How should a preacher dress in the pulpit?

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Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
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.

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?

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?

Tight jeans? Please tell me you don't mean skinny jeans like these. View attachment 2150

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

Good. Every man looks terrible in those. Joseph, I edited my above comment, so you may not have seen it, but why do you say Driscoll would look completely foolish if he wore a Geneva gown? I think he'd look quite respectable.
 

Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior
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.

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?

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?

Tight jeans? Please tell me you don't mean skinny jeans like these. View attachment 2150

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

Good. Every man looks terrible in those. Joseph, I edited my above comment, so you may not have seen it, but why do you say Driscoll would look completely foolish if he wore a Geneva gown? I think he'd look quite respectable.

Again, I think it comes down to the context. In Seattle, no one wears a gown and it would alienate him from the congregtion. It would actually be a distraction to many people that come to Mars Hill.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
I think both the Pastor and the attendees should dress themselves in a manner worthy of whose house they are going to. Forgive me for sounding post-modern, but that looks differently for everyone. Some will show their reverence and humility by wearing a Geneva gown and others something less formal. All the formality in the world would not be good enough for God, so dress should be less about formality than conveying a respect and reverence for God.

On a side note, I saw Piper preach in a Geneva gown on Ligonier Sunday at St. Andrew's Chapel and I swear it was like 4 sizes too big for him. It was certainly different to see him preach in one, but I wouldn't say he looked foolish. I'm with Andrew in saying that Driscoll would look respectable in a Geneva gown.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
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.

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?

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?

Tight jeans? Please tell me you don't mean skinny jeans like these. View attachment 2150

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

Good. Every man looks terrible in those. Joseph, I edited my above comment, so you may not have seen it, but why do you say Driscoll would look completely foolish if he wore a Geneva gown? I think he'd look quite respectable.

Again, I think it comes down to the context. In Seattle, no one wears a gown and it would alienate him from the congregtion. It would actually be a distraction to many people that come to Mars Hill.

By no one, whom do you mean? No one who attends the church? Well I doubt any attendee other than the pulpit minister would be wearing a gown, so that doesn't make sense. Do you mean no other ministers? I've never been to Seattle but I find it hard to believe that no other minister in the whole city of 3 million people doesn't wear a robe. As far as the gown being a distraction, I just don't buy it. How in the world would that be a distraction?
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
It'd certainly be a distraction for a while, anyway, considering the culture of MHC. Folks could get used to it, but I just don't see it happening, considering his previous quips about "dudes in dresses" (referring to ministers in gowns). :)

Not really a big deal either way, though, since Scripture doesn't exactly dictate what a pastor is to wear.
 

Constantlyreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
It'd certainly be a distraction for a while, anyway, considering the culture of MHC. Folks could get used to it, but I just don't see it happening, considering his previous quips about "dudes in dresses" (referring to ministers in gowns). :)

Not really a big deal either way, though, since Scripture doesn't exactly dictate what a pastor is to wear.


I agree...scripture doesn't have anything to say regarding what a pastor is to wear. Interestingly, Christ does talk about how we should not give special attention to one who comes into the congregation who wears nice linens and has fine things. That would be one argument for trying to not draw special attention to oneself with a Ralph Lauren $10,000 suit. However, the martyrs are clothed in fine robes in heaven (Romans 8). I can see where coming to worship, we would seek to honor God with the best of what we have. It would make sense to me to wear my best Jeans if that's all I had as a congregant, and it would make sense to me to wear my best suit if I had suits. If I can get dressed up for my job during the week, shouldn't I give my God the same honor and respect as I do my employer?

In regard to the pastors, though, I'd argue that a robe or a suit has in the past been symbolic of the education and time it has taken for them to get to the point where they have been in the position over a congregation. Wearing a pair of shorts and a Hawaiian shirt will likely be too distracting for many people who have come to worship God. I believe a suit to be the least distracting, and will get in the way of worship the least. The focus is to be on Christ, regardless of the outfit of the preacher.

