Although, there’s no “right” answers to how a pastor should dress. There are many arguments that support either a specific appearance or an extreme freedom to appear however one likes. However, here are a few thoughts on things to consider while dressing up as a leader. Much of this content could also be applied to church staff.
1) Choose CONVICTION not COMPULSION.
First of all, have a definite conviction about your role and your calling from God. Your belief about your specific ministry will help define your dress code.
For instance, if you are called into a rural setting your dress up maybe a nice shirt, jeans, and some boots. But if you’re sent to a city, then it’s something entirely different.
Don’t choose your attire because of compulsion. Don’t just follow trends they change every now and then.
Consider how the late Dr. Billy Graham was never seen without a suit and tie at his crusades, yet he reached millions for the Lord from every age group, all over the world. That was conviction.
Never let the latest mega-pastor style automatically be your style. Unless you are convicted because of ministry and not the latest trend, don’t do it.
2) Avoid Choosing Convenience Over People
Don’t put your preferences ahead of your love for others. The bible warns us of becoming a stumbling block ( 1 Corinthians . We must refuse to put our own rights ahead. It is not a sin to dress without a tie and coat, but it can be a problem for others we are sent to. The matter becomes sin when our own preferences become our idol.
Don’t do it for convenience, it’s easy to put on jeans and head to church. However, should you only decide based on something being casual, comfortable, and cool? Or is there more to it than that?
For instance, how do you expect to see a surgeon ? And how would you react if it was someone in jeans and sneakers, holding a scalpel, asking, “Are you ready?” We all need a clear understanding of people’s role and responsibility.
Many of us expect to see police officers in uniform, except they are undercover or off duty.
Many of us do this with the plan to infiltrate the culture and be accepted by the culture.” but at what cost?
Somehow, some way, people need to see who you are. What we wear matters. Give it some thought, pray about it, and consider what you are saying by what you are wearing.
3) Understand The Demographic Context.
Different churches in Africa have different expectations about dress than some in Western countries. Finding out how other pastors dress in your community can be helpful.
Also, Find out how the men in your own congregation dress for worship services. Understand the church’s expectations. The expectations of churches in the same community typically vary.
When on a visit, you can ask your host about the expectations of your attire. All these is to ensure the way you dress never becomes a distraction or stumbling block.
The pastor’s attire in a worship service can be a big deal for some church members. Don’t let the way you dress become a major divisive issue. For example, if you notice a more informal trend for dress in your church, you may want to move from wearing a tie all the time to leaving the tie off sometimes.