Do you feel that a pastor should be wearing a suit and tie (or formal attire) when s/he is preaching?
My dad and I got into this discussion before he left for speaking engagements in Korea. I told him that I personally don’t mind seeing a pastor in jeans, even, and preaching the gospel. My parents completely disagreed. They feel that a suit and tie for a pastor is absolutely necessary.
Does it matter?
I know for some, it does. A pastor friend in DC gets complains from his congregation that he dresses to casual while preaching.
Francis Chan from Cornerstone Church once said that he doesn’t want to change who he is on just on Sundays. He is the same on Sunday as he is Monday – Saturday, so he preaches in what he is comfortable in. The day that he gave this sermon, he pointed out that he is wearing his jeans with holes in them to further annoy some members. It was funny the way he said it, and am positive he had no malicious intent.
Too bad I thought of this after my parents left, but I want to ask them, if Jesus was here today, what would he be wearing?
Couldn’t be argued that Jesus would be wearing casual clothing, maybe even jeans as he did his ministry? Wouldn’t Jesus be a blue-collar worker, by the fact that he was a carpenter by trade?
Or am I completely wrong?
53 thoughts on “Pastor Dress Code?”
My personal feeling is that the pastor should dress in a manner that means that they do not stand out. In a contemporary or blended service, this would mean a button-down/polo shirt and slacks (for men, or the equivalent for women), or even jeans occasionally, but not the college look of t-shirt/shorts/flip-flops. In a traditional service, this would mean wearing a suit/tie and maybe a robe over that when preaching. The point being is that it’s the Word that is important, not the person.
I also belive that it is not to important for a mininster/paster to have on a suit and tie when he/she preaches after all we attend services for the message from God and not to see what the paster has on as for my self i always wear a vestment-(robe) over my clothes when in a service or preaching a message or in that type of setting,i also think we all play a part in church and my dress code should match my part of the setting.Thank you( Rev.McPhaul)
Surely a minister should realize that he is bringing his congregation into the presence of his Creator and he is the equivalent of the priest who stood between the Israelites and their God at Horeb.
Is this an occasion for jeans and t-shirt?
I think not.
I wear a baseball cap, jeans and nice shirt ….. no ties allowed…. most worthless piece of apparel ever invented.. hahahah
I agree clean clothes are always in style. You reminded me of the Pharisees…. they looked really good on the outside…. I think God is pleased when I come before His Son and His Throne of Grace everyday … No matter where I am or what I am wearing. I pray I will lead the people He puts before me in the things that are important to Him…… I think it was Paul who said he hoped he could be all things to all men… to relate on a level of everything from tent maker to Apostle.
Also, in my little town of Marysville , God has given the unction of the Holy Spirit to prompt some pastors and clergy to wear long white robes, suits and ties , vestments and blue jeans in and for different peoples … and it is all good… Did you ever think maybe the clerical garb might be a stumbling block ? Just some observations in my arena God has put me in…. I think it is important …
the Lord wore top notch clothes when He was preaching – the soldiers didn’t want to tear the cloak so they cast lots. Must have been a good one!!!
Shouldn’t His priests (ministers, pastors) follow His example?
I believe that to be absolutely false!
Jesus wasn’t a priest — he was a carpenter. John the Baptist didn’t wear fancy clothes. In fact, the only ones who were the fancy clothes were Pharisees and the Priests — which, I’m led to believe, that wasn’t Jesus’ role.
Jesus wore what the commoners wore — much like Paul did.
This is why clerical garb came into being! Just wear a big white robe! To me, it is not super important, but as one who preaches the Gospel, if my dress causes people to stumble, well it would be better for me to have a millstone tied around my neck….
Also consider this reading from Romans 14:
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. 14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. 15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. 16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. 17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Romans 14:13-18
I don’t really care what the pastor wears to church on Sunday morning, as long as he or she wears vestments over their clothes as they lead the people in worship. You see, vestments communicate that worship is not about the preacher or the people. It is all about God. Vestments also communicate a sense that something holy is happening when the congregation gathers to worship.
When preachers wear casual clothing as they lead worship and preach the Gospel, they, in my humble opinion, send the message that we can approach God in a casual, informal manner. The focus of worship then is shifted from God onto the people. We must then ask, “what, or who, are we really worshiping?”
