Church decorum-- what is acceptable or not? : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Church Decorum... what is acceptable behavior, dress, actions, protocol in church/Christian behavior--especially during worship service?

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2002


Oh ho! Now we're going to delve into an area that has split many a church. Why? Because we're going to get into things like tradition and personal preference.

My church chooses to have very few limits in this area because there is so little that is clear in Scripture regarding this subject. We also want to make as many as possible feel welcome. We advertise casual dress, and being a Pentecostal church, allow quite a lot in the way of dancing, upraised hands, vocalization (amens and shouting), tongues, prophesy, or spontaneous departures from the program.

But if you want to dress formally and not engage in any of these things we'll still welcome you. Our basic rule: Do whatever you feel the Lord is telling you to do as long as it's in good order. Just make sure the Lord really does give the go-ahead. Finally, don't condemn or look down on those who worship or dress differently.

One last point: I've found that many if not most churches are not not as open to such a wide variety of practices, and traditions have set in. Some have good intentions and/or origins. It's usually not worth your freedom to start an argument, or cause a weaker person to stumble in their conviction. There's plenty of churches to choose from out there, and you can either change churches, or live peaceably with those in your present church.

-- Anonymous, April 03, 2002

Patricia you have posed a good question. Thank you for asking. If you are new to church or are visiting a new church. You might want to call the pastor ahead of time and ask about the dress code of the church,In my church the congregation wears jeans for many reasons, some are poor and some know our worship style is more laid back. I am just glad they come to church. Keep posting. P.S I was visiting a presbyterian church in my town and the choir sang such a wonderful song, I was moved to clap and say Amen. The pastor later told me they do not clap or say Amen. I got on a bus the next sunday and traveld over 300 miles to go to an A.M.E church where I could say amen. In my church, we do a lot of praising.

-- Anonymous, April 05, 2002

You say that scriptures are unclear about dress, but I would argue otherwise.

1 Pet 3:3-4 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

1 Tim 2:9-10 "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Some of the sisters (and brothers) have been blessed with shapely figures. They do not have to advertise these blessings on Sunday morning. If what someone is wearing is distracting another from worshipping God (via lustful thoughts), then one needs to dress differently.

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2002

I agree. I meant there's relatively little on such standards compared to many other subjects, not that such guidance is non- existent.

It is hard to arrive at agreement on specific issues since these are so subjective, and I've seen many a church degenerate into legalism over dress. I left my last church because the pastor was imposing more and more of his personal standards on the congregation, and much of it revolved around dress. First he wanted all leaders to wear ties, then no member (small children included) was allowed to wear shorts of any length. Add to these the other demands he was making on areas of personal conviction, and it was clear to me he was flirting with phariseeism. We were gone in short order.

I love my current church so much because while we all agree that these standards must be maintained, it's left to the believer where to draw the line. We also recognize that the unchurched will show up in just about anything, and they'll not be driven away because what they're wearing is too revealing for our taste. Once they're saved, we know that God will convict them of the way they dress in time, and they'll change on their own. In the meantime, we expect all to control their lusts and the direction their eyes are looking.

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2002

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