:12-14).

So what are your thoughts on dressing up or dressing down for church services? I’d love to know.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
49 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Greg says:

    Don’t think I can add much to what you’ve said. When my kids came along, it was not uncommon for them to pay more for the latest style pants or shirt than I’d paid for my latest suit! (When I was still wearing suits to church.) To go by the “wear your best” “rule” if best is considered most expensive would mean they wore casual clothes! Clothes they paid for with their money, by the way. :) I could not afford some of what they wanted.

  2. David Kirk says:

    I know this is an issue that keeps people from visiting, especially women. I’m glad things are changing!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Would the bud shirt be ok if it had a #8 on it?

  4. Jeanne M. says:

    As a member of the older generation, I have always felt that I should give God the best of all I have – in actions, in thoughts and in what I wear when in congregate worship to Him. My only “credo” has been that whatever is worn be clean, not dirty workclothes – unless that is all a person has to wear. Where I now attend, we have homeless people attending, along with very wealthy people, and I fit in somewhere between, closer to homeless than wealthy. Whenever I have heard anyone speak of not having nice clothes, I have tried to help him/her understand that nice means different things to different people. What he/she had on looked nice to me. I do agree that what is inside is most important, but as the woman stated, she felt uncomfortable with those who had “nicer” clothes. She, along with most of us, needs lots of loving to help bring her into a closer fellowship. IMHO

  5. Falantedios says:

    Our “pool” of Lord’s Supper servers were gently scolded this year for not wearing jackets and ties. I almost asked if they wanted to install a “coat and tie” closet like formal restaurants have. The main rationale given was a desire to “look respectable” for visitors. IMHO, visitors want to see servants who look like them, with whom they can relate.

    I believe “coat and tie” Christianity has been viciously deconstructed by today’s mindset. Anyone who still believes that a coat and tie are signs of respectability and trustworthiness needs to visit their closest used-car dealership.

    Nick

    PS – Respectful and modest is a good guideline. Unless you have a strict dress code at work, I don’t think you should dress better for work (or for a date) than you do for church.

  6. lisa says:

    I grew up hearing we were to dress in our best too. It was hard to get past that when we started attending with a congregation that was more casual. Shorts on Sunday or Wednesday nights?! *gasp* Seriously, though, it would bother me because of my upbringing. People wear ratty t-shirts, jeans with holes, athletic shorts, etc.

    I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t necessarily think churches should establish dress codes, though I think Bible classes can address the issue from time to time on what is modest and what isn’t. As a measuring stick, I think we could look at what we would wear to school or work. If we wouldn’t wear it there, maybe we shouldn’t wear it to worship services either.

    Paul told Timothy that women should “dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” Women were getting caught up in outdoing others and dressing as extravagantly as they could. They were more concerned with how they looked than the fact that they were there to worship.

    I think this tells us that maybe we do have a tendency to go over the top and try to dress nice to keep up with everyone else. When our focus is on that, it’s not on our worship.

  7. Zach Detwiler says:

    To me it does not matter. I want you there! Hopefully you experience the heart of the Lord while you are there and let him direct you on what to wear. I have always been inspired to dress for success. I want to successfully fulfill my duty as a believer and I wouldn’t put anything on that would question my salvation or witness. <– (baptist word huh? ha) Thats all I have and I don’t knwo of a scripture either on that.. Thanks..

  8. TREY MORGAN says:

    Anony .. #8? Come on :)

    Jeanne – great point on helping others to understand.

    Excellent thoughts guys. Lisa & Nick – great points on the using your work guidelines for a measuring stick.

    Lisa – You hit a homerun. I love your comment, “As a measuring stick, I think we could look at what we would wear to school or work. If we wouldn’t wear it there, maybe we shouldn’t wear it to worship services either.”

  9. lisa says:

    Homerun?! Woohoo!! :)

  10. Matthew says:

    In the Word, you see instruction to the women NOT to dress up for church, and typically in the first century most of the Christians would not want to call attention to themselves, so they wore what was normal dress at the time.

  11. Darin says:

    If I’m not mistaken the very idea of dress codes came about in England, it was a way to keep certain people out of church. Coal was a very dirty way to heat your homes and the lower class would come to church dirty as all get out. Dress codes were used as a barrier to insure they wouldn’t come if my history is correct.