Worship should also communicate an element of mystery and strangeness. Vestments worn by worship leaders help to communicate some of the mystery and strangeness inherent in Christian worship.
I believe one an unfortunate reality in most American protestant churches is that our worship is not mysterious or strange at all in the eyes of the world.
Matt – I agree that Word is more important than the person preaching it. Therefore, if it’s not taking away from the Word, then I am inclined to think that we can wear whatever we want.
Jim – But, it does get distracting, to many. And it may cause other Christians to stumble, which then, the time of preaching becomes about us, rather than God.
Steve – I agree with the statement that sometimes, the mystery of God and worship is lost. A lot of times, I feel that worship, in some churches, have become too much of a production. Do we really need a fog machine in time of praise and worship?
But I also want to ask, do you think that it’s a bad thing that we approach God in a casual and informal manner? Perhaps that can cause a more intimate and closer relationship? Just a thought…
Thank you all for your comments.
Personally, I do not think that I can actually wear jeans when I preach, even if it is for youth service on sundays. I just don’t feel comfortable.
But I also don’t think that I have to wear a neck tie every Sunday, either.
Yes, I suppose I am saying that it is “a bad thing that we approach God in a casual and informal manner.” I can’t think of an instance in Scripture where a human being approaches God casually or informally. This is where we can learn something from our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. Everytime they enter the sanctuary they genuflect and make the sign of the cross on themselves. This is a recognition of the presence of Christ in the host and that they are entering into the presence of God’s holiness. Holiness and casual/informal are incongruent.
Approaching God casually and informally is a way of keeping God at arms length. It is also a way of trying to limit or control God. It’s a way of putting God into a box where we can be comfortable with him and his holiness. But this is not the God revealed in Scripture or in the person and work of Jesus Christ. When we think it is OK to casually come into the presence of God, then the god we are worshipping is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Miriam, Deborah, Ruth, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Mary or Jesus.
I’m sorry to go on so long. But, I guess you can tell, I think this is important. I hope my comments are helpful.
I think that it is odd that you didnt mention any of the disciples in your list. they aproached Jesus all of the time in casual conversation. they even hade the nerve to aproach Him after they voiced the fact that HE was, The Christ, The Son of the Living God, Was the messiah. Jesus came so that we could be free from the trappings of religion. to press a dress code on other people in as much the same as what the teachers of the law did to those that they lived with in community so many years ago. i remember an old hym that said that you could come just as you are. In my early 20,s people who called themselves christians told me that if I wanted to meet Jesus or go to church that I had to look my best. wow, really???!!! I soon discovered that they lived by the laws of man ad not those of God. I was homeless and with out means to advance in the world and because of this fact they told me that God was not available to me, how sad. Then I met REAL JESUS FOLLOWERS AND MY LIFE WAS CHANGED. I was allowed to attend service in their church and they helped me by giving me a place to live WITH THEM. they gave me a hot shower and GAVE ME FOOD. You need to know that at that moment that I met the real Jesus and He forever changed my life. in the last chapter of the book of Matthew Jesus told the church what it should be doing. We should be making disciples, baptizing and teaching people to obey all that He commanded we should also be teaching people to love one another. Now, sixteen years later, I am a pastor in a church. I would never have met the REAL JESUS if it depended on what I wore to church. now I preach in geans, I visit people at the hospital in geans. In the summer I will serve the Lords supper in shorts. mat you never keep others from experiencing the Good News of Christ in your vestments with a suit and tie.
Joseph – Great question. I think that the clothing is an important part of relating to your context. I think that the clothes that you wear is perhaps determined by the context in which you are preaching.
We have a dress code as pastors at Resurrection, which is interesting – no jeans or jean like pants on any day in the office and only at the evening worship services. It was unspoken, but recently was written down.
What I’m guess I think about this issue is that we are no longer our own when we enter the ministry or the pulpit.
In regards to “he doesn’t want to change who he is on just on Sundays,” I wonder why clothing is so much of an indicator of who we are as ministers?
This kind of thought is not so much theology as it is ideology and ideology is the maker of idols.
