How should a preacher dress in the pulpit?

Discussion in 'Preaching' started by Josh Williamson, Aug 2, 2011.

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  1. Josh Williamson

    Josh Williamson Puritan Board Freshman

    G'day All!

    I was wondering what your thoughts are on how the preacher should dress while preaching? At this stage I generally preach in a dress shirt and jeans, but I've been thinking about wearing a suit and tie. Just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on "Preaching Dress Code".

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    He should always wear some clothes lest his nakedness be exposed.
  3. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Culture/context is probably going to influence the answer the most, but I've grown quite fond of the Geneva gown.

    The following is from Wikipedia of all places, but it's a nice summary of why the gown is a great choice:

  4. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    Nothing religious about the Genevan gown, at least not originally. It was an academic robe.

  5. Filipe Luiz C. Machado

    Filipe Luiz C. Machado Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi, Josh.

    We need to understand that the wear is just to hide our nakedness - is not a saint wear [like the anglicans think]. Here in Brazil [especially in my city] we have s a very hot weather, which prevents [sometimes] the use of hard clothes. I don´t think so that we have a rule to "what is the correct wear", but I think that all the clothes be discrete and appropriated to the local place. Of course that if we have in the beach, we are not using only swimwear [it could be a "stumbling block" *I don´t know what is the correct expression in english to it, sorry* to the congregation], but we´ll still put some t-shirt to preach. But we need going carefully on it, because unusual clothes maybe say to all the congregation that this moment are not saint, just a meeting to hear and read the word of God. Likewise, the hard clothes may to give the impression that the preacher is a saint and not a sinner.

    So, I think that the moderation in all the times needs to be follow - for the Glory of God and not the man´s glory.
  6. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    Your context & culture will determine the answer.

    If I am preaching in an established church with a pulpit I wear a suit or a sport coat & tie, depending on where they are located. In some I wear I wear a clergy shirt & suit.

    @ my church plant I wear jeans & a collared shirt, never with a tie.

    The key point is that how you dress should never distract people from your message. You can do that by being too casual, or too formal.
  7. Reformed Thomist

    Reformed Thomist Puritan Board Sophomore

  8. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    Something low-key that doesn't distract the congregation with flashiness, "coolness" or make them think the preacher is "trying too hard". I would say that anything that bears witness to the preacher's personality (something that is happening in most evangelical churches) should be something to be avoided. The preacher is a herald of the King, and it is to the King that we are to draw all attention to.

    For what it's worth, I too have grown quite fond of the Geneva Gown.
  9. jfschultz

    jfschultz Puritan Board Junior

    I agree that the local culture is a major factor.

    As for areas where "European" culture is a norm, I favor the Genevan gown as a "uniform" or badge of office. It sets the man apart as being the preacher presenting the Word of God and not just the guy you went to the ball game with the day before.
  10. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

  11. ericfromcowtown

    ericfromcowtown Puritan Board Sophomore

    Reverently, but as others note, this will be culturally dictated. I don't think hip t-shirt and ripped jeans will ever be reverent, but far be it from us to exhort an indigenous Nigerian or Samoan pastor to necessarily wear a suit and tie if that's not appropriate and reverent in their cultural setting.
  12. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    The pastor should dress in a manner commensurate with his culture's custom of respectful attire. In every culture there is a way to dress so as to express respect for the dignity of him whose house we have entered. If he be of royalty then his visitors will dress accordingly, and the local citizenry will recognize the respect given.
  13. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    Doesn't his physical location (up front, possibly behind a lectern in a pulpit, etc.) set him apart? If most of the men in the church wear suits, the preacher would not be distinguished by wearing a suit.
  14. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Please fix your signature (see link in my signature below).
  15. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

  16. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I wear a suit when I preach, though occasionally I take off the jacket.
  17. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Senior

    The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
  18. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Dress "up" for your context.

    If you dress "up" the people will tend to follow. By showing a separation for a holier purpose, you will lead toward that atmosphere. Setting the tone from the top for that doesn't, of course, mean every person will follow, or that they ought necessarily be judged for that (e.g. James 1, and favoritism away from the truly poor, comes to mind).

    But many people will take a casual attitude toward the holiness of the Word, God's presence, the sacraments and focus more on the egocentric, because that's in the sin nature to do. Set a tone away from that and the "commonness" of other worldly tasks. And, don't forget to, in the ordinary course of things, preach on modesty- behavior and dress. Sorely needed in our generation.

    A casual or provocative dress will lend itself toward a casual attitude, or toward undue attention to self, neither conducive for the holiness of corporate worship.
  19. NB3K

    NB3K Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dress in a way that will not make you or your clothes a distraction from the Word that is being preached.
  20. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    It would be inappropriate to charge pastors with a duty (dressing a certain way) that the Scripture does not command. Context is key in this. My pastor (Mark Driscoll) would look completely foolish if he wore a geneva gown but it would be a silly idea for a pastor that preaches to an older congregation that expects a higher standard to adopt a jeans and shirt dress code.
  21. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It seems I answered this exact question here about a year ago. But I will reply again, lest an important point be missed:

    A preacher should dress at home before he gets to church, not in the pulpit.
  22. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    Are you connecting the pastor's dress solely to reflect the congregation? Should this be true for all circumstances (not elements) of worship? Would I, in a dress and headcovering, "look completely foolish" in your congregation?
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2011
  23. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    At one of our campuses I actually saw a lady with a headcovering and dress. I could ask the same question about your church. Would I look foolish and out of place in "tight" jeans, black hoodie, plaid shirt, chuck taylors, and tattoos? Why would the circumstances of worship not be flexible to allow creativity and the surrounding culture to influence the circumstances of worship?
  24. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    I doubt it. We have everything from shorts/jeans to traditional African dress to suits to those who cover--all in a congregation numbering fewer than fifty.

    Seeing one woman dressed that way doesn't mean it's not considered to look foolish.
  25. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Would you look foolish and out of place in tight jeans and a hoodie at a State dinner with the president and the queen of England?
  26. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    So, I assume you wear a tuxedo to church every week?
  27. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    I preached this past Sunday and wore a pair of dark grey chinos with a plaid button-down (similar to the one I'm wearing in my profile pic). Preaching again this week and will probably wear something similar (except probably with a "nice" pair of jeans instead of the chinos). And, I wear something comparable on Sundays that I'm not preaching, and most of the time during the week.

    We took on this topic recently over at Vintage73, if anyone's interested: Why is the Pastor Wearing That?! | |

    ---------- Post added at 02:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:15 PM ----------

    Oh, we know where this train goes... ;-)
  28. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    To answer your question: You would look out of somewhat place yes but we have a pretty wide swath of dress styles across our church.
  29. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Tight jeans? Please tell me you don't mean skinny jeans like these. View attachment 2150 And why do you say Driscoll would look foolish in a Geneva gown? I think he'd look quite respectable.
  30. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    No, not skinny like those. I look terrible in skinny jeans.
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