    Also each generation tends to dress down from the one before. Think of all of the layers of clothing people did wear in the past. Think of the dresses and corsets and all of those things. Those suits that are so familiar are dress down from previous generations.

    I was reading recently how the last generation started wearing slacks and shirts but dumped the tie and this generation has dumped those in favor of jeans. To me dress probably has more to do with establishing your own identity than any respect or disrespect for God.

    When I worked as a graphic designer I had on shorts and a ball cap with flip flops. I actually dress up now because I wear jeans. I do that because we want everyone to feel welcome. We have discovered that the only ones who don’t are those who are already believers shopping for a church.

  12. That Girl says:

    I make no secret about loving to see guys in suits. Charcoal gray suit, stiffly starched white shirt, red tie… Of course, I shouldn’t be going to church to look at men!!!

    I have some expensive suits that I wear to work but I feel over dressed if I wear them to church.

    I really think that if we’re worrying about what to wear to church, we don’t have our hearts and minds in the right place… I don’t know – I’m just sayin’.

  13. DJG says:

    First of all the Bud shirt will now be #9…2nd that was not me (I do own some but do not wear them to my Mom’s or to church!…#88 AMP- maybe?)

    Worship should be a daily thing for us. We should be transformed by the Spirit. When that happens our outer appearance and our emphasis on the time we come together as “holy” or something will cease. I think we should make others comfortable and we should ALWAYS dress modestly and respectfully (#8 shirts not withstanding). If we start making requirments of how our servants dress we maybe should provide them a robe!

  14. merry says:

    I haven’t posted much lately, but wanted to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts on this.

    The requirements placed by the elders on what people should wear without even an attempt to back it up with Scripture was a major issue in the rift between my husband and the elders that led to his resignation.

    One week after his last Sunday as a paid employee, they moved on to attacking a 20-year old college student right before the morning assembly where he was to be the song leader in front of another person about his attire. His clothing was not formal in any respect, but he was clean and looked like what he is – a college student. Again, they did not attempt to use any Scriptural arguments for their requirements, and they didn’t even approach him in a courteous and respectful manner.

    Wear your suit and tie or wear your shorts and a T to worship God – EVERY DAY, not just Sunday. And be comfortable in what you’re wearing. And don’t judge others for what they’re wearing no matter how much it doesn’t fit into your personal standards. It’s time for some people to grow up.

  15. Shane Coffman says:

    Here are some random thoughts to consider. Not saying they are completely right, but I think they’re worth consideration.

    I look at the trend towards more casual attire at our gatherings as at least in some ways a nod towards the understanding that worship is taking place in our lives outside of “the appointed times”. That’s a good thing.

    Continuing from that premise, perhaps the real issue is NOT whether you respect God (for you are ALWAYS in His presence), but rather how much you respect your brother (or sister) in Christ. Or perhaps the issue is how much we’re trying to impress our brothers and sisters. It may very well be different for different people and generations. The older generation in general may see it more as the former (respect), and the younger generation as the latter (superficial attempts to impress).

    If we’re really engaged in each other’s lives, perhaps we’ll feel more comfortable being casual, as we would in our homes.

    When our relationship isn’t much deeper than superficial greetings, we may feel more inclined to feel the need to “dress to impress”.

    How’s that for rambling and generalizing?

  16. AncientWanderer says:

    Well we’re all going to dress the way we want and (this is the important part) FOR THE REASON we want.

    I just looked at a church web site’s congregational pictures (in Texas) and they put so much effort into NOT dressing up that they looked like the understudy cast for some old west musical.

    I live in a very economically diverse region. We have people that just “stink” who show up but those same people expect those who are “Serving God” to dress up. Yeah that means coat and tie or coat or tie.

    AND those from the community ABSOLUTELY expect the “Christians” to dress up even if they don’t.

    ________
    Matthew:
    I think possibly IMO and absolutely just throwing this out (enough groveling?). You might possibly be reading too much into-
    “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness–with good works.”

    The “costly attire” said more about their attitude “modesty and self-control” than their affluence. I doubt they wore everyday clothes otherwise why did Paul write this? It must have been more the case that they dressed up in the first century and/or FOR THE WRONG REASONS.