So, I say: we may prefer to where certain things, but as long as the requests upon our wardrobe are not heretical or completely devoid of spirituality, we allow our congregation to help us choose our presentation. (this is why I lean towards vestments, too).
Steve- Thank you for your words. And I agree with you for the most part. But I am reminded of a sermon that Adam Hamilton gave recently, in which we are to hold the Love of God and the Hallowing of God’s name in balance. Hamilton stated that Abba is the more informal way to say “father” like “dad.” But when we get too comfortable with that notion, we don’t revere God or hallow his name.
In Korean, we have to types of speaking – the formal and informal. It’s really hard to be intimate with someone while speaking the formal tone of our language. Because being formal does leave a distance between one another. It’s when we become good friends, that we start using the informal language, and become closer and more intimate.
I kind of view the relationship with God. What a friend we have in Jesus? And to be a friend, I feel that there is a little casual, informality to be that intimate. But I agree with Hamilton and with you, that we can’t JUST be informal and casual, because then we lose the sight of the holiness of God and hallowing God’s name. And thank you for your comments, they are helpful.
Andrew – I wear jeans to church during the week. But it’s because I take the bus to church and the bus stop is a ten-minute walk from my church. So I just wear something that would allow me to walk ten-minutes. I don’t know if anyone really minds, because no one has brought it up. The American church senior pastor (that we share the building with) is total Hawaiian style during the week – shorts and slippers.
Jim – I’m more in agreement with you then I may have led you to believe in my post.
Though I’m not Francis Chan, if I were to make that comment, I would’ve meant something like this:
That the clothing that I wear doesn’t make me less of a sinner. I can’t hide behind my clothes. Just because I wear my Sunday best doesn’t make up for the sinful week I had leading up to Sunday. And we see it in youth who change their attire to make them appear in a certain way, to belong to a certain group.
Does that make sense?
But I agree with your first comment, that if we do something to make our brothers and sisters stumble and struggle, we should think really hard to see if it’s worth it to stick to our guns.
I agree with Andrew, it really depends on context. But I also think your attire can help make a point. I’ve been wearing a robe again for Lent, because I’m preaching through the Sermon on the Mount, which can be some pretty hard stuff for folks to hear, and like mentioned above, I didn’t want my attire to distract from the Word. However, this weekend I’m preaching the same texts for a day long retreat, at which one of my overall points is that it doesn’t really matter what we wear. As Jesus said, we can clean the outside all we want, but it’s the clean inside that God cares about most.
I think it’s not only about context, but about balance as well. Just as too casual can distract in certain ways, we can get way too caught up in looking good.
Oh, and I wear jeans to the office everyday, except I wear khakis on visits usually. That’s just cause usually it’s to older shut-ins and I just don’t want to offer a chance for debate on my attire.
Thanks Dan for your input.
As a kid, I always thought those robes that my dad and other pastors wore were really cool.
i found your post as i was searching for this very answer. a friend of mine has some real issues about pastor’s wearing casual attire to preach in and my husband said to her this. “some things are simply preferences and they ARE NOT biblical mandates, but we tend to turn them into biblical mandates”. i thought that was pretty profound, and so i have been doing a little research in the scripture. guess what? i can’t find a thing about how a pastor should dress. i do know that these times that we live in are changing, and what was once (about 50 years ago), something that attracted people to church to hear the gospel now prevents them. our “Mission” and our “Message” should never change, however our “Method’s” MUST change. afterall, isn’t that what it’s all about….fulfilling our “Mission” and revealing the “Message”? Christians today in my opinion do not reflect at all who Jesus is or what His message is all about. corporate church services seem to close people off. you cannot enter here cause this is a holy place and you should be dressed appropriately….what’s up with that? last i read in the scripture Jesus came to save ALL mankind.
