How You Lookin'?

A few weeks back on a Sunday morning prior to the start of our first morning worship gathering, I noticed a man and woman standing at the back door that I had not previously seen. The two were dressed to the inth degree, three piece suit and tie, with matching handkerchief, formal dress, with plenty of flashy jewelry to boot. They stood with a look of dismay on their faces. I went to greet them and introduce myself.

After the pleasantries were exchanged the gentleman informed me that they were first time guests and had decided not to join our worship gathering that morning. When asked why he proceeded to tell me that he was very put off by how informal we as a church dressed. He went as far as to state that we had let the world creep in and take hold of us. He made it clear that God would not be pleased with our worship because of the way we dressed. After a little more discussion the man and his wife left and I was left with a saddened heart. Saddened that this couple had reduced worship and the Church, down to a service in which we dress to impress.

If it is indeed true that God looks at the heart and not the outer appearance of man (1 Samuel 16:7), and that worship is much more than a weekly gathering (Romans 12:1) then it most likely is for the benefit of man that we feel compelled to dress up, and "look the part." Am I saying dressing in your "Sunday best" to attend a worship service is wrong? Not at all. What I am saying is we need to first search our hearts and see if we are truly following after Christ's heart and worshiping him daily in spirit and in truth with our very lives (John 4:24, Romans 12:1), and are living out the role of the church on a daily basis (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). If that is our heart then I believe how we dress is irrelevant.

How do you say a follower of Jesus should look, dress, and act?

On a less serious note: I love that the Christ follower is the "Mac user."


muzik316 said...

You can always tell the visitors at our church. However my friends dad comes every now and then (he's a pastor) and dresses to the nines everytime. I think sometimes he does it to spite our church. He has had issues with his son coming (He's 20 something). Man, I wish we could get past this whole outward dress thing.

Michael Rew said...

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?" (James 2:1-4).

I would refer to this passage to rebuke anyone who would require formal attire at church services, because I like to wear shorts and T-shirts to church, even when I stand out because of it. However, two words jumped out at me the last time I read this passage: "poor man."

I may not be rich by American standards, but I am not a poor man, either. Nice clothes can be bought inexpensively from thrift stores and on sale, and one church I attended that preferred formal attire for members had a clothes closet in the bishop's basement with all kinds of suits to give away.

Why does it matter? It does not matter to God, but it can matter to man and become a distraction when he needs to focus on God. One traveling minister who came to my old church word a suit when he stood to preach for this very reason. He did not want anyone to dismiss his message if he dressed too casually, even if he would dress casually at his own church at home and in casual company.

Still...I would prefer shorts and T-shirts! :-)

Anonymous said...

The couple you spoke of - their reaction does not surprise me. I see it coming from both directions. Some people who dress casualy are not loving, kind and understanding toward those who dress up or prefer a coporate formal worship, etc. It is sad that people have been trained to put so much emphasis on clothing, outward appearances,traditions,when we know God looks at, and knows our hearts and sees our actions and lives. Not sure I totally like the video, though I understand what it is tryng to say. I am a follower of Christ, a Christ follower, a Christian - "one who professes beleif in the teachings of Jesus Christ"

Cody Mummau said...

I liked the video. I understand 'anonymous' reservation of thumping the word Christian because of the way some Christian's behave. Much in the same way that I won't give up being called an American because of the way some American's behave.

I definitely do like the video and discussion. I do believe it stems both ways. I have seen plenty of people criticize or at least comment on someone who gets up and speaks with a tie on. It's just silly. There are some weeks I just feel like dressing up a little more than others.

We definitely need to be the ones to bring people back to a correct focus...Jesus. Engaging in it one way or the other is not healthy!

Thanks for the post

Anonymous said...

The bigger question is what it means to worship. Too often we reduce it to the style of music that we have or, in this case, what we wear. Worship is an attitude of the heart--we should be in worship all the time.
A great book I read expanded on this and helped me a lot with my own misconceptions: "Wired for A Life of Worship" by Louie Giglio. I wonder what the couple you met would think of the book!

Post a Comment