Dress code for church
Author: Afia Serwaa
July 13, 2017

Does it really matter what you wear to church? There isn’t a straight forward answer as it all depends on what church you go to (for example: Catholic church, Pentecostal church, Apostolic Pentecostal, orthodox church etc.) where you are in the world (in some countries, there are strict guard lines in what is acceptable in church), the kind of relationship you have with God (once you get closer to God through reading your bible and praying, transformation takes place. You as a person acquire knowledge and understanding through the Holy Sprite and you become more aware of how you present yourself.) and how you are raised as an individual (Morals and cultural influences also play their part).

Most churches want people to dress modest and not send a message opposing the church community’s values

Not acceptable for men:

  • Short pants
  • Jogging pants
  • Jeans
  • Caps
  • Sports jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Beach wear
  • Tight clothing
  • Extreme piercings that are distracting

Not acceptable for women:

  • Any dress or skirt that does not completely cover the knee when sitting or standing
  • (Slacks are not acceptable in Traditional Churches)
  • Shorts
  • Skimpy shorts
  • Tank tops
  • Spaghetti-strap tops
  • Tops with sleeves that do not reach the elbow
  • Tops that are more than two fingers width from the pit of the throat
  • Plunging necklines
  • Beach wear
  • Flashy clothing and hot colours that are distracting and that may be perceived as enticing
  • Extreme piercings that are distracting
  • Sleeveless, tight or low-cut clothing or dresses with long cuts or slits
  • Tight clothing
  • All see-through clothing.

Paul admonished women to dress according to certain standards and listed them in this order: modesty, inexpensive and non-ornamental attire, and clothing that become godliness. To be modest means to be decent and respectful.

Paul’s instructions when he writes, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). In other words, New Testament worship in contrast to Old Testament practice requires we not only bring our best offering to the Temple, but that we bring ourselves, our entire selves in a hallowed manner, for now we are the Temple of God (I Corinthians 3:16,17). This means we should come before the Lord in reverence, presenting our best to Him – bringing our best gift – coming with our best attitude – making our best appearance.

I Samuel 16:7 does read, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Yet, I would also add that because worship is a matter of the heart, which I believe is often reflected in our appearance, we cannot entirely conclude God doesn’t care about what is worn to church. If you don’t have modest clothes, is better to still go to church with what you have than to stay at home in fear of what people might think of you.


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