How to Dress for Church – Just Stop!
By Chris Rathbone
Years ago, after a Wednesday evening service, my wife and I stopped at a local grocery store to pick up a few things we needed. After going up and down several aisles, we crossed paths with a local pastor. He was dressed up really nicely with a suit and tie. After a few words of greeting, he looked me up and down and asked, “Aren’t you preaching anymore?” This man knew me and my wife pretty well and knew we had just left the service of the church where I was serving as interim pastor at the time. It was quite obvious by the way he looked us up and down that he disapproved of the fact that I didn’t have a suit on. We were dressed nice. I was wearing khaki pants and a collared polo. The point he was making without saying it in words was that he disapproved of the fact that I didn’t preach that evening in a suit and tie. The look on his face was one of disdain, disapproval, and to be quite honest, hateful.
Now let me give you a little background. The church I was serving in at the time had Bible study and prayer time on Wednesday evenings. It was a casual setting where we studied through books of the Bible. Most folks, including my wife and I, were doing all they could to get off of work, get cleaned up, eat some supper, and get to church on time. Many of those who chose to come to church on Wednesday evenings did so without supper and wore the clothes they had worked in all day. Often, after we had already started, I would see some folks slip in the door and quietly take a seat in the back of the church wearing their work uniform. They just simply did not have time to go home and get all prettied up but did all they could to get to the service.
Many times over the years, people have approached me after a service and apologized for having to wear their work clothes to either a mid-week service or even on a Sunday morning. I’ve had dedicated members of all churches I’ve pastored leave work to attend worship and then return to work again after it was over. In every case, not one time did I feel the need to scold someone over the way they were dressed. To be honest, they impressed me with their dedication. The fact that they had such a desire to be there to worship and learn more about their Savior was a great blessing to this preacher.
Now before you start your sermon, let me say that I have spoken to the subject of modest clothing on many occasions. With all my heart I believe in being respectful and decent in the way that we dress as Christians. The issue I have is when we make it a point to judge the content or intent of someone’s heart when they are not dressed in a manner in which we would choose. The fact that I was judged by another Christian brother based on not wearing a suit opened my eyes to what a lot of folks may feel when they attend church perhaps for the first time. Let me give you an example
One Sunday morning during the Sunday School hour, several of us were getting things together for the worship service. The door opened to the sanctuary and in walked a man I knew pretty well. He was dressed in his work clothes and boots. He made it about halfway down the aisle before collapsing and literally crawling to the altar sobbing as he made his way and leaving grease marks on the carpet. We spent the next 20 minutes crying out to God on this man’s behalf as he wept in repentance. Now, what if I had stopped him at the door and told him he needed to go home and clean up?! Let’s stop with our legalistic way of thinking. Let’s stop with the attitude that the way we may choose to dress makes us more holy and righteous than others. Let’s stop looking at the outward appearance of people and strive to look to the needs of their hearts. Do you know why? Because that’s exactly what Jesus would do! So, JUST STOP!
In Christ, Preacher Chris James 2:1 “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.”
Preacher Chris Rathbone is the former Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church and is now serving the Lord as needed while preaching the Gospel. You can read more Good Christian News from Pastor Chris HERE.
You can connect with Preacher Chris on Facebook HERE.