and to steve, i mean no disrespect but i am puzzled by what you said about the scripture saying that there isn’t anyone who approached God who wasn’t dressed appropriately. can you clear that up for me? the scripture i read show’s me that ANYONE can be in the presence of God no matter what. God used some pretty decadent people to Get the message out. “Rahab” the prostitute to name one. and what about the woman at the well? do you think they knew they were going to be in the presence of God that day and changed their attire? somehow i don’t think so. the Scripture is full of instances where people were standing in the presence of God himself and they were standing there just as they are and always were. dirty, unclean sinners. just like ALL mankind is. the disciples got angry cause Jesus was in the midst of “sinners”, prostitute’s, murderer’s, theive’s, etc.. Jesus set those apostle’s straight real quick. in Act’s chapter 15 it talks about how in one instance they were wanting all men to be circumsised in order to fall in-line with the way they worshiped. then the scripture goes on to tell us that they were wrong for doing that. we should keep the basics, ie. “The Mission” & “The Message”, and let people worship in a way that works in their culture.
i said all that to say this. our culture is changing and if it means we as Christians need to change our method’s in order to get the “message” heard then i truly believe that God is all for that. i also think we should burn all the suits and ties and robes, etc. they are a hindurance to our culture hearing the “Message”. that’s just a personal preference though, i don’t believe it is a biblical mandate……tee hee!
it’s been great reading all these posts thank you to all of you.
have a great day and God Bless you all.
Where do I start? Yes I am the one that started this in small group saying that I have a problem listening to preachers preach/teach when they aren’t dressed up. It is a stumbling block for me.
But as my friend so aptly put it, the seeker church isn’t there for me, a saved person, they are there for the unsaved. Maybe that is why I don’t go to her church. I want to be fed to.
So I will continue going to the “corporate church” where I am comfortable in the clothing and the rules (wearing a dress for ladies that are on the platform). To me it is how I show respect to the person of God and to HIS church.
I want to thank you all for this conversation, it has given me a lot to think about.
DawnRae – I agree with you in that we can approach God in any way. But I strongly feel that as the culture changes, we should adapt to the changes, but I don’t think we can completely follow the culture where it goes. Maybe that thinking is a product of my father raising me. I’ve always believed that we as Christians are a little counter-cultural. I do think that burning all the robes and what not is a little drastic approach. heh. I do thoroughly love the tradition of the church. While there are many people out there who need to be part of a more contemporary worship, there are people out there who need to be part of a more traditional worship. We can’t abandon both people seeking God. I guess, “to each his own” is what I’m saying. Though I don’t know if that’s the right thing to say
Becky – If I weren’t a pastor, I would also need a church that is more than seeker-friendly.
And as Jim pointed out, we all need to look at Romans 14.
Personally, I don’t have a big problem with the attire of the pastor.
But if my attire or anything about me causes people to stumble and fall, I should really consider why I do what I do…
thank you all for your comments.
joseph, yeah i do think burning all the robes is a bit extreme and i do not see a need to abolish all traditional churches, there is a place for all types of worship services and i truly believe that. i just wish that those who are from a more traditional background (me being formerly one of them) would not be so hateful towards those that are reaching out to the folks of the past few decades who have no clue as to who God is, and do not feel the pull towards the traditional church. and where as one may prefer their pastor to be wearing a suit and tie or a robe, why do some feel the need to bash the pastor’s who’s congregation prefer their pastor to be wearing casual attire? i’m like you, i don’t reaaly care either way what the pastor is wearing. i’m more focused on his leadership and his teachings. if lot’s of lost souls are being introduced to God and lives are being changed i get excited no matter what people are wearing or what type of worship music they are listening to. unfortunately i just see a lot of older folks (me being one of them)wearing their sunday best, warming the pew and babysitting eachother. i’m not seeing a lot of connecting with people who have no clue as to who God really is. i’m just venting a lot of frustration and i really like all your blog postings. this is great! please forgive me for taking advantage of your blog to vent like this. maybe i need to see a therapist, eh?
The issue of what to wear in the pulpit has never been an issue for me. Where I have problems is during other occasions eg. at the hospital, or going to someone’s home. Perhaps my critics may not be interested in Christian charity, but on more than one occasion I have been told that I am either over dressed or under dressed. It seems petite, but maybe I should rethink this. What should we were when in non-preaching situations?
(spelling error correction)
The issue of what to wear in the pulpit has never been an issue for me. Where I have problems is during other occasions eg. at the hospital, or going to someone’s home. Perhaps my critics may not be interested in Christian charity, but on more than one occasion I have been told that I am either over dressed or under dressed. It seems petty, but maybe I should rethink this. What should we were when in non-preaching situations?
