Poster showing that casual dress is OK

The small print at bottom the bottom of this poster says: "Being comfortable with Jesus Christ starts with being comfortable."

Dress for success at church? You gotta be kidding, right? Certainly “dress for success” does not apply at church — or does it?

As I walked into a new church this past weekend, I looked around and started wondering who was a Christian, and who wasn’t. Does it really matter? Of course not. But what has changed from when I was a kid is that no one really dresses up when they attend church anymore. Everything is casual and comfortable. People wear what they have on, getting ready for the rest of the day as soon as church is out.

Why is that?

I think the biggest reason is that we don’t want to make the non-Christian feel uncomfortable. We want them to come back again next week, so we don’t want to even have the hint that they are inferior to a Christian by what they wear. Is that OK? Can go wrong making someone comfortable? Of course not.

Another reason I’ve heard that we don’t dress up for church anymore is that we feel that God already knows our hearts, and we can’t hide our sins from him by what we do. After all, the bible says, to God, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). In other words, we can’t cover up our stains, so why even try.

Then there is the argument that having to dress up for church is about “rules, regulations, and laws.” That is what the Pharasees did in the bible, and Jesus had to come and show them that getting into heaven wasn’t about what you did or what you wore. Salvation is not earned, it is a gift. Jesus freed us from all that, so we reason that we no longer are required to wear our best stuff to church.

Another reason I’ve heard is that it is uncomfortable to dress for success at church, and therefore that distraction will divert our focus on what we should be doing at church: worshiping God. “How can I worship God if my mind is distracted because of the clothes I’m wearing?” is a phrase I’ve heard a friend say to me.

These are all good arguments.

So the question becomes, why did our parents dress up, and why did they make us kids dress up to go to church. Surely they knew all these arguments, right? Or were they dumber than us and didn’t figure this out. Or they must not have been as enlightened as we are today. Right?

But my question is how can non-Christian people around us take us seriously? Really? How can we stand up and sing wonderful songs, like the one from Jeremy Camp (“You Are Worthy of My Praise”), where the lyrics go:

I will bow down, and I’ll hail you as king
I will serve you, I will give you everything
I will lift up my eyes to your throne
I will trust you, I will trust you alone

I will give you all my worship
I will give you all my praise
You alone I long to worship
You alone are worthy of my praise

And yet, we refuse to offer to him “our best.”

Yep… Non-Christians are not taking us seriously, because our actions do not mesh with our words. You can say one thing, and do another. What does that make you? Right. A hypocrite.

It is important to make other people feel comfortable so that they’ll be willing to listen to us when we present the gospel to them. But I think that should be done outside the sanctuary of the church. Inside the sanctuary is a special place.

I don’t agree with casual church services. We’re losing something because we’re trying to make others feel comfortable, instead of bringing our best to our King. It is time we again ask the question. It is the one my parents asked: “Who is more important to you? Whom are you going to serve?”

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

What does dress for success at church have to do with making money? A lot. We’ll continue this discussion next time.

Photo Credit

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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  • http://www.AprilBraswell.com Dating After 40 Expert

    Hi Tim,

    What an excellent point indeed about Dressing for Success both for church and for life. If we are uncomfortable looking and dressing our best, how can we ever stretch ourselves to feel comfortable finally to do so? If we want to own our own business and make money God’s way, we need to treat ourselves and Him with appreciation and respect. Appropriately, of course. I don’t expect the construction worker owner to show up at the office in a 3 piece wool suit from Barney’s.

    Giving God our best in our Worship is what I see in scripture as well as in the practice.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Dating After 40 Expert