I recently came across a blog post called Does It Matter How the Preacher Dresses? written by Joe McKeever. It is an interesting article and is worth reading.
For some traditions, this is not an issue. You wear your clerical collar and robes (I was raised Anglican). For others, there is more to talk about. I know of one pastor who was criticized for not having his tie tight enough.
What have I done?
I have gone through a number of styles during my pastoral ministry. At my first church as a youth pastor, I wore a suit and tie every service. In my next church, as an associate pastor I usually wore khakis and a button up shirt. I was at a multi-site church and the site where I gave oversight was a younger and more informal service. They would actually tease me when on the odd occasion when I wore a suit.
I was a solo pastor at my next church. I wore a suit and tie for the first couple of years. But then I gave up the tie and only wore sports coat in the colder weather. No one noticed the change when I made it. I am two months into my current pastoral role and I have only worn a tie once (but I didn’t wear a jacket).
So what is my view?
I have known churches where the pastor is to dress in an expensive suit to provide an image of success for the congregation to attempt to emulate. I don