    All I’m humbly saying is that going from Paul’s instruction to Tim to wear your work clothes is a bit of a stretch. IMIO

    _______
    Shane:
    Interesting. Very interesting.
    Most Americans spend more time at home sleeping… your congregation must have very interesting Pictorial Directory. :)

    And who are these young people you know who don’t spend big sums of money or effort on the shoes they wear just for skate boarding? Have you seen how long a teen aged girl takes “just to run to the store”? I agree that our disregard for “church” attire betrays an informal attitude toward God. I come from the “Dear Daddy” “To The Man” days when we tried to show our “close” and “informal” relationship with God in prayer.

  17. Falantedios says:

    The point of 1 Tim 2 8-10 is prayer and humility, not “What Not To Wear.”

    “Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray�not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.”

  18. Tim Archer says:

    A few months ago, I preached a campaign for a church in another country. During the campaign, all of the church members came wearing coats and ties. Any who came off the street would come in jeans, etc. The difference was notable, and I had to feel that the outsiders were extremely uncomfortable. (Maybe not, but it seemed it to me).

    In Argentina, you could spot the evangelicals from a mile away on Sunday. They would be walking down the street with ties on, many of the women wearing long dresses.

    I think we need to focus more on clothing ourselves with righteousness and less about dressing to impress others.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  19. Jeff Slater says:

    Oh man, don’t get me started on this one. I hate wearing a coat and tie, but since I’m the preacher, I usually do. I have a friend who preaches at a Vineyard church, and he usually wears jeans or shorts(!) and a t-shirt. That will always be my dream…..

    The thing about the “Giving God Your Best” argument is that most of us don’t. We usually have something nicer in our closet that we don’t wear to church. I have a friend who owns a tuxedo. Should he wear it to church every Sunday? If he doesn’t, is he really giving his best to God?

    The thing is, It shouldn’t be a big deal. If you want to wear a suit, great! If you want to wear shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops, great!

    But in most places it’s not that way. When I don’t wear a coat and tie on Sunday morning, it is obvious that some people don’t like it.

    Thankfully, the younger generation seems to be bringing about some needed change in this area.

  20. One Observationist says:

    Not much to add except:

    There are many shallow people that have presented themselves to me in a suit and tie. As long as people don’t dress in a mini-skirts I could careless. And even if they did wear a mini-skirt or something revealing I’d still worship with them.

    I normally wear dress pants and a nice shirt to Sunday services and jeans and a nice shirt any other time. It’s more out of tradition for me, but I honestly feel comfortable “dressing up”. If others would rather wear blue jeans to Sunday services (and there are many at our congregation) I don’t care.

    Jeremy

  21. lightening says:

    This is a very interesting discussion topic. :-) My husband and I visited a church when away from home one time where we had an interesting experience. Everyone there was extremely dressed up. They had parking attendants in suits. We were dressed nicely but in comfortable clothing as directly after the service we had to drive 500km to get home. We felt extremely uncomfortable there and I felt saddened by that. I wondered how someone unfamiliar to church would feel.

    To a point there is something to be said for understanding the culture of the day (to a point because some things now acceptable in culture are questionable). Once upon a time men wore suits for going out to many places, not just church. These days (in Australia at least) it’s becoming less and less common.

    I LOVE our church. There you will find such a large enough assortment of clothing that it wouldn’t matter what you wore, you’d fit in. I could wear almost anything I own (okay, not my PJ’s lol) and would fit in. I love that some weeks I feel like being more dressy and can whereas other weeks I’m more comfortable in casual attire and that’s fine too. It makes me feel accepted for who and what I am right there and then.

  22. Neva says:

    Okay, how about a comment or two from an old lady?
    I grew up believing our “best” was for God. That encompasses our best behavior, attitude etc.
    Personally, I believe our dress should be like the attitude Paul reminds slaves to have in Titus–
    we should behave (dress, act, speak) so as to make the gospel message more attractive.
    If Ned’s tie is so loud, no one can hear the lesson . . .
    If a young woman’s dress is cut so low it draws attention . . .
    You know what I am saying—does there really need to be a “mandate” saying what is appropriate?
    What do those who are “uncomfortable” with the nice clothes of others, wear to weddings and funerals? Or do they just not go because they don’t have as nice of clothes?
    I believe clothes do matter–they are a part of our statement–few people go around wearing wedding dresses unless they are the bride,
    Nuns wore habits to set them apart from others, policemen wore uniforms so that they were recognizable.
    Our clothes need to say we came to worship intentionally.
    I believe my conscience would bother me if I came to worship straight from the gym, all sweaty and in my gym clothes–to me, that would say my worship to God was almost an afterthought.
    On the other hand, how we dress should not be the focus of worship–just like whether we walked to worship or rode in a car–worship is what is important, (And I would not want to arrive at the church building in a Coors Light delivery truck)
    BTW, in the OT, God gave specific instructions on how the priests were to dress for worship

    Just a few thoughts
    peace
    neva

  23. Roadtripray says:

    Wow, Trey, you seem to have really touched a nerve with this post!