I’ve read most all the comments, and I am one of those who disagree that a pastor should (out of necessity) wear a suit and tie to preach. I very much agree with Francis Chan’s view on the matter.
One thing though that I believe is being over looked is it all really depends on the people you’re ministering to. I respect anyone, whether in a suit and tie, or in jeans and polo shirt, as long as they speak the Truth of the Gospel.
You’ll have Susie on one hand that thinks we keep to the old traditions and dress up on Sunday, then we have Johnny on the other hand who loves that song that says, “Come, just as you are to worship”. It’s all the people’s ‘opinions’ on the matter, and if they are uncomfortable with the way the pastor dresses, I guess they may not be so focused on getting fed rather than judging the feeder.
I’ve heard it go as far as a person saying that they couldn’t listen to a pastor with a beard… So from all this I just believe we be who we are, and how we are comfortable as long as we dress modestly and speak the Truth, what does it really matter?
Don’t forget David when he danced in his underwear before God and claimed that he’d become even more undignified that that.
I am a senior citizen and have been a Christian for a long time 60 years to be exact. I have watched pastors go from looking like a pastor to looking exactly like the world.
True, Jesus said, go ye into all the world and preach the gospel but he did not say look like the world.
We have gone from looking like people who are set apart from the world to looking like the world.
I do not have a problem with pastors (men of the cloth if you will) wearing open collared shirts during the week but on Sunday I would like him to be set apart from the world meaning (wear a suit and tie). When we enter the sanctuary we are standing on Holy ground to worship a Holy God. I do believe most of the world has something decent to wear to church and if they don’t I don’t think that should hinder them from worship, but using that excuse to come to church wearing ragged blue jeans with a hole in the knee is just that (an excuse).
If we were expecting the president of the country to be at our church or at our home, we would put on our best, but we want to limit God to ragged blue jeans and old tennis shoes or women’s clothing that is so revealing we look like we have just come from a sitting with Playboy Magazine.
I personally don’t believe we need to bring the world to the church. I believe we need to take the church to the world and for all practical purposes, in today’s time, who would know the difference? Only God.
If He is Holy, then enter His house looking like you think he is Holy.
I find it curious that the people who most condemn our pastor for wearing jeans hypocritically wear pants ( and they ain’t men) . I thought that is was even more abhorrent for a woman to adorn themselves in mens clothing (slacks) than a pastor to wear jeans.
I was more envious of the pastor than irritated by his jeans as I sat there overdressed in my dress shirt (no tie) sweater and corrderoy pants. I am wearing jeans next Sunday as a signal to some of the other old , set in their way, farts that they are wrong and they need to grow up…. by the way…I’ll be 59 in a couple of months.
I think that Dressing and Preparing our Hearts in His Love is Dressing Properly for church …. Instead of adorning ourselves in Self Righteousness , Criticism and Judgement. ( and to say nothing about jumping on God’s anointed which could be some dangerous territory)
The ones in the NT who would be fighting and fuming about dress codes were the Pharisees. Jesus and his followers were always doing radical things like hanging out with “sinners and prostitutes” and associating with women (even Samaritans, of ill repute) and tax collectors, and “not washing their hands” like the Pharisees did religiously.
Jesus turned all of these traditions on their heads, even those which had their origins in their attempts to be holy and set apart.
Just for the record, I wear a robe for our “traditional” service and cargo pants and a polo shirt for the casual service.
To: The Thief,
I think you all got some valid points but “God looks at the heart”…We as people try to use our thinking to think about what God would do…it is not possible…”God ways are not our ways”…Whatever you wear…make sure your heart is right with God…besides…He see through our foolishness…clothes and all…you can’t dress us sin!…it is what it is! So that being said “Come as you are”…even if you have on a robe (clergymen/women)…you are still filthy in the sight of God…let’s just thank God for Jesus…a lamb without spot or blemish…the rest of us are filthy, but covered by the Blood of Jesus!
…you can’t dress up sin!… (this is what it should read)
come just as you are….
