Drop the Dress Code

Every Monday I post one of The Basics. The Basics are simple steps every church can take to grow. They are the same steps that led my church from 87 people in attendance to over 700. These steps have helped my church see hundreds of people saved and baptized in just a few short years. Most of these steps you can take this week without even having a board meeting. These are The Basics.

Whether implied or not, many churches still have a dress code. The thought that you should dress your best for God is still alive and well in many churches across America. And it’s especially prevalent in small towns.


Many pastors in small towns across America still feel like they have to wear a suit and tie on Sundays. Here is why you shouldn’t do that: it immediately disconnects you from the people you’re trying to reach.

People far from God have already painted a picture of what church and pastors look like, and wearing a suit and tie will only feed into their preconceived notions. It makes it more difficult for people to relate to you. It puts a barrier between you and them, and I think we can all agree that we already have enough barriers in our way of reaching people.

I’m not suggesting you dress like a slob. I’m suggesting you dress like the people you’re trying to reach. When you begin to do this, your congregation will follow suit, and your church will become a much more inviting place for your community to walk into.

I know what some of you are thinking, we’re supposed to give God our best. It’s funny how we want to apply that to the way we dress, but not to whom we allow on stage to sing.

John the Baptist certainly wouldn’t fit into your give God our best dress mindset, yet Jesus said, “Among those born of women, no one is greater than John the Baptist”.

Peter, James, and John were fishermen. They probably didn’t smell the best or dress the best. If every Easter play I’ve ever witnessed is an accurate depiction of them, and I’m sure it is, they wore a brown gown with a colorful sash.

And let’s not even bring up Adam and Eve.

God has made every one of us in His own image. The writer of Psalm 139 says, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are beautiful creations, and when we judge people by the clothes they wear, we dishonor God.

One of our staff members recently asked a couple what they enjoyed the most about our church. You know what the lady said? “I love that I can wear jogging pants and a t-shirt to church.” Out of everything we do at our church that was the one thing she picked.

I happen to believe there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in your community who would try out your church, but they feel like they have nothing to wear. If you care about reaching those people, drop the dress code.

Do you have a dress code at your church? Why or why not?

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