    I have been at many churches, contemporary and traditional, and seen a full range of “church attire.” The church I am at now is comprised of a large number of older retired people, but the dress is overall more like “business casual.” By this I mean slacks and a collared golf-type shirt, or perhaps a dress shirt with no tie or jacket. We do have some who wear jeans (most of the youth do) and a couple who wear jacket and tie.

    I’m pretty comfortable dressing most any way, so I adjust my dress to the church norm. Most Sundays I wear some sort of dress or casual slacks and a collared shirt, either a button-up or pullover. In the winter I wear a sportcoat.

    If I am preaching, I will wear a suit or a sportcoat with a tie. Our pastor wears a robe and stole — I don’t know if CoC clergy ever does that, but in the UMC it’s not required. Honestly I think he overdresses, I think wearing a suit is sufficient at that congregation. As I am still laity, I can’t wear a clergy robe according to our tradition.

    I believe in being open to all sorts of dress, because I don’t want anyone to NOT come because they feel uncomfortable or because they don’t have anything to wear. There are people out there that so desparately need to hear the gospel, and I don’t want vain dress standards getting between the lost and Jesus Christ. That’s the reason I usually “dress to the norm.” It’s not so much that I want to fit in, but I want others to know that they indeed “fit in.”

    — Ray

  24. Robert Lukenbill says:

    I read some of the comments and thought everyone added to this post well. I appreciate the thought and respect everyone has added to this topic. I really do believe it is not what is important on the outside as much as the inside.

    If you are looking for a passage I would urge you to Matthew 23 where Jesus rebukes the scribes and pharisees for widening the boarder of their garments just to look better than everyone else.

    If we are dressing up just to look better than someone next to you then shame on you. If you just like to dress up for church then I say go for it. However, I don’t think anyone has the authority to tell someone else not to wear something just because they don’t like it as long as it doesn’t cause someone else to sin.

    Great topic!

  25. Robert Lukenbill says:

    One more passage to think about is when Jesus is hung from the cross. What about the Roman Soldiers who gambled away his clothes. THey were so concerned with his outward garments that they forgot about the shame of the man they were hurting. What are we more concerned about: OUr garments or the shame of our brethren?

  26. Anonymous says:

    just got home and late to the discussion and haven’t read anyone else’s comment,

    but I would like to really ask, as one who prefers to be comfy and loosens my tie soon after the closing “amen”

    is the current generation REALLY more focused on the inside, or just don’t want to dress up??

    brian

  27. Robert Lukenbill says:

    Why should we have to dress up just to please a bunch of old people????

  28. Jeanne M. says:

    I agree with Neva, but probably because I, too, am of the older generation. I remember when women were not “allowed” to wear slacks or pantsuits for worship service. When we moved to Massachusetts, when winter came, I started wearing stlacks, but still only in the evenings. I have not broken down to wearing them for morning worship times to this day. But that is just for me – not a rule for anyone else to follow. Still when we travel in the south, and we attend worship service, I wonder how I will be received when wearing slacks. I remember many years ago being told that a young woman was asked to leave because she had on slacks. I was appalled to hear that happened.

  29. TREY MORGAN says:

    “Is the current generation REALLY more focused on the inside, or just don’t want to dress up?”

    Brian … good thought!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Trey – I would drive all the way to Childress to see you preach in a 24 shirt..or better yet in an 88 shirt!! I’ll wear my 17 or 99 shirt!!

    But seriously, when my kids got older (they would not allow me to lay out their clothes for church), I would look at them and if what they had on was offensive to me…they would change. And sometimes…we were late to church!!

    Let me know when you wear that 88 shirt to preach!! 😉

    signed…ME!

  31. Anonymous says:

    also..do you remember nearly 9 years ago..after “the car wreck”..I came to church on Sunday in my “pajamas”? I even climbed those stairs to go to Bible class! I just wanted to be there!

    signed ME..again!

