Church Attendance & Dress Codes : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Presently I serve as Church School Superintendent at my local church. I chatted with a young boy who happens to live in the surrounding neighborhood but is not a member of the church where I attend. Since evangelism is one of the four "Es" of our church school agenda I extended a personal invitation for him to visit our church school and become active with his peer group in our church. Without using any form of direct attendance "pressure tactics" the young man agreed to come with only one condition: he would like to come in blue jeans, tennis shoes and sport shirt. I assured him that he would not be required to comply with any formal dress codes for Church School attendance. I only ask that all hats be removed promptly after entering into the church building. When Jesus extends the invitation for those seeking salvation his only statement is "Whosoever will let him come". I know at some point my liberal dress code policy will be challenged by a "concerned" member. I refuse to enforce dress codes when they clearly conflict with the goal of evangelistic work. What are your views about church attendance and dress codes? QED

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001


Brother Bill

I enforce a strict dress code where I pastor, it is called "Come As You Are!"

On any given Sunday morning, you could find a woman wearing a full- length fur, seated next to someone in jeans and a t-shirt. It does not seem to change one iota the worship experience for either of them.

The church now has become known for this looseness in dress code and people have come specifically because of this knowledge. That they can fit in regardless of what they wear.

There are some people, because of upbringing and training, that only feel comfortable in a worship environment if they are dressed to the nines. I have them in my congregation but yet they are tolerant and respectful of those who are at the other end of the spectrum in their dress expectations.

I make no claims to mediating this lying down of the lambs and the lions. It was the Holy Spirit that brought a sameness from the differences and every week, the worship experience in the church has been lifted to a new level because of all of the people, regardless of how they are dressed, being on the same accord in the Lord.

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

Bill I am proud of the work you do for the youth. At my church the congregation dresses up and wears jeans. By the way I was sixteen, high school drop out, and with the nation of islam, when an invitation was extended to me by a United Methodist church youth group, I went wearing overalls, and a tire chain hooked to my overalls! I was welcomed with love. It changed my life dramtically. As you well know. Keep inviting youth who are not a part of the church for you will be giving them a blessed life with Christ!

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

I do Youth Ministry at my church. Let me hasten to say that first priority is to attend church and not necessarily what one wears when one attends. However, I pointed out to the youth at my church, that for more than thirty years I went to a job where I was told exactly what I should wear. I also attended operas and formals where tuxedos were required. Both of these I did with no argument or suggestion that it might not be right. I also went to my job in all kinds of weather even when I really would have rather stayed at home or gone someplace else.

God has given us all, His Best, even His only Son to die on the cross. If I therefore performed these simple acts for men, can I treat God with any less respect? My answer is NO I cannot. I must always attend worship as I did my job and I must bring before God the best of everything I have. Since my best attire is a suit. I always wear a suit. Someone else's best might be clean baggy jeans, tennis shoes and a sweatshirt, but as for me it should always be one's best.

On midnight Friday, my church went 256 miles to Savannah in order to participate in the Annual Sixth Episcopal District Founder's Day Parade and YPD Worship. This event has now grown so large that none of our churches can hold it. This year we had to use the Savannah Civic Center. The line up for the 9:00 parade was at 7:00 a.m. The parade was two hours long and included more than 5,000 persons, some even in wheelchairs and strollers. My church had a walking unit We got home around Midnight on Saturday. Therefore, Sunday was designated "Casual Dress--Come As You Are." I fully expected to be the only person dressed in a suit and tie. To my amazement, as I looked over the congregation. Every person present, from the youngest to the oldest was dressed in his or her usual "Sunday Attire" and not one came casually dressed in regular street attire. No one came "As You Are".

I nr my congregation, would never discourage anyone from attending church because of the way in which he or she is dressed. I would only stress that it should be clean, non-provocative, and it ought to be one's BEST.

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

Brother Dickens, What are the other three "E's" of your Church School Agenda?

-- Anonymous, February 26, 2001

Pastor Mike;

The model for church school growth which I adopted is structured around the "4 Es". They are:

1. Educate the Saints

2. Exegete the Scriptures

3. Empower the Soldiers

4. Evangelize the Sinners

I am really indebted to J. Payne who described his musical ministry in a similar form with modifications 8-10 months ago. I was impressed with his skillful description and adapted it to the goal of Christian Education. Thanks Jeryl and thanks to you Mike for asking. QED

-- Anonymous, February 27, 2001

You're welcome. :-) (Exhort the non-believer, Exalt God, Edify the Believer)

-- Anonymous, March 03, 2001

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