What dress code is appropriate for Christian worship in a public assembly?

Especially, is there a dress code for teachers and preachers?

Clarify Share Report Asked March 13 2014 Open uri20150816 3767 1tn9rak mark wilkinson

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Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
It does not matter whether the clothes one wears are nice or worn, or whether they are casual or dressy. One should wear whatever they personally feel is appropriate, according to the means of what they have to wear. Some might personally choose to dress up as a mark of respect and giving one's best to God, others might choose to dress casually as a mark of our freedom in Christ and equality with other believers. None of these choices or convictions is superior to another.

That said, there is a general dress code that applies no matter the culture or personal belief. This following dress code should apply in most instances, whether a church group is conservative or casual:

Wear whatever is modest. (I Tim 2:9, Phil 4:8, Prov 6:25-26)

One should wear, provided they have the option, something that fits with the standard of modesty in the region. In some countries this may mean wearing sleeves, or women will need to wear dresses below the knees or skirts instead of pants. In others, the culture might be fine with shorts. 

Our freedom in Christ should not be used in a manner that will become a stumbling block for other cultures or unbelievers.

In general, to be modest means to wear what is covering, and appropriate for at least standard day wear for the region. Beachwear (unless the worship session is on the beach), bedroom wear, and trashy party wear are not appropriate.

Modesty is the opposite of being provocative. One can be provocative by purposefully inciting lust in others. (Isaiah 3:16) One can also incite the lust of the eyes by purposefully following fads in order to make others jealous, or in an attempt to be popular. (I Peter 3:1-4, James 2:1-4)

This is even more important for leaders in the church - whether the pastor or worship leader, etc, as they set the example.

Modesty shows humility, reverence to God, respect of other individuals, respect of other cultures, and a temperance of spirit.

This leads into the next 'dress standard':

Wear whatever is respectful and appropriate  (Matt 22:8-14, Esther 2:12-16)

This is very similar to modesty, but is more particular in its expression. Much as it would be inappropriate to show up at an American funeral wearing white or a clown costume, so there are instances where a form of dress is expected by a culture or group. More commonly, certain forms of dress are unexpected and considered irreverent.

Examples: A t-shirt might be covering, but is the crass slogan on it respectful? Is a man attended church fully clothed - but in a woman's dress? The comfy sweats might be great for relaxing at the house, but are they appropriate for an audience with the Queen?

Examples of disrespectful clothing for a worship meeting, in general, would be clothes with insulting or anti-God slogans, pajamas, cross-dressing, etc.

The last general guideline of dress deals more with the heart:

Wear whatever is humble. (I Tim 2:9, I Pet 3:3-4)

This does not mean that one must attend church in sackcloth and ashes, or that one can never dress up. Rather, one's dress should not be designed to give off a false impression (wealthier, smarter, more fashionable, etc). Our trust should not be in clothes, but in the one who provides us clothing. (Matt 6:28-29)

Our concentration should be on our inner-self and the reason we have come to worship, vs. Concerning ourselves with what fellow-worshipers will think about our new outfit.

Conversely, we are not to judge other believers on the clothes they wear, whether as to their spiritual status ('With that designer dress she must be a fake and a diva') or as to their physical status (He looks homeless with that baggy, dirty coat, I hope he doesn't sit by me!) Rather, we are to treat everyone with respect and love as equals, as fellow children of God (James 2:1-13).

These basic guidelines should help in determining what is appropriate dress for worship in most situations.

December 27 2014 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Rick Martin
It all depends on what part of the country you are in. I've lived in southern California where shorts and a nice short sleeve shirt is the dress code and other parts of the country where khaki slacks were "dressing down". My current church has a new pastor and he changed it up from sports coats and slacks to jeans and an untucked button down oxford as the standard. (I still tuck in mine.) 

I think the REAL question is "What is your target demographic?" Who are you trying to draw into the church or what is the main demographic of the church that you want to appeal to. The answer may be that a suit is in order or it may be that shorts and a nice short sleeve button down work fine. This is a very personal question to the church and a good inventory of the congregation is in order. 

I believe the Bible only speaks to not being a distraction or hindrance to others. But that applies in all that we do, not just in the way we dress, but how we speak, how we react to others, whether we drink or not and if so when and when not to, etc. 

If you have some ideas about how you want to change it up, bring it up with the elders/deacons/governing leadership and get their feedback, then make your own decision from there.


March 13 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Dq 3 Don Quinn Maintenance Man at a senior apartment building.
It is my opinion that appropriate dress codes for Christians in a public assembly depends on the assembly. Since I am a maintenance man my work clothes are what I wear while on the job and if I go to meetings right after work. For worship service that is altogether different. In saying that since I am on call and when it snows I have to go to work and shovel the snow, I have on occasion just made it to the worship service in my work clothes (rather than missing by going home and changing). Most other times it is with coat and tie.

Churches for the most part accept the dress code as outlined by their Pastors. For instance in my former Church my pastor was considered old school and women could not wear pants in service. 1Timothy 2:9. The church I attend now its accepted and men are preferred in either suits or coats and ties. We do have a causal 4th Sunday, where business or regular causal is accepted. People attend where they feel comfortable wearing what they like or feel is appropriate.

I stand by the concept in offering my best to the Lord when I am in his house. Yet other churches offer causal Sundays all the time. I believe you come to church as your wardrobe dictates as long as you present your best before him. If your pastor says no pants for women then you either accept that or not out of respect to him being the pastor.

November 18 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Daniel Ellenwood EX Military/civilian Truck Driver..Now Retired.
I don't think it matters what the community standards are because society has declined in what was once appropriate. I don't think personal convictions matter because I have seen some women who have the freedom to show off cleavage or wear their skirt too short without the least conviction! It appears that in a country of declining values and the media showing less and less coverage on the body, It seems that people's convictions have stayed just a notch above.

Scripture says that God does not dwell in a house made with human hands, Acts 7:48. God see's us at home In the shower, And where ever we don't want others to see us. Point being that we cant impress the Lord with our dress as He see's us how we are, So we should not be concerned hat others or a King or Queen will be impressed with our dress!

Our concern should be NOT TO OFFEND that who is our Brother or Sister in Christ, And for the unbeliever to see us as modest and not like we just came from a Club! I personally wear casual to Church, Worship, Or any other social function like I would go to a job interview.

November 25 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini JERRY Wood
Regardless how poor you can always have clean clothes no matter how ragged. We are living in a day when many people think it is all about them which is a lie; actually it is all about Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, so dress for Him.

November 26 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Matthew Vance
There is a song from ken Holloway: "Fit for a King!" It says, "These rags that I'm wearing will be fit for a king." I understand that he knows the intent of our hearts, the number of hairs on our head are even numbered. Just think: he is with you at all times, correct? We need to be appropriate, but some just don't have the money to buy a suit or other expensive clothes. 

My dad has been a pastor for 37 years and I've seen people come to church in clothing covered in concrete. They showed respect and put something in the seat or even stood. And the blessing the lord gave them was great because they made the effort. 

On the other side of it, at a Sunday school picnic one year he sent some home because what they were wearing was not appropriate for a church function. 

If you're dressed and covered on the outside in the best or the worst, it doesn't matter. What matters is how the heart is dressed.

November 19 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Bryan Myers Minister of the Body of Christ
The clothes one wears to worship have little bearing on standing in Christ. To clarify, if one wears the best clean clothes they have even if they are worn that should be acceptable before God. God looks to the heart, not to exterior adornment. Inversely, if one is finely dressed and only there to be seen of others surely they have their reward.

November 24 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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