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Dressing Casual for Church

by Tamara Scott

Conviction is never comfortable and church shouldn't be casual.

We want everyone to feel comfortable. In fact, many churches now have "casual services" on Sunday morning where everyone is to feel welcome in their comfy duds, cut-offs, or capris.

Many churches promote casual dress under the philosophy of being "seeker friendly". What is seeker friendly? If I understand the phrase correctly, it means to welcome newcomers or non-believers. Shouldn't all Bible believing churches work to be seeker friendly? And if a church works to welcome non-believers shouldn't that church work even harder to model Godly examples rather than lowering standards to the world's behavior? How can we teach scriptures like "be ye not conformed to this world, but ye transformed" (Rom 12:2), when we're imitating everything the world is? Why would any visitor think we have something the world needs when we're working so hard to copy the world?

It seems the legalistic church of the past is working in overdrive to prove we are no longer judgmental and we welcome all. We should welcome all people, but not all things and certainly not all behaviors. Making visitors feel welcome is something we do with our hearts and our attitudes, not with our dress. Without the love of Jesus, you can still be a snob in a sweatsuit.

Unfortunately instead of teaching, training, and rebuking for the purpose of exhortation and glorifying God, too many congregations have begun to accommodate the often self-centered and sinful behaviors of man.

Somehow we've confused welcome with comfortable. The fact is; it won't matter if you're wearing a tie, tuxedo, t-shirt, or a turtleneck. It won't matter if you're a first-time visitor or a longtime elder. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, it's not comfortable! The truth of the cross is offensive to all who have sins that they have not yet repented of.

Let's be honest. We're not dressing "down" just for our visitors. Many "believers" enjoy the carefree lack-of-effort casual dress. In our own arrogance, we've deemed ourselves so worthy of God's love that we act like we're doing him a favor by showing up at all.

We've seemingly placed ourselves on a parallel with God that is scripturally unsound. If God instructed Moses, his chosen one, to remove his sandals for he was on Holy Ground, who are we to assume we're above showing respect? While it's true God looks at the heart and not our clothing, what is our heart saying when we refuse to honor him with our clothing? Where is our reverence? Are we to die to ourselves?

The sad truth is we put more thought into what we wear to most any other event than how we dress for church. We carefully consider what to wear to dinner with friends or a meeting with the boss. Race fans wear t-shirts with the car number of their hero. Sports fans wear the jerseys of their favorite players. Why? To show honor. We think it's cool, it shows we're loyal fans. Where is our loyalty to the Lord?

We used to call it "Sunday best" when I was kid. Not everyone wore suits to church, but you knew they had taken special care to be clean, respectful, and wear "their" best to church.

There is nothing casual about walking with the Lord or the worship experience. It's not about comfort or current fashion trends, it's about reverence, respect, and gratitude. God gave his only son to die a cruel and painful death for our sins. When we dress casually, we invite a casual mindset towards church. We risk dishonoring Christ's supreme sacrifice. Attending church and worshiping is not suppose to be a casual experience. And if it becomes so - for any of us, we should carefully examine ourselves for we have likely become lukewarm; and if you are unsure how God feels about lukewarm check out (Revelation 3:16).

"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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