Recently I noticed a major shift in church as I knew it. It was a gradual process and for some time I never paid attention to it . And then one day my mother pointed it out to me. I don’t know if you have ever thought about it and maybe you have never done it …but there is a decline in people actually dressing up to come to church . And the funny thing about this , there is some historical repetition to this and we probably aren’t even aware of it.

In this day and time jeans and tee shirts have become the norm in church . I have wondered often , is our relaxed look making our faith more relaxed and lackluster?  Do we believe that God desires our best or is he comfortable with our, ” that will do ? ” I have personally noticed the lack of respect for the House God in recent years. And I’ve blamed a lot of things on this but I never thought that it could be our appearance that is causing us to disrespect the church .

So let’s get into the reason why we dress for church . We can go back as early as in the Corinthian church where you notice that the women had to cover their heads …there was probably some sort of set aside piece that was only adorn on the Sabbath day . Also further back than that we can talk about the robes the priest had to wear , it also mentioned colors that must have been worn to certain events .  In modern times you can notice that slave women wore hats to church .  They put ribbons or flowers on their hats, why? Well its was the only way that they could have a little individuality because during the work week they were made to wear uniforms . If they could have one day where they could be uniquely them it was on the church day .

John Wesley the man who’s the founder of the Methodist movement often condemned dressing up for church . He thought it had little to do with salvation and more to do with a wealthy lifestyle . And of course it did because it was costly to find fabrics that had colors , and people who could make your clothing for a small fee. It would be equivalent to us shopping at Saks for all of our clothing . And not the sales rack .

And often that put so much emphasis to the one’s who couldn’t afford to come to church with fancy clothes. I guess that’s where the phrase , ” come as you are , ” comes from . Maybe?! But that doesn’t mean that they put on just  anything to come to church.  After his desire to get the church to pay more attention to the inside a rebellion broke out and the wealthier people and the wanna be wealthy people said , NO Sir! We are going to wear our fine clothing , God has blessed us to buy them and so we are going to wear them.

The funny thing about John Wesley’s idea of clothing was… the more flasher the clothes were the more worldly they were . Which makes you think . I was born into a holiness church that neither believed in make up or women wearing pants,  I wonder if they knew that those hats and those loud color suites were equivalent to the same disrespect that they thought make up and pants had, would they still tell me I was going to hell for my red lipstick and shorts?

Wearing clothes goes way beyond just a Sunday Morning fashion show . To my surprise when people started making more money of course they dressed better and then they were participants in church . They started to purchase pews with their names inscribed in the sides. This was just almost  as great as purchasing your first home. Now I really knew it was a significance in the relax church of today from the  dressy church of my youth but I never thought of its significance in relations to how people give to the church .

Of course now clothes are so much cheaper now , factories were introduced and no longer did people pay a great deal for fine clothing. But those working class individuals still found enough strength to continue the tradition of dressing up in their Sunday Best.

So what happened? Why have we allowed our values diminish us to just tee shirts and chucks to Sunday worship? Why have we lost so much respect for the house of God? And with this less prideful attempts to Christianity we have stopped being participants. We no longer think we are worthy to pay tithes let alone purchase a pew. We walk in church and walk out with no responsiblity . We pay people to play music, to clean the church , to do the church books. We have renamed ourselves some business name and attach a 501c3 to it . Now we can’t  talk about God , we have to accept you in our church even if you believe differently than the church does. We have a constant fear of being sued. People hate us when we give to much and too less. Even when the funds are significantly reduced bc the new church doesn’t believe in giving .

Wow I never thought I would gather so much information off one simple example of the new church . Please share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you .




7 thoughts on “Casual vs Dressy”

  1. Ok. So I totally agree with you on this, although I didn’t used to. I used to see church as peacocks on parade! Primping and doing extra stuff for people to see and be seen.

    I started to wear sweat pants and gym work out clothes, I generally went to the Y after church and so I figured, I worship God wherever I go, why am I doing extra for man kind who have no heaven or hell to put me in? Not to mention I wasn’t comfortable in certain clothes. I found a relaxing freedom in dressing down for church.

    The problem? I was a minister. I was constantly being criticized by people for looking ‘bad’. I would usually get offended because how basic can you be if you are judging me for dressing down and not my service and gifts? I would see other people wear for fitting “church” clothes, the long stuff that ‘covered’ but showed everything. The sparkiling queens, tons of fake jewels and hair down up to rival Marg Simpson! Don’t get me started on the suited and booted adulteres and theives.

    What changed? God spoke to me one day and I compared The packaging of a Dell computer and the packaging of an Apple Mac Book. Girl the Dell was in a plain cardboard casing, minmal writing. Very basic. The Mac book… It came with special stuff. Like it was super fancy. Everything in it’s own casing. The box looked like a briefcase. God said that men are are like sheep, they pay attention to the presentation and are easily led astray. If you want to serve me, don’t be distraction bringing division but adorn temple with what pleases.

    Essentially I had to get over myself. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t presenting myself as a billboard for the Excellency of a life lived in Christ. I was boarder line hobo ish…. #stilllearning

    1. awesome…isn’t it funny that we don’t realize how we can win people to God based alone by our appearance . Its more of an attraction and then the salvation comes. I love your story .

  2. Nice topic discussion:
    I’ve noticed people have started to dress down while attending church and other dress-up worthy events. I was born in the lat ’70s – grew up in the ’80’s and mid ’90’s. When attending, my family and I always dressed up for church. I know of no other way to attend church or the temple. If I dressed down for church, I would feel like I am not respecting the church; representing or displaying a good reflection of my family upbringing in a good light nor myself. I would feel underdressed and out of place wearing jeans, tshirt and gym shoes to church. If that’s all you have; then wear what you have. If you have your “Sunday or Saturday Best”; then dress up for church and every occassion that allows visual expression of you (message), your style and flair to the world. Notice how many doors are politely held open for you with your “Sunday Best” versus jeans; there’s a certain air (walk) of confidence exuded!

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