Abandoning the Suit and Tie

I think I’m going to stop wearing a suit and tie to church on Sunday mornings.

Most people who live around the church I pastor don’t wear business suits or ties on a daily basis, so why should they be expected to dress like that for worship? 

I was raised to dress up for church, and so were most of the people who attended Zion Hill when I arrived. We always say “come as you are,” but on any given Sunday, almost everyone in the house will be decked out in their “Sunday best.”

In fact, I think it would make your typical dyed-in-the-wool Baptist uncomfortable to come to church on a Sunday morning in jeans and a T-shirt.

At the same time, I think it would make a typical Los Angeles resident uncomfortable to put on a suit and tie just to come to church.

So, with all other aspects of worship remaining the same, which one makes more sense: Encouraging seekers and guests to dress up in order to fit in, even if it makes them uncomfortable? Or, encouraging church members to dress down so that seekers and guests (and many members) can feel more comfortable?

I can say “come as you are” till the cows come home, but the best way to dress the culture of a church down is for the pastor to start dressing down.

This is actually a pretty big deal for me. I remember trying to wear one of my Parker Lewis rayon shirts to church in junior high and my father explicitly telling me that “we always wear ties to church.” I see where he was coming from, and it happened to be just the discipline I needed at that point. But if dressing up stops people from coming to Christ, dressing up is a sin.

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One response to “Abandoning the Suit and Tie

  1. I remember this discussion, from the last big recession, in the 80’s. I think it’s a good choice. it’s more important to preach the gospel than it is to keep the Joneses (who are keeping up with each other) in bigger, better outfits. there’s a point where it doesn’t glorify God.

    if the tie is a hindrance, live without it.

    I remember disliking GW Bush for not wearing a tie (also for many other reasons), but he’s the President, so I suppose that’s different.

    see what happens-besides, summer is coming up-summer casual! you could rock some plaid shorts and filp flops. (just kidding)

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