Really, the attire of the preacher should be no more distracting than the accent he has.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
in my opinion clothes should be clean, modest and a non-distraction. Personally, I'm tired of some people pretending that Christianity is a rich man's religion by instituting dress codes.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Ironically, in most modern American churches, the Genevan gown would not identify the office of pastor, and would be a distraction about sartorial choice.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Ironically, in most modern American churches, the Genevan gown would not identify the office of pastor, and would be a distraction about sartorial choice.

I agree. Ironically, in our culture many attribute to it the very ostentatiousness that proponents of its use here are saying it avoids.
I think that wearing a decent but modest professional clothing sends the kind of message that is in keeping with the point that was being made by going to the academic gown in the first place.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Ironically, in most modern American churches, the Genevan gown would not identify the office of pastor, and would be a distraction about sartorial choice.

I disagree. How would it not identify the minister? Is he not sitting up on the stage and leading the entire service? Isn't it a bit obvious when the man in the robe preaches the sermon that he's the minister? Sure, perhaps modern evangelicals aren't used to the gown, but I still don't see how it's a distraction. Are we Americans really that dumb?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Ironically, in most modern American churches, the Genevan gown would not identify the office of pastor, and would be a distraction about sartorial choice.

I agree. Ironically, in our culture many attribute to it the very ostentatiousness that proponents of its use here are saying it avoids.
I think that wearing a decent but modest professional clothing sends the kind of message that is in keeping with the point that was being made by going to the academic gown in the first place.
Yes, buttressed by the fact that the "academic gown" is no longer ever used in the academy.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Ironically, in most modern American churches, the Genevan gown would not identify the office of pastor, and would be a distraction about sartorial choice.

I disagree. How would it not identify the minister? Is he not sitting up on the stage and leading the entire service? Isn't it a bit obvious when the man in the robe preaches the sermon that he's the minister? Sure, perhaps modern evangelicals aren't used to the gown, but I still don't see how it's a distraction. Are we Americans really that dumb?
The point being made about the gown is that per se it identifies the minister. Your point could be made with the minister wearing an Hawaiian shirt.

The gown is a distraction because no one, anywhere, ever, wears a gown outside of those in the pulpit who choose to wear one.
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
How would it not identify the minister? Is he not sitting up on the stage and leading the entire service? Isn't it a bit obvious when the man in the robe preaches the sermon that he's the minister? Sure, perhaps modern evangelicals aren't used to the gown, but I still don't see how it's a distraction. Are we Americans really that dumb?

Again, I think his location does that for him as much as his clothes might. A gown might be a temporary distraction for someone unused to the sight, but I imagine the person would recover eventually. And yes, many Americans react negatively to whatever doesn't fit their preconceived notions of how things should be.
 

Philip

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?

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

Tuxedos are not worn to church ever. Morning dress is the appropriate formal attire. Tuxedos and other evening attire are never to be worn on the Lord's Day. Even at weddings, evening attire is a technical faux pas.
 

Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior
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?

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

Tuxedos are not worn to church ever. Morning dress is the appropriate formal attire. Tuxedos and other evening attire are never to be worn on the Lord's Day. Even at weddings, evening attire is a technical faux pas.

I was merely pointing out the problem with his question. Also, where in scripture does it prohibit wearing a tuxedo on Sunday?
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Also, where in scripture does it prohibit wearing a tuxedo on Sunday?

Nowhere---just in etiquette manuals. Tuxedos and other evening attire are worn for entertaining, theater, and at clubs. However, since these activities were traditionally not done on the Lord's Day, evening attire was traditionally deemed incorrect on it at all times. The correct attire for a formal Church service, historically would have been morning dress (long since abandoned in the US---Ronald Reagan was the last President to wear it for his inauguration).