“Jesus just wore the common dress of the day…we do it for other reasons…work on your heart instead”
I read with interest your article on what a Pastor should wear, as I have come across this very same problem myself. Some of my contemporaries in the Baptist Faith would expect nothing less than your best suit, shirt and tie. Whilst I agree with others that it is really not important what you wear, it is the Word that is important, unfortunately we live in a fallen world. People will always attach preconceptions to people in authority, and the Pastor is seen as one with immense authority to some people, so appropriate dress is important. A man in a suit portrays someone who is dedicated to the position that he is in, in the eyes of many (I am not saying that those in casual wear are any less dedicated!) he is dressed for the authoritive position that he holds. To others it is not so important, whether in a suit or casuals, it’s the persona that the man exudes that portrays his authority.
Personally, I don’t think it really matters, most of the ministry that I do takes place outside of the church, in normal everyday life, and this could mean I am wearing anything from jim jams to dirty work wear.
However, we must take into account the people to whom we are ministering, I would not, for example, visit an elderly couple wearing shorts and flip flops, but then again I would not visit with the youth of the church wearing a tweed suit! Horses for courses and all that.
Yours in His service
Rev. Steve Monty
All we say about Jesus is what he probably did or did not do in the first-century. At that time, there was no real equivalent of jeans. Most people only had a change or two of rather standardized clothing. Standardized meaning there was not a lot of variety, but also standardized clothing meant that everyone wore clothing that reflected their social status. What would have been amazing is that Jesus did not wear rabbinical clothing. Though apparently he did, since the first thing people generally called him was “Rabbi” and there was no comment that he didn’t which would’ve been something worth commenting on. Now, I don’t have a problem with casual wear, but I really wonder where North American Christians got the whole Jesus in jeans thing? I guess it just goes to show how truly biblically illiterate we are.
I seem to have this same question for myself?
You need to wear a suit and shave! represent GOD when your Church? Are all of us not GODS childern and represent him all the time? I guess its just in church service or do we relly preach GODS word in all we do. SO I gess I will be wearing a suit on sunday.. JESUS in my heart all the time HE said you are the light of the world and the salt of the earth……
I always wonder what kind of dress really fits a christain man/woman until i came to a conclusion that we are changing dress while reaching heaven i mean only our soul is required, and then God in heaven amongs what is prepared for us is a new dress white as the angels dress white as snow. Though your dress speaks alots about you mark that.
Though it may sound nice to say that you dont need to change your appearance for Sunday, I have to say that you should. The reason why I have always dressed nice on Sundays, is that it set the day apart. Sundays are a day set apart, it always helped me. as far as Pastor’s my rule of thumb is one step above the majority of the congregation. You wont offend anyone that way. If people wear button ups and slacks, put on a tie and suit. If your congregation wears jeans and tshirts, slacks and a button up, or nice jeans and a button up is ok.
The main reason why preacher stay casual behind the pulpit ministry is to excuse there short coming and get the people’s attention and money for there so call church vision. If u know something about God’s Way of during things from decade to decade we’ll not having this stupit issue. Sad to say, pastor’s spend a lot of money on their wife’s fortune and loans at the bank for cars and houses to live but can’t give God and Honor moment to dress better within just an hour or two the most for return the Father they call it Father God everytime. Hope they dress casaul in the last breath while the church members witness on his grave yard.. The truth shall make u free. It is the Honor and Respect issue.
When Moses spoke to God , God told Moses to remove his shoes, he is on Holy Ground. Should we remove our shoes for church every sunday?
Maybe we are supposed to?
As a woman in ministry the lines are never clear on anything according to most. But, the Lord impressed upon my heart that if we would dress up a little for a party or dress down a little for the beach, how much more should we consider our dress for worship with the King of Glory. We are to be bringing something of ourselves to Him in worship and yes I believe we should be the same in church or out. But, at the same time, would we wear PJ’s just because we could wear them at home, or shorts like to the grocery store? If we would dress up for special functions of the world why would we have a problem wearing our best or at least dressing upward as we congregate to meet with our creator. I don’t believe He cares what we wear as long as we are appropriate for the setting we are in. Yes, I do take my shoes off to preach if the Lord so leads….I wear slacks at times (appropriate, looser fitting), skirts, dresses…etc. For some particular services I could even be found in a pair of jeans if the service was of a nature that called for a special activity afterward or such. Our God is a loving God and just wants us to come to Him. He will take us any way we come. I just really like approaching Him dressed in my best, whatever that is. Some may feel differently, but that’s okay. There will be a peace that helps direct us in all matters when we are paying attention to the lead of the Lord in all things. I hope each one can find that place of peace even in the clothing they wear. Thank you for hearing my thoughts.