  32. Anonymous says:

    Trey, when I was in Humble as a Family Minister I was asked by the Elders to give a lesson on dressing modestly. I chose to give lessons on 1 Timothy 4:12. This verse speaks volumes on modesty… dressing,living, talking, loving, etc. It seemed to make sense to me that if the qualities of this passage are being poured from my life then their reflection will also detirmine the clothes I wear wherever I am. I would rather be holy(1 Peter 1:13-ff) than just dress holy. After all, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. A pig in a suit is still a pig, a well dressed pig mind you, but still a pig. There is no one answer to your question but I still believe how we dress reflects our holiness anywhere, anytime, everytime. Remember the Widow and her mite, it wasn’t very much but her heart of surrender made it grand. WOW, what a long ramble that was.

    Eddie

  33. Confessing Lunatic says:

    Very insightful comments…only one that I would add, which is BTW what we tell the teenagers in our youth group:

    “You need not dress up unless you want to; however, if you come looking like you slept in your clothes and just rolled out of bed you might want to iron whatever it is you come in. What matters to us most is that you are here, learning, worshiping and being with the family. Your personal preparation prior to walking in the door of the building needs to consist of more than just putting on clothes (or getting dolled up to impress a girl or guy as the case may be). Preparation begins in the heart.”

  34. Brandon Price says:

    Thoughts like these always make me wonder about the first century churches who met in homes, and how funny it probably looked when your best friends came over every day dressed like they were, but on Sundays they came dressed up. Or how about meeting in caves before it was light? Do you think they took the time to “look their best for God”?

    If there’s anything Jesus taught while he was here it was that your spirituality is about your heart, not your outward appearance. Much of what Jesus said sounded very similar to things like“You have heard that it was said, ‘Look good for church on Sunday,’ but I tell you…”

    I think one reason this has turned into what it has in the church is because we have a very limited view on what “worship” really is. After Jesus healed someone and they fell at his feet “worshiping” him, do we honestly think they ran home to change into their best before they did it? I think not. Worship is not a Sunday thing…worshiping together is.

    But, at the same time, we have to take culture into account, for as Christians we must care about what others think. In Lubbock, you wear nice clothes to church on Sunday, in a little farming town an hour a way during harvest time, you had better get used to tractor-dirty men coming to services in between runs on the combines.

    We don’t want to be a stumbling block, but we have to remember that command is talking about making people actually waiver from their faith, NOT from challenging them to grow in their beliefs and to see that it might be okay to do things a little differently.

    And in all actuality, I really feel that nice clothes put more of a stumbling block before non believers than casual clothes do before Christians themselves.

    Wow…that was a lot…sorry.

  35. Philip Murphy says:

    the mandress/kilt/lava lava is the expected clothing-wear for Sunday service here in AmSam. Think that’d fly in Childress?

  36. TREY MORGAN says:

    Wow, there are some rich comments here. I hope if you haven’t gone through and read all the comments to this post you will. There is a lot of wisdom in the comments.

    Sandi – I’ve never wore a 24 shirt to teach or preach in, but I have worn a Nascar #24 tie with my suit on the day they run the Daytona 500. I remember you coming to church following your wreck in your PJ’s.

    Philip – I’m not sure what a mandress/kilt/lava lava is, but I’d love to wear one if they had one in an X-Tall size :). Would I have to sit “lady-like” in one? ha

    * So, we can dress how we want as long as it’s decent and we don’t judge others for how they dress (dressing up or down). And just out of curiosity … how would you handle someone who came to your worship services dressed like this on a regular basis?

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296053,00.html

  37. Louie Mercer, Frank Mercer and Mike Ellis: The Church for Men Dudes says:

    I’ve lost count of how many men have come up to me and said how my flip flops, shorts and t shirts made them feel comfortable to wear anything they want when they came back to church.

  38. james says:

    Trey,

    The problem is what is decent. There were a couple of comments to this effect. In California I know of a congregation who had to post a sign not to wear swim wear to services. There were three young girls who used to wear mini-skirts on a regular basis where I was involved at one time. They had no parental influence to tell them this was inappropriate. I did not feel it was my place but discussed it with my wife and a couple of the elder’s wives. Our culture and alot of “christian” people don’t have a clue.
    James

  39. Evan Williams says:

    its tonight….the night the Cowboys get that 10-2 record. Are your Cowboys ready for the Pack?

