I love you and adore you. I love your compassion for others. I love your welcoming arms. I love the way you live your life to reflect Christ. I love the environment that you create. I love how you encourage growth.
What I don’t love is hearing some of the reasons why people do not want to walk through the doors of our church buildings. The two biggest reasons I hear are “I don’t have a dress/suit and tie.” and “I feel like I will be judged because of my life.”
Y’all, first of all, a suit and tie and a dress?? Is that what Jesus wore? Is that what his disciples wore? Is that what the people he called to come be with him wore?
Do we really want people to not experience the most life changing kind of love and salvation EVER all because we make them feel they must wear the fanciest of fancy clothes? This reason really really perturbs me. I cannot stand the thought that people are literally turned away from a place where God calls them too just because they are wearing jeans and a t-shirt. So here are a few points to think about:
- I have heard pastors preach in suits and I have heard pastors preach in a pair of jeans. Neither was greater than the other. Both were great. Both were kind. Both invited people in. The Lord used both of them to speak just what He wanted spoken to the crowd of people in front of him. The Lord used the man in jeans as much as He did the man in the suit.
- 1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
- James 2:1-9
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him
- Do you remember the poor lady in the Bible who was so sick with a blood disorder? She reached out in faith and touched Jesus’ cloak believing that she would be healed and she was. Jesus asked who touched His cloak as he felt the power leave His body and she said that it was her. He allowed her to be healed. Y’all, that poor lady was most likely not adorned in the finest linens, but rather she was most likely in rags. Yet, God still healed her. He loves ALL people.
So, after pondering these thoughts, I encourage you to pray about such matters. Don’t think that I am discounting modesty because I am a firm believer that both men and women should be modest. However, I also believe that on the days I wear a dress to church and on the days I wear jeans and a t-shirt to church I am capable of hearing the Lord speak to me.
To the people who feel that they may be judged when they walk in the church doors, I hope and pray that you will be told that this church you are walking into is not full of saints. This church you are walking into is full of people who sin just like you. We are all sinners. We all have some type of past or history. I am quite sure that many of you will meet people who will tell you their testimony. God restores people and redeems people.
To prove my point:
- I once had a pastor where I use to live that battled with a porn addiction through much of his early college life. God redeemed him from that addiction and He restored him. He is now a pastor.
- My uncle is an evangelist, an amazing father, a husband, and is currently planting a church in upstate New York. Actually, he is currently preaching the gospel in Kenya, Africa right now for a couple of weeks. His testimony? He used to be addicted to drugs and alcohol. He found God in jail from a man who visited him regularly telling him about the Lord. Look where he is now. Shackles broken. My God made him into someone so much more because he was willing and able to surrender all to become who God called him to be.
Y’all, we are everyday people. We all struggle. We all sin. We all fall short. Every last one of us. The church is not perfect. God has called all of us to do His work in some form. We just have to be willing to walk where he calls us. We have to be welcoming to those who may be new to faith. We have to love people hard. Y’all we have to invite people to our churches, into our homes, and into our lives. God wants us all to be apart of His kingdom, but He will not force you to be apart of it. He allows you the freedom to choose Him. Just like Paul in the Bible. Paul’s name was not originally Paul. His name was Saul. He was a man who killed Christians. He later had an encounter with God, believed in God, became saved, and started to live his life on mission for Christ. His name is now Paul. Paul had times where he was afraid to approach people due to his reputation of once killing Christians. BUT Y’ALL, God’s people welcomed Paul. They understood he had a past and understood that he was now on mission to follow Christ and to help others follow Christ.
Friends, the love of God is so undeniably real it’s almost tangible. He loves us so abundantly that no matter what we have done in our past, He will forgive us if we ask. I encourage the church and I encourage the people who are thinking about becoming apart of the church, to not look at outward appearance and to not judge, for neither are our job. Our job is to lead, to love, and to be an example.
Please, do not take this message as a way to start an argument or debate. Take it as a friend with a heavy heart about these issues who wants to give encouragement to all.