Should Christians Dress Up For Church?

by Dale Partridge

In the West, we’ve been dressing down for several decades. Casual culture has infiltrated society and the vast majority of Christians have followed suit. Some men wear sandals and tanktops to church in the summer and some women wear mini-skirts or even leggings as pants. This trend from formal to casual began in the 1960’s as a reaction to the stalwart view of the orthodox Christian church. In an effort to attract more visitors, we began stripping anything “churchy” from the gathering and replaced it with something less historical and more consistent with the modern culture—including dress. But what does the Bible say about dress and church? Are there any principles for modifying our outward appearance to reflect our inward reality? What about pastors? Should their clothing be a tool to distinguish themselves in the role they’re in, or should they use clothing as a way to make themselves more relatable to their congregation?

In this episode of Real Christianity, pastor Dale Partridge shares his insight on the matter of how to dress for church.

This Episode’s Question

“Pastor Dale, I’m a young adult pastor in the Greater Houston area and our church is very casual regarding clothing. There is no church standard for clothing and even our staff isn’t the greatest example. In fact, in our young adult’s group, I often need to remind them about modesty, sloppiness, and not to wear t-shirts with worldly phrases printed on them. In many ways, it can feel like our church (especially the young people) are trying harder to fit in with the world than they are trying to look different from it. I know the Bible doesn’t specifically speak to how we are to dress at church, but do you have any principles that may be helpful for me as the pastor?

Franklin -Houston, Texas

Additional Resources

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Scripture References

  • Acts 20:28

    “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”

  • James 3:1

    “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

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After watching or listening to this episode, what is your opinion? Do you have any questions or comments? Maybe you have something to add to the discussion? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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