  40. Falantedios says:

    The assertion that ‘it doesn’t matter what you wear to church because it is what’s inside that counts’ neatly expresses the dualism (evil matter vs. good ‘spirit’) that plagues more and more of Christianity.

    God is not going to be impressed with your suit and tie.

    God is not going to be impressed with your “knowledge” that clothing “doesn’t matter”.

    The assembly of the saints is NOT the same as hanging out at the mall. Gathering around the Lord’s Table is not the same as eating lunch after a softball game. God is not your ‘buddy’ and Jesus is not your ‘homeboy’.

    Reverence is not MERELY an ‘inward attitude’. It encompasses the whole of one’s life. It does not make for simple answers.

    A farmer who rushes from harvest to gather with the saints in his community does not have the time to ‘wash his hands,’ to use a 1st century metaphor.

    A saint preparing to leave on a long journey should dress for the journey.

    The assembly should not be treated as a convenience. A saint should prepare for the assembly, and one’s outward appearance DOES generally reflect the nature of one’s preparation, whether we want to admit it or not.

    in HIS love,
    Nick

  41. AncientWanderer says:

    Nick-
    OMG!!!
    AMEN
    AMEN
    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. Falantedios says:

    LOL This is a first, I think!

    There is a place for INFORMALITY with God. Informality does not always mean irreverence.

    The PUBLIC assembly of the saints is not that place.

    ‘Come as you are’ is an important gospel message. ‘Look just like the world’… not so much.

    Nick

  43. TREY MORGAN says:

    Nick,

    Very well said!

  44. merry says:

    Stopping back to add that while I agree that our outward appearance can reflect our inward preparation, please do not judge others based on that. There could be 1000 reasons behind what they’re wearing that are totally legit, but unless you take the time to talk to everyone and ask about those reasons, you’re not gonna know.

  45. Bob Bliss says:

    Trey, several years ago our Monday night men’s class had a discussion on proper clothing for services. It was the most controversial and heated discussion of the year.

    Nick, I know of a congregation (in an affluent area of a large city) that has a closet with coats and ties for those men who show up to serve at the Lord’s Supper without such.

    Over the years I’ve noticed that our society has grown causal at everything. A girl’s lacrosse team shows up to see the president in flip flops. People come casually dressed to funerals and viewings. Some of you may not believe what I’ve seen people dressed in at funerals. The same is true at weddings. People don’t pull off the side of the road for funeral processions or emergency vehicles. I think all this reflects that our society in general doesn’t respect anyone outside of themselves. Our lack of decorum is self-centered and shows a lack of sacrifice on our part. We Americans are becoming more selfish as time goes on.

    Yes, I know that the Bible doesn’t tell us how to dress, but I do concur with Nick’s last comments. I think our casual dress comes from casual attitudes. There is a time and place for casual dress (I’m in shorts right, it’s 80 here in Central Florida) and there is a time and place to at least put on clothes that are not casual.

    During my senior year in high school (70-71) we dropped our dress code. My mother told me that if we dropped the dress code we would be wearing swimsuits to school one day. There have been reports of such happening. Ironically many schools are going back to dress codes or school uniforms.

    The debate will continue with participants on both sides. If you show up at my congregation dressed casually or in a suit, you will be welcomed and loved regardless.

  46. Bob Bliss says:

    Don, I blushed at your comments to Nick. LOL

  47. TREY MORGAN says:

    Bob, I appreciate the wisdom that you shared!

  48. Keith Brenton says:

    Now it’s going to take me longer to get dressed for church than it does for my 11-year-old daughter.

    And I’ll be self-conscious, no matter what I end up wearing.

    Maybe I should take as a suggestion what a co-worker of my intended as a chide years ago: “What, did your closet light burn out again, Keith?”

  49. Anonymous says:

    “OMG” ? Really, AW?

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Trey Morgan
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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
  • He was pretty tough to listen to as well.
  • As crazy as it might sound, Chris Collinsworth just might be worse to listen to than the song Christmas Shoes.
  • Please remember that some Christmas music is incredibly offensive to people with grandmothers who actually were run over by reindeer.
  • Unfortunately, not a great night for "bobcats." :)
  • Chin up Childress Bobcats. We couldn't be prouder. Great fight tonight.

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