Cheerful Giver



October Newsletter


Information and news from other PNC churches.




Rev. Stephen Snodgrass


The Casual Effect

There is a phenomenon that has swept through our culture, our country and our churches, over the last two decades. As I began to track down its origin, I found that it began somewhere in the mid-nineties. A simply internet research reflected that, "Casual Friday" along with dressing casually during the week became very prevalent during the "Dot Com" era. It rooted in a relaxed California-based business culture. The day (also known as Dress-down Friday, or simply Casual day) was an American and Canadian trend, which for a time spread to other parts of the world, wherein some offices may celebrate a semi-reprieve from the constrictions of a formal dress code. Whereas, during the rest of the week, business shirts, suits, ties, trousers, and dress shoes would be the norm, on Casual Friday workers might be allowed to wear more casual dress. Some have commented that it was brought into existence to help moral when lay-offs began. Some believe that it would help equality for those who could not afford nicer clothes.

Speaking from personal experience as a manager in a large office setting, I have found this to be of greatest detriment. It did not acquire its desired effect. A personal study reflected that not only the quality of the work, but also the quantity of the work, of the individual who was "dressed down," was far below their daily standard. If you were to take those same employees and challenge them to "dress-up," the change in their attitude and quality of work was remarkable. As for hopes of boosting moral with a "dress down day, it never happened. There was always someone who would go to the extreme and wear something inappropriate and had to be sent home. I also noted and many independent studies concur that this "casual" approach to business and the way we conduct our work, brought a negative effect rather than a positive. Customers were treated differently, co-workers were treated differently, those in authority were treated differently and the business suffered. There were more mistakes made and there were more complains voiced on those "casual" days. Without sounding humanistic, I must agree with the one who coined the phrase, "Dress for Success."

We as human beings require a set standard in all areas of our life. Unless one is extremely disciplined, it is very difficult for them to rise above the attitude and actions of those who surround them. That is why most businesses have any employee handbook, to set a standard of dress code which will reflect the attitude and the desired "face" of their company. As a pastor, there have been times when I have found the need to supplement my income and seek outside employment. I have worked in both the public and private sector and on my first day of employment I have been given an employee handbook. Why? They want me to know what is expected. The handbook outlined what the requirements were for job performance, interaction with other employees, respect for customers and personal expectations. But in this day where everything is "casual," we have lost that pride in what we do and who we are. No wonder our country is in the shape she is today and much of our business has gone overseas.

You ask, what does this have to do with the church? I will tell you that this "casual effect," has found its way into the church as well. We have fallen into the trap of this current age and it has affected us more than we realize. Our approach to God has changed. Our attitude to our fellow Christians has changed. Our anxiety over a lost world has changed. Our assessment of our Christian responsibilities has changed. We have allowed the, "casual," attitude of this world smother us and bring us under submission to its lethargic effect.

Church it is time that we wake up and realized that conviction is not what it used to be. Evangelist and pastors are preaching their hearts out and no one is coming to the altar. Pulpits are sitting empty while our young people pursue dreams in the secular world, without a call to the ministry.

This "casual effect" has influenced our worship. We have changed the priority of our worship services, from having the Presence of God, to a more casual style of worship, which leaves both saints and sinners empty at the end of the day. Rather than setting the example for those new babes in Christ, we have "dressed down," in order to make them feel more comfortable, when what they want is something different in their life and not more of the same. We no longer think it is necessary to begin our services on time. Many dress for church in the same manner they would if they were going to a church picnic. Call me old-fashion, but I was brought up that God deserves our best. Remember, it is the "casual" effect that has made its way into our worship.

This "casual effect" has influenced our devotion. Many have taken the approach of, "live and let live" in this aspect of their lives. Much like the business world, we have set up different levels of devotion for different days of the week. Joshua reminded the children of Israel, "But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Joshua 22:5) This is not a part-time commandment.

This "casual effect" has influenced our seeking. We have become lax in our seeking after God. When seeking His will or His wisdom, we have taken a "casual" approach and many times miss out of a blessing from God. But the scriptures remind us, "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (Deut. 4:29) Let me add that the days of fervent altar workers seem to be coming to an end. I appreciated those who knelt with me and prayed for me and pulled with me when I was seeking God. But today, the "casual effect" has overcome the saints and they just sit in the pew and wish the seeker the best. May God help us to shake the casual effect from our spiritual shoulders and began to implore the God of Heaven to give us souls. This "casual effect" has influenced our witnessing. We do not want to offend. We do not want to bring attention. We do not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I will agree that we do not want witness in a repulsive manner, but the scriptures are clear in the urgency that we must have in regards to witnessing for Christ. "And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (Luke 14:23).

This "casual effect" has influenced our giving. Casual and sacrificial do not go together. It is only one or the other. I'm fully aware of that anytime one speaks of money, it is a sensitive subject. But when dealing with this subject, we must remember that it is not our money that we are talking about, it is God's. If we are, a child of God, then all that we have is His and is subject to His will and disposal. When the giver has the attitude that they will give only when they can, "afford" to give, they have taken ownership of what God has placed in their trust. This is a dangerous assumption and will lead to spiritual decline every time.

This "casual effect" has influenced our revivals. Gone are the days of falling on our face before the God of Heaven and staying there until, we were assured by His Spirit that we had been heard. There was once a time when we would set aside ten days in the Spring and ten days in the Fall, for a revival in our hearts and church. Once there was a time when on the last Sunday night of the meeting, the pastor would ask the evangelist if he could stay for another three days and we would be excited at the possibilities. Don't take my word for this, but do your own reflecting, look back over the last twenty years and look what has happened with the "new" approach. We went from ten-day meetings, to Monday through Sunday meetings, then Wednesday through Sunday meetings. And now many churches do not have revival meetings at all and their congregations reflect the lack of one.

Some have said that they cannot afford revival. For those let me state that I have never had an evangelist refuse to come because of the lack of funds. Pastor, you cannot afford not to have revival. I'm not advocating setting a limit on the days of a revival meeting, but rather, calling on us to humble ourselves before God and seek His help and staying there until we know we have received what we came for.

In Second Samuel 24:22-24, David was offered an easy way out when approaching God. Araunah meant well when offering the threshing floor and animals for sacrifice to David for nothing, but the king refused to offer to the Lord something that had cost him nothing. True worship comes at a cost. True devotion will have its expense. If you are to witness, it will not always be easy, or convenient. If you are to have a personal awakening, there will be a price to be paid. But the end results are worth the earnest efforts.

Church of God, shake from your soul the effects of this "casual" approach to God. Let historians of tomorrow, write of us, "There was a day when worship was just a social affair, but there seemed to be a people, who rose above the casual spirit of the day and began to worship God in the beauty of holiness and a mighty revival broke out among them."

Past Articles

Mar/April 2010
Feburary 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009