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How Should We Dress For Church?

Recently, we asked the question “What best describes your attire on a given Sunday…and why?” The question was based on an interesting I had with another worship leader from out of state who raised questions about my practice of wearing jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts while leading my home church in worship.  In his eyes, I should be leading in a suit and tie – in at least slacks and a polo.  I asked my colleague where that conclusion was drawn from and provided scriptural references to him as well.  While he provided no scriptural references of his own – he did implore me that we are to dress our best in respect for our God and to set an example for others.

I’ll pause there for a moment and let you get your thoughts wrapped around the subject – and then I’ll attempt to give you mine.

There are plenty of scriptures that discuss how we should dress:

James 2:1–4

2 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Luke 12:22–23 (ESV)

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

1 Peter 3:3–4

3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but theLord looks on the heart.”

 

While I am a firm believer that we should dress out of respect for our God as my colleague stated – that respect to me is one we will get to in just a moment.  To judge, though, and say that we have to wear X or Y is to attempt to personally devalue the sincerity of another’s worship and all-too-often over legalistic.  Even my worship leader friend was not clear on exactly what was expectable.  Is it a suit?  Or is it a polo?  There is quite a stretch there.  Why a polo?  Is it because a particular group of people think that that polos look nice?  What if someone thinks that polos are tacky?  Am I offending them?  What about my slacks?  Should they have pleats?  French cuffs?  Black or khaki?  What about the shirts I wear?  Am I being too “out there” if I wear…say…a blue oxford over a traditional white?  I can vividly remember working as a news anchor and being told that I shouldn’t wear anything other that a white shirt or have ANY facial hair because “both have been proven to show a lack of sincerity with viewers.”  What if I wear a blue shirt with my suit and my congregation thinks I lack sincerity?

Now I am starting to get awfully concerned about my ability to lead worship…or am I?  I hope you can detract from my humor and sarcasim and somehow view a point…because there is one.

There is an appropriate manner in which to dress…and it is one of modesty.  I don’t care if the women who lead with me wear jeans or a dress as long as either are modest in nature.  I care about the heart – and so does my God.

P.S. – I’m pretty sure that God would rock faux hawk and a pair of TOMS.

Your turn!  What do you think?  I know we all have opinions…and I am always up for respectful discussion.  Share your thoughts below in our live comments section.

2 thoughts on “How Should We Dress For Church?”

  1. jasonwhitehorn says:

    What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in our live comments section here. Ready for a healthy discussion? Lets go!

  2. Chad Hunter says:

    Good post Jason. Scripture really doesn't tell us how to dress, only to dress modestly 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and then 1 Peter 3:2-5 as you mentioned.. Actually scripture warns us not to judge how anyone dresses but rather what is in their heart.. So many churches are filled with people dressed to the nines (whatever that means) who are as far from God as they can get. We have much, much more to focus on than dress.

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