From Steven Gibson
Q1) Do I take my hat off in Church service?
A1) Steven, that is a good question, because in today’s cultural climate, there are lots of possible answers to that very question.
So, I want to answer this question from two perspectives. Both Gods and Mans.
From Gods perspective, He sees into your heart and is not so concerned about how you dress for church. Nowhere in the Bible do we see a prescription for how to look when worshiping God (except for Old Testament priests, but that does not apply today). In fact, the Jews even have a tradition of wearing a “Yakima”, or a small round hat, all the time because it is a reminder to them that God is always above them. So, the hat itself does not offend God.
Now from Mans perspective, it is another thing. In some church settings, we find it appropriate to dress the same way we would dress on any other day, where as other church settings encourage you to dress up a bit nicer. In many church settings it is considered respectful to at least remove your hat during prayer, and many people do consider it a sign of respect to remove a hat when entering into any building, especially a building where you should offer your respect, like a church. So, depending on the church congregation culture, you may find various expectations for your hat.
What would I do if I was wearing a hat to church? I would look around the room to see if anybody else was wearing a hat too, in order to see if the culture of the congregation would take any disrespect by me wearing my hat. Even though I don’t see anything wrong with wearing the hat, I would not want my hat to offend somebody else, or to be a stumbling point that would distract them from their ability to worship. Something as small as wearing a hat should not be a point of contention, so I would wear it as long as it did not offend somebody else in the church.
God is not interested in what is on your head, but what is in your heart. (1st Samuel 16:7) So he is not interested in your appearance, but the heart of your actions. If your hat offends somebody, and you can avoid making that offense, then God is pleased to see you make the sacrifice by taking the hat off, and committing to respecting the culture of the particular church congregation. It’s not the removing of the hat that would please God, but the gesture of goodwill and respect to the people in the room that would please God. That is of course if you are in a place that has people who worry about these things.