April 17, 2021

When Going to Church, What do you Wear?

So, how should one dress to go to church?  Dear Abby takes up this question and posts many different responses, but agrees with the first writer in that there should be some deal of respect involved.  But what should one wear?

One line of thinking is that Sunday is just one day out the week, and we are to worship God wherever we are, so why not wear what we wear to worship God everywhere else?  God looks at the heart, not at the outward appearance, right?  So why should I care if I’m in jeans with a tear and a beat up t-shirt?

However, I subscribe more to the reverential tone.  Since what meeting at church is all about is giving worship to God, why shouldn’t I dress more presentable than normal?  Most of the time I’m worshipping while doing something– like worshipping through this blog.  However, when we get together corporately, I’m encouraging worship in myself and others by the way I present myself before the Creator of the Universe.

Where you you stand?

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14 thoughts on “When Going to Church, What do you Wear?

  1. God looks at the heart, not at the outward appearance, right?
    Yes, that’s exactly right. You can call me liberal, but I don’t think God gives a flip what you wear. I think that’s the least of his concern. I think that when God changes you from the inside out, you eventually realize that maybe you shouldn’t wear that halter top to church. However, I don’t think God frowns on those that do. I think he is overjoyed to see someone interested him, trying to figure out what all this “God stuff” is about. So, I understand that you want to wear your best, but what about the guy who’s best is torn jeans and a t-shirt? Is it okay then? If so, who writes these rules? Who decides when an exception should be made?
    I’ll tell you why I decided this. I used to go to a VERY conservative Southern Baptist church. The pastor openly stated from the pulpit what he thought was ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ attire for church. He went so far as to say that shorts were ‘unacceptable’ at church. Then he added, “Oh, but if you’re not a Christian, then it’s okay, because that just means God hasn’t convicted you of that yet.” I wanted to shout, “What the hell?!” at this point. I think God is more upset at him for saying that, than at a guy wearing torn jeans (or a woman wearing a low cut top) to church.
    Do I wear low cut shirts to church? No, I don’t. But I think Jesus loves that woman that does, and that man that wears the torn jeans, so I want to love them too. And maybe, just maybe, they will see God’s love through me. But they’ll never see it if I’m in the corner talking about what attire is ‘appropriate’.
    Okay, so I’m all over the place in this response. I guess it’s the drowsiness that is overcoming me, so forgive my rambling. (And please don’t tell me about my grammar or spelling mistakes. I’m sure I’ll read this again later and think, ‘Dang! There’s a mistake!!’)

  2. I have several thoughts on this subject. I, too, was raised in a rather strict (although not the most strict) church as far as attire goes. I still think that church’s stand was a bit legalistic. I now attend a Southern Baptist church that is a lot more laid back about attire.

    I think it is a matter of conviction to a point. I feel like I should dress nicely out of respect for what church is all about. I also think people tend to get into a “how flashy can I dress” mode that can also hinder worship. So I really believe it is a heart issue.

    I have been in churches before where someone who didn’t wear something nice was given disapproving looks by all the deacons through the entire sermon. Yet, what they wore did not hinder worship (or shouldn’t have anyway.) I especially think we should be careful with this when it comes to visitors or people who do not have much financially.

    On the other hand, when women wear inappropriate attire to church, such as midriff bearing shirts, halter tops, short shorts or skirts, that is definately taking away from worship. I know God still loves that person, but he would love someone who showed up to church naked. And I doubt very few people would approve of that!

    As far as wearing what you always wear because you should worship all the time….well, I feel that inappropriate clothing shouldn’t be worn in public at all. So that is one that is definately out for me! We women forget how easy it is for a man’s thoughts to stray to the sexual. It’s the way they are programmed and when we wear things to church that hurt our brother we are definately sinning.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Okay…away from the inappropriate. I do not have a problem with someone wearing jeans and a t-shirt to church. I do on occassion….mostly at a night service or when I’ve left work and have to go straight to church. Or if I’m planning on setting up for VBS all afternoon after church is over. But I do think when we spend time on our appearance and dress we are showing God that we feel what we are doing is worth a little extra time and energy.

    I don’t think it’s wrong to dress down/dress up for corportate worship. But I think you should consider why you are/are not doing it. Is it a heart issue? Are you being rebellious? Are you just showing off that you have lots of fine clothing?

    And lastly, I think the clothing issue (aside from inappropriate dress-sexually stimulating clothing) dress is not the real issue. Worship is. If what you wear or the reason you wear something hinders your worship you should prayerfully consider doing something about it. Like asking God to make him the focus of your worship….and not yourself.

    I was kinda all over the place as well. Hope some of that made sense!

  3. I appreciate your responses. I think you’re both hitting on a major and important point. What we show on the outside IS a reflection of who we are on the inside. I tend to dress up because I always have and because I view it as the least I can do for a Savior who died for me. But that can also go so far as being a show off. A lot of it has to do with where you are attending.