And yes, I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to this.
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
Rather than mandate specifics, such as a Geneva gown or a suit, ought it not to be something that manifests the regard the preacher has for his calling and the dignity of the office? When I preached in Hawaii, I was told NOT to wear a tie since "only lawyers and undertakers wear ties here." So I did not do so (and felt uncomfortable in the not doing so). But it is my conviction that the preacher makes a statement to his congregation and his God by his apparel, so let that statement be that he believes what he is doing is of eternal significance.
 

Christopher88

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Scott, I was going to say, If I were a Pastor in the Pulpit I would dress like Mr. Roper with that cool 1940's hat and tux. Love the picture brother, tell Mrs. Roper hi for me, and next time your in town, I would love to get coffee with you my friend.

To the OP:
It does depend on the settings a lot. My Pastor comes in a nice shirt and kakies but no tie. (Salem is a Blue jeans. nice pants, polo shirt wearing crowd)
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
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.

Your pastor is over forty years of age and not a 20-something. I will be 44 tomorrow, and In my humble opinion would look quite silly in skinny jeans and a t-shirt in such an important office as that of preacher. I did notice that your pastor sported a nice suit when he preached at the Crystal Cathedral, however.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
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.

Your pastor is over forty years of age and not a 20-something. I will be 44 tomorrow, and In my humble opinion would look quite silly in skinny jeans and a t-shirt in such an important office as that of preacher. I did notice that your pastor sported a nice suit when he preached at the Crystal Cathedral, however.

Where is that 'touche' emoticon?

Suffice it to say that no matter how you dress in the pulpit someone will be offended.
 

Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Ironically, in most modern American churches, the Genevan gown would not identify the office of pastor, and would be a distraction about sartorial choice.

I meant that it removes the choice that must be made weekly. "I can't believe his wife let him out of the house with that tie," etc.

---------- Post added at 08:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:16 PM ----------

The Geneva gown is good. It identifies the office of the pastor and removes potential distractions about the pastor's sartorial choices.
Scott, I was going to say, If I were a Pastor in the Pulpit I would dress like Mr. Roper with that cool 1940's hat and tux. Love the picture brother, tell Mrs. Roper hi for me, and next time your in town, I would love to get coffee with you my friend.

To the OP:
It does depend on the settings a lot. My Pastor comes in a nice shirt and kakies but no tie. (Salem is a Blue jeans. nice pants, polo shirt wearing crowd)

Thanks, Chris! I'm actually in town--sending you an email now.
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Dress in the pulpit? Personally, I stay clear of wearing dresses.

Generally I wear a suit. In a contemporary service, I have worn Dockers and a Golf type shirt. However, I would agree with those who think that the preacher ought to fit without attracting too much attention to himself. In most American settings, a suit is still a respectful type of attire, even if some of the folks are dressed more casually. My tradition has never done robes, but I would gladly wear one for all of the reasons given by several in this thread.
 

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?

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

Brother, if you would be so kind as to first answer my question, I will most eagerly address yours.

Yes, I would look out of place at a state dinner hosted by the President.

Thanks, Joseph. And as you may have suspected I am drawing attention to the correlation between the dignity and majesty of Our Lord, His house, and His service which call for an attire corresponding to the occasion. Also, as per my first post in this thread, our particular culture informs us as to what attire in our generation conveys the due respect and reverence we have when assembled before our Majestic King.

Such attire will vary from Boston to Lusaka, from Singapore to Sydney, from Islamabad to Kiev. But every culture recognizes within its own setting when there is a particularly solemn and dignified assembly and how its people reflect that in their attire.

Sadly there are many in our generation who have lost the sense of reverence for the sacred assembly of the Lord's people in the Lord's house on the Lord's day. That casual attitude is reflected in the clothing selected for worship in God's House.

Mal. 1:6 " A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, 'In what way have we despised Your name?' 7 "You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, 'In what way have we defiled You?' By saying, 'The table of the LORD is contemptible.' 8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts. 9 "But now entreat God's favor, That He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts. 10 "Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you," Says the LORD of hosts, "Nor will I accept an offering from your hands. 11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations," Says the LORD of hosts
 
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