What not to wear: in Church

Would you wear a hat to Church? What about jeans?

Should the preacher wear a robe?

We had some really good discussion about this yesterday.  Right after we walked-through this Sunday’s message about excessive use of media.

Here was our challenge: all of us in the discussion were raised in Church, and fairly traditional church at that.

My mom regularly wore a hat to Church when I was younger

I never -NEVER – wore jeans to Sunday morning Church until I was almost 50.

Almost 20 years ago, I visited Windsor Village United Methodist Church. It was, at the time, one of the largest United Methodist congregations and one of the fastest growing.  The couple sitting next to me were active members and had been for years.  They were dressed better than I’ll ever hope to dress.

When Kirbyjon Caldwell, the Senior Pastor appeared, though, he was in khakis and a polo shirt.

Having been a pastor for several years already, I had never dared to show up on a Sunday morning without a tie.  So, I asked my neighbor, “does he always dress like that for worship?”

“Not always, but often,” she responded. “We have always said Windsor Village is a ‘come as you are’ church; you don’t have to dress up to be a part.”  She continued, “but visitors didn’t believe us until Pastor got out of the suits and clerical robes.”

We could spend a lot of time here arguing that how one comes before God in worship shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but it does.  We are social creatures.  I am pretty sure God made us this way, and, indeed, that God is this way.

So how do we find the place between “it makes absolutely no difference what you wear to church” and requiring veritable uniforms for folks to be part of your congregation?

We won’t get there by setting requirements or clearly defined lists of “do’s and don’ts”

Neither will we get there by saying nothing matter.

I believe we get there by having honest-as-possible conversations with others and internally about our expectations. But this is beyond your expectations and mine.  We need to talk openly about how we understand or articulate what we think God expects. And about the difference between the two.

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