I think, the bottom line is… God looks beyond the cotton, polyester, silk.. whatever our clothes are made out of… God looks at the heart. We can be the white caskets… where we’re pretty on the outside, but inside, there’s death and decay.
It’s ALL a matter of preference, I honestly believe.
With all that said, we live in a community. We are to help each other towards faith. And if someone really struggles with the casualness of our dress… then I think we should be humble and really start thinking and asking: what’s the best for our community and not “I’m the pastor and leader. I do what I want.”
Am so glad to join this important discussion. To my side I think it is better to listen the directions from the very GOD we worship. In Exodus 28:2,4 “And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty”.”And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office”. Let ministers dress proper when they minister before God as how He commanded. Why don’t they ware casual during the public meeting? Who is holy between man and God? In every thing let God be glorified.Thanks.
what about John the Baptist?
He had a special mission and he was in wilderness and even his garments were so different from other people he addressed even the type of food he used to eat was differ from others. At the same time he preached and baptized those who believe the gospel.He was preparing the way of JESUS CHRIST who was about to come not like a master but like a servant and savior of human kid who are in the burden of sin.
I know, three to seven years late to the party. In the event there are some still invested in this conversation I offer a few thoughts. It may be helpful to the integration, I’m hesitant to use the term balance as it creates a false dichotomy within the discussion, of clerical and lay apparel to consider the origins of vestments. Prior to the commencement of my contribution to this discussion I feel it is important to state that my current denominational identity is Methodist while my heritage is Pentecostal in nature. I am a Caucasian male in my late twenties living in the Great Plains and I’m currently in the last leg of my M.div.
The United Methodist church offers ordained Elders, those ordained to serve as ministers of sacraments—order—service—word, basic vestments of albs (white robes) and cassocks (usually black) paired with a stole colored to match the liturgical season. These offerings are not mandatory, simply tools for ministry to the people from among whom we are called. A cassock has often served to minimize the station of the clergy and thus direct focus on what are hopefully prayerful words and actions directed in serving the congregated church in acts of mercy and piety. Stoles are like many symbols within the church, intended to help guide the ekklesia in worship.
So, vestments can be helpful in fulfilling one’s clerical responsibility as it is related in facilitating responses to the Spirit from among our fellow brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ. Earliest church leaders did not wear vestments. They are leftovers from the Roman culture, for this we have Constantine to thank in the 4th century CE. If not for the church going public and clergy dressing as the noble laity vestments may not exist today. Interestingly, as fashion changed the church intentionally chose to stay the same as it relates to attire. Therefore, the origins of vestments is to match the standards of the culture.
As has been promoted numerous times in this feed, it would appear that the greatest question to answer to the question of clergy and their corporal appearance is: Does the way I choose to present myself authentic to the way in which God has called me to minister within the body I have the privilege to dwell? Remember that Jesus did not come in glory, but rather “the Word became flesh and lived among us” the Greek actually means ‘tabernacled’. The best way to bring us into grace was for God to dress in such a way that we might experience the divine presence in our nomadic existence upon this earth. Let us prayerfully consider the ways in which we might present ourselves in such ways that we might be present with people in their comings and goings. It is God who transforms lives the least we can do is endeavor to avoid being hindrances.
Personally, I enjoy dressing in business casual during normal office hours (‘dressing down’ outside of Sundays by wearing jeans while maintaining a collared shirt and tie). I feel comfortable in this attire and am still able to be inviting to all people I encounter within my community. I am a student minister otherwise I would wear slacks every day.
Again, I encourage each of us to employ sober judgment in considering the ways in which we care for our worshiping communities. Understanding that God calls us through the church to minister to the church. Let us never forget our roots as people of the gathering.
My two cents:
It really is a cultural thing. Church, in it’s African American expression has been suit and tie for everybody. This stems from a sense of reverence and respect for the House of the Lord and bringing your best before Him. I doubt seriously if one would care if you came “As you are” and you sat in the pew.
In the pulpit, on the other hand, (barring an emergency or something) we wear suits and ties or suits and clergy shirts and robes. This has to do more with tradition and a sense of sense of standing apart, but not above the rest of the congregation.
If I was visiting a church where the suit and tie were the order of the day I would dress likewise. ( Out of respect for their traditions)
I’m clericals and vestment kind of guy. But, I understand and have nothing negative to say about people who want to dress in casual attire- as long as it’s “nice” casual- you are still talking in front of people.
I believe that a pastor should be presentable to the congregation by proper dress attire. not everyone thinks that it’s a big deal about how we dress let alone a pastor. 1 Peter 1:16 says “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” first of all the word “holy” is translated from the Greek word “hagios” which means “pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, and consecrated. Peter was speaking to all people about being consecrated from the world which also included the preachers of the gospel. if you look at the book of exodus and numbers you can see that before a priest could step into the presence of God they had to be properly clothed. that is why Aaron’s robe was different then his sons and the rest of the people. so today when a pastor goes up to the pulpit he too must be properly dressed if he wants to get the congregation into the presence of God as well. but there are many scriptures that say we are to be holy and that’s not just for the Israelites but for us too in this day in age. we are Gods people and if this is true then we should not only look different then we should act, speak, and uphold ourselves as Gods people. (1 Peter 1:15- But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, Lev.19:2- “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy., Heb. 12:14- Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. ) in john chapter 4 Jesus is talking to a Samaritan woman and when he asked her for some water she looked at him and automatically new that he was a Jew because the way that he was dressed. if attire didn’t matter then he could have looked like her but he wouldn’t have gotten the attention that he did afterward. so the way we look does matter even for a pastor because if we try to preach the gospel to unbelievers then they won’t take us serious because then they can say “why should I listen to you, you don’t look like a man/woman of God.” so just like Jesus, the way he looked was like a Jew and speaking to a Samaritan about the kingdom of God, this was jaw dropping for those who witnessed it. so we as believers, if we carry ourselves holy and separate as men and women of the gospel but take the time to bring the good news to those who don’t yet believe, then imagine how many people we can have an affect on just by the way we look…
I agree that pastors ought to dress in a way that reflects God’s authoritative call of ordained ministry upon our lives. However, I don’t think you are using the passage correctly. Verse 15 of I Peter 1 “…as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; (v16) for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”” (NRSV) One could take conduct to include dress code and I do believe that one’s dress should reflect one’s internal orientation. In a sense our dress code is somewhat sacramental in that it can reflect outwardly the inward working of God in Christ through the Spirit. I also agree that from a leadership perspective that one’s attire also reflects a level of authority.
However, I disagree with your exegetical treatment of the text. Verse 13 speaks of preparation, discipline, and placing one’s expectation in the grace of Christ. All of which are marks of the journey toward sanctification. I think the important parts are in vv15-16. the “be” of “be holy” in vv15 is the greek word genethete, which is an aorist passive form of “ginomai” which gives the essence of coming into existence or being born or to become. It can mean “be” but I think we get a good context clue in v16. The word for “shall be” is the Greek word “esesthe” which is the future tense of the “to be” verb “eimi”. This is important, because when we read it in the English it is easy to get the imperative (command) sense of the verb. However, this is indicating future action. So one could read vv15 and 16 as “…as he who called you is holy, be born holy yourselves in all your conduct (this word can also mean speech); for it is written, “You will be (someday) holy, for I am holy.””
The important aspect here is that it is God’s holiness that allows us to dare to dream of being holy. Should we attempt to honor God with all that we are? INDEED! However, I believe that God is worried about us clothing ourselves in righteousness and not necessarily in clothing. Again, I agree that we, especially pastors, ought to dress in a way that helps connect our people to the presence of God. I really like wearing a suit and even will “robe up”. But, it is important that we are shepherding in such a way that we are connecting to our people. Therefore, let us in all we do pastor our people with the knowledge that we will be holy as God through God’s eternal holiness makes us holy.
The “dress down at church” thing has gone too far. I get that the pastor wants everyone to feel comfortable, blah blah blah, but when it reaches the point that he dresses like my teenage son, it starts getting a little silly.