Some of us spend a good deal of time thinking about not only what clothes to wear, but what are appropriate church clothes for others to wear. Some come to church dressed in a suit and tie, due to the notion that if something is important, you dress to the nines out of honor of the situation. Some have other ways they dress, in a more comfortable way due to the fact that wearing a suit and tie is uncomfortable and distracts them from hearing the message. If each camp isn’t careful, they may cast aspersions on those who dress differently.
I just recently read an article about why Millennials (20 year olds) may not be coming to our churches. One of the reasons is, “You dress like the 1980’s and sing songs from the 1880’s.” Ouch. Here’s an excerpt:
If you sing “How Firm a Foundation” in your three-piece suit on Sunday morning and bemoan the idea of contextualization, you’re missing the point. You’re contextualizing just as much as the guy who wears Vans and hangs out at the skatepark, you’re just behind the times in your contextualization.
Everyone celebrates contextualization when a missionary in China does it, but for some reason, people have concerns when people do it here in our own communities.
Stetzer writes: “Contextualization, then, is simply about sharing the Gospel well. Those who deliberately practice the process of contextualization desire to have an element of intentionality in their Gospel sharing; they desire to share the Gospel in way that is most relevant to the culture they are addressing.”
If you aren’t respecting the context and culture in which your 20-somethings live, don’t be confused when you don’t reach them.
This is such a hard balance to find for many pastors—including this one. We want to find the balance between honoring our times of worship and connecting with the culture we wish to reach.
But regardless of the outside clothing, our aim should be the clothing of the inner person, “adoring the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10). Colossians 3:12-14 says,
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Let’s take away whatever obstacles exist that will keep others from putting on Christ.
Will we take that next step?
P.S. Please read the article to which I linked earlier.