Note: The Chambersburg Public Opinion is doing an article on how people dress for church. They are interviewing Earl this morning and he asked me to write up something with some of my thoughts. Don’t know if any of this will get used or not, but thought I’d pass along for you to get my 2 cents on the subject.
I always tell people that how they dress is greatly dependent on their primary view of Jesus. If your primary view is that of ruler, King, authority figure, etc., then when you go to his house, you will probably get all dressed up. If however your primary view of Jesus is that of being your best friend, then you’ll probably dress more casual.
For me personally there are two aspects to it…one is personal and the other is professional. From a personal standpoint, if I were to visit with our governor or President I would get dressed up. The reason for that is to be respectful, but mostly I’m doing it for them because that’s what they would expect and possibly require and in some ways I’d be doing it trying to impress. On the other hand, if I go to my best friend Andy or Bill’s house in a suit, they are going to laugh at me. To them it’s not about what I look like, but rather what’s going on inside of me that counts. So for me personally, I don’t get dressed up for church because I choose to see Jesus as my best friend. It was Jesus Himself in Matthew 23 who condemned the “religious leaders” of His day for looking good on the outside, but on the inside being dead. I guess my point is Jesus couldn’t care less what you look like on the outside, it’s what’s going on inside you that He’s most concerned about.
Now from a professional stand point, we have a little joke in United that our dress code is, “Please Do”. One objection that un-churched people often have is, “I don’t have anything to wear so I can’t come to church”. I’ve had quite a few stories from people who said they were able to share, “Well our pastor usually wears jeans and a t-shirt to preach in so as long as you have something like that, you’ll fit right in”. In the same way I’ve had new people tell me how comfortable it made them feel and how much more relatable I was because of the casual environment. The apostle Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some”. So for me if dressing casually will help remove barriers that might be keeping people from coming into a relationship with Jesus then I’m all for it.