    But then you get the girl who walks into church off the street with an “Unbutton your fly” t-shirt. Is that appropriate? There’s definitley a line, and definitely a gray area.

    What’s important here is what Bethany hit on:
    1. You need to look at your heart attitude.
    2. You need to be careful not to be a stumbling block to others.

    The second point could mean that you have to dress up or down depending on what’s going on in the body you’re fellowshipping with.

  4. I do dress casually at the evening service, but I dress up in the mornings. The church I attend is very very casual, because we started out ministering to street people who were homeless or just plain down and out. We basically let them know that God loved them no matter what.

    A lot of people in our church do not have a lot of money, myself included, and we dress as well as we can. Now I have gotten a little upset seeing some of these girls in halter tops and very short skirts or torn pants, come on! Everyone has at least one good pair of jeans or tops.

    I think as time goes by and some of these people realize that God is just as important as an interview or job that they will have conviction to dress it up a tad.

    Great post MIn!

  5. I agree that one should look his best when he walks into the house of the Lord, but the thing about that is, only God knows what his best is at that time. The reason I say that is because we suffered an apt complex fire back in April and lost most of our things. My son and I had to relocate and start over. Since then we have been going to church in jeans and tennis shoes since that’s all we have right now. I know some people may not understand that when they see us, but God knows! It’s been a very humbling experience. As long as you realize that you’re in the house of the Lord and you wear the best you can, He knows your heart. It’s not about what people think.:-)

  6. And it’s definitely something that we should not be judging others unless they cross the line into sin. If it’s bugging someone, they should talk to the person and not gossip about it– like you said, Rachel, circumstances could have caused their situation.

  7. I’m with you on the reverence thing. While I believe God does look on the heart and that is far more important than what we are wearing, I feel it is respectful to wear your better clothing for church. Clothing that is holy and modest. However if someone shows up to church in jeans and tshirt, or even dressed immodestly, nobody should look down their nose at them or make them feel inferior in anyway. As God works on their hearts the outward will change. But it’s up to God to do that work.

    I’ve often wondered what would Jesus wear if he came to our church? And would we accept Him?

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  9. I do agree that God can see the heart and bases his judgement on that. Still, I think he want to see us make some effort. In fact, I like to say God is from the “show me” state.

    Sure we may be saved by Grace, and of course God knows our heart, so actions may be futile, but I think God is a proof is in the pudding type of Father, and applauds actions that clearly show that you believe rather than just say it, even if he can see past your words and actions. He wants others to see what he already can…and one of the best ways is vis example, words and actions.

    And, if attire doesn’t matter, why does church even matter. God knows whether we are worshiping him (sincerely) or not despite us joining together with a crowd or alone. But, much like there is safety in numbers, there is strength in numbers too and you never know who you’ll inspire or who’ll inspire you…but you’ve got to be in it to win it.

    As far as appearance. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t care, just like a parent wouldn’t care “how” you showed up for a visit as long as you paid one. But, they’d likely be saddened, if not “worried” if you continuely showed up tacid and torn, especially for a more “formal” occassion or gathering. Would you show up for a b-day party in sweats or to a company party in ripped jeans? If you’re answer is no, then why show up to church like that. It’s really not a matter of God caring but about YOU showing a bit of respect.

  10. The Gospel of James talks about how faith without works is dead. If you have faith, you’re going to want to share it, you’re going to live it, you’re going to bring forth fruit. What we wear is just one thing that shows what’s in our heart.

  11. I just want to say that every posted note had some great insight! But I wanted to ask everyone a question? What would you wear if you had a personal appointment with the President of the United States or the Queen of England or dinner with your Pastor. Would you not come in your best attire, out of respect! (be honest). How much more should we respect the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, our Lord and Savior. If we believe that God shows up in our service, the God that created the Universe we should want to give him our best out of our heart. God meets man where he is. If your best is jeans and flip flops then be it. But as God begins to bless you, begin to bless him back with your best. I am a minister and a Buissness owner. When I interview someone for a job, I dont judge no one for what they wear. But I do have to evaluate them to see if they respect me as an employer and themselves as a person.(I have bought many of my employees clothing, and they greatly appreciated it) My job description is serving one another. Customer service is what I do for my buissness and for the Lord Jesus. I represent the King of Kings everywhere I go. When it comes to customer service or winning souls people are looking for some one to raise them up. They can only receive that from someone they respect. When you go out for a nice dinner how do you want you server to look or your pilot on a plane or your President. You want someone that represents them well. Well child of God you are a Kings Kid. You are Blessed and highly favored. Represent the kingdom with your best. As you do God will begin to pour out his best on you. May God Bless You All.

    1. It’s always a good point when someone make this point, and yet there is a rebuttal. Playing Devil’s Advocate — Since God isn’t physically present at church, and He is everywhere, would that mean that we’d have to dress up everywhere?

      To me the question of respect has to go with why we get together– to worship. It’s the single focus, and that means it should be a set apart day. That folds itself in well with wanting to look/wear your best.

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