by: Nick Nelson
I grew up going to church pretty much every week. Sunday morning, Wednesday night youth group and occasionally Sunday night was normal. At some point in my tween years, I remember asking two particular people that my brother and I were spending the weekend with if they could take us to church and go with us. They didn't attend church themselves but said "sure". My brother and I wore our normal attire that included jeans, a shirt and shoes (can't remember at the time if the preference was boxers or the other ;-) The people we were with wore their Sunday best including a suit and tie, and a nice dress.
What happened next is burned in my mind forever. An usher (dressed in a suit himself) greeted us right inside the sanctuary. As he was ushing us to our seats he said "well it looks like you finally got them in church". He was referring to my brother and I while looking intently at the people we were with. He assumed those that looked the part on the outside were regulars while those that did not look the part were "finally" in the building. Strike one. I wrestled with that, probably with some form of frustration or anger, for a long time.
Early on in full time ministry as youth pastors (my early-mid twenties), I remember the occasional times I wore a suit on Sunday. I remember because people that normally didn't pay attention to me all of sudden noticed me and acknowledged my presence. I thought I was the same person each week. Strike two. I will admit, for a season, I intentionally rebelled against those that felt the same as Mr. Ush. I learned the hard way to not do that. I've learned that some people's "norm" of wearing a suit and tie is perfectly fine and if I was ever to be under leadership that mandated this dress code again, I would happily oblige. So there will never be a strike three for me.
Whether you are a three-piece-suit/dress person or a jeans and t-shirt with converse person, you are a person. I happen to be the latter, tho I do mix it up and go all out with some nice shoes and a button up shirt at times. You are a person that matters to Jesus, is loved by Jesus and can be used by Jesus. You are a person that has a place in the church. And if you happen to be in the Battle Creek MI area, you have a place at Connect City Church.
It's your heart, soul and spirit that Jesus is most concerned with. If what you wear, or what someone else wears, is more important than that, some course correction is needed. I try to keep a couple of great psalms from David (who became the second king of Israel not because of how he looked on the outside, but what God saw on the inside) in my prayer life. These can be applied to many areas of life:
"May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in You." Psalm 25:21
"Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind." Psalm 26:2
Wherever you are, there is a church near you that has a place for you. Just wear something ;-)