#11: Quit Caring About a Dress Code

#11: Quit Caring About a Dress Code

April 28, 2016 by

That's How We've Always Done It: Is Your Church Ready to Quit? 166 Ways to Be a QuitterEvery Thursday Bob Goff quits something. We wrote a book about it: Is Your Church Ready to Quit? 166 Ways to Be a Quitter. You can get a free preview, buy it now or enjoy this sample:

#11: Quit caring more about how people dress than the state of their soul.

Believe it or not, this chapter is still needed in a book about things the church needs to quit. It seems like we’ve been having this discussion for three decades, but churches still have unspoken rules about what to wear. Your Sunday best is a cultural tradition, not a biblical mandate. When churches strive to be respectable, they’re kind of missing the point.

It seems pretty clear that God is interested in something else:

“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me … Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” -Isaiah 1:13,16-17, NIV

By the way, before you swell with pride because your church is a jeans and T-shirt kind of place, how does someone feel when they walk in all dressed up? Is there the same freedom to dress up as there is to dress down?

You can get more straight-up honesty like that when you buy the whole book: Is Your Church Ready to Quit? 166 Ways to Be a Quitter.

“When churches strive to be respectable, they’re kind of missing the point.”

We’re Good at Judging Outward Appearances

This seems like a chapter we could have left out. If only.

Sadly, too many churches are here: Whether we’re dressing up or down, we’re too concerned about outward appearances. People are good at judging one another, and Christians, it seems, are the best.

I remember being a fervent middle schooler, striving to love God and be a good Christian. I didn’t always know what that meant, but I so wanted to get it right. Let’s be clear: I was a dork. I wasn’t into goth or punk or anything objectionable (unless you count Looney Tunes ties, which were objectionable for a whole other reason).

But one thing that was objectionable: Wearing hats in the sanctuary.

I get it. They were trying to foster an atmosphere of respect. We need to come before God with humility.

But it all goes off the rails when you give an eager kid dirty looks. Never mind if some daring teenager showed up in something more objectionable than a baseball cap. (And that assumes said daring teenager would ever want to show up—something that’s always taken for granted in these ‘what if’ scenarios.)

We all have our own cultural expectations (and baggage), but let’s put it aside when we come together as the church.


Maybe it's time to quit?

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Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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