How Pastors Should Dress in the Pulpit

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I wear a jacket, dress pants and a tie when I preach. When I don't preach and go to church I wear a jacket, dress pants and a tie.


Puritan Board Freshman
True Donnie.
A debate for Free Church ministers just now is actually whether the wearing of a collar is adding to scripture?
Some wear it I think to be distinct from the congregation - though I know little of the topic - but some wear suit, shirt and tie, which is often the same as the congregation.
I know that my own minister sometimes wears it when he goes out in Glasgow and is often stopped for conversation with random people (often catholics I think).
Any thoughts on this?

21st Century Calvinist

Puritan Board Junior
Well Kenny does wear the same style of collar as a RC priest wears! If it causes people to ask questions about Christianity or ask for prayer then that is a good thing.
Personally, I don't see it as adding to Scripture. I am perfectly happy for a minister to wear a collar and/or gown. In fact, I see it as quite appropriate for leading the people of God in worship.


Puritanboard Brimstone
I used to think "Geneva gown, baby" but over time I've come to a more "whatever is contextually appropriate" type of thing. Let me say though - vestments are verboten.

I prefer the formal side of business casual, but I'm game for pretty much anything as long as it is tasteful. (For instance, you couldn't pay me enough to wear pimp-suit purple.)

---------- Post added at 10:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:49 PM ----------

I may be old and grumpy but I have never understood how the "I look like I just rolled out bed and left the car shop" look is cool.

I agree... what blows my mind is that "fashionable" guys put effort - and hair product - into intentionally giving their hair an unkempt, bed-head look. I don't get it.


Puritan Board Graduate
Personally, I don't see it as adding to Scripture.

Oh there's no question that it is. Nowhere in Scripture do we find warrant for special clothes for the clergy. However, given the way our tradition has treated the issue, this is clearly a circumstance of worship, and therefore cannot be required, but also should not be forbidden.


Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Acts 13 shows Paul wearing distinguishable clothing as this old post from the PB archives explains...

This is not even close to being as cut and dry as proposed. There are any number of other explanations for Paul speaking than "they saw he was dressed like a teacher." It might have been, or it might have been that Paul had talked to the rulers beforehand. Or he might have simply stood up in order to speak (that was, after all, his mission). Or it could be that as unrecognized out-of-town Jew, he might have been called on.

I don't think any of that militates against wearing a robe, but such a fast and loose hermeneutic does far more damage than any potential good (even assuming that you can have a positive requirement to wear a robe).


Puritan Board Freshman
Wow guys thanks for the responses. I was trying to examine the line of reasoning behind why different men where different things in the pulpit. As a younger pastor, and now one ministering in a church planting situation it's one of those things that sometimes need to be rehashed. I hope my attempt was at least adequate.


Puritanboard Commissioner
If you run your mouse over the photos, you will see the name of the pastor in the URL line.

I can't believe I missed #2. Ironically, I thought the pulpit/lectern looked familiar (and it was), but I had only seen the pastor w/o a suit and didn't recognize him. Also interesting that his predecessor wore a robe and he does not.

I knew who #2 was and thought it very interesting to see how he was dressed in light of his predecessor as well. I actually didn't know him by face, but by the unique pulpit.

I thought he looked vaguely familiar but couldn't place him. I only glanced at the pics and didn't notice the distinctive pulpit. I wonder if that's how he dresses all the time and if he dressed differently when he was pastoring the EPC plant prior to the merger with Coral Ridge.

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
While Scripture may not speak to the exact mode of dress, it does address the motivation for dress. "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." So the issue is not what is fashionable, or what is traditional, or what is "cool," but a man should consider, "What should I wear as I mount the sacred desk to show God and His people how much I want to honor Him, what I think of my office and my duties as a minister of the gospel, and what will most manifest His glory to this congregation."

For me, and I'm the only person on whose behalf I am fit to speak, I couldn't go into the pulpit without at least a coat and a tie (yes, pants and shoes too, smart alecks). Though in Honolulu once they asked me not to wear a tie since in that culture only lawyers and undertakers wear ties. So they gave me a lei to wear, and I considered that my Hawaiian tie.

Just my two cents worth...


Puritan Board Freshman
In the final analysis, the minister usually dresses according to the congregation he is a part of. This means that those in the congregation with much sway and respect will usually dictate its choice & direction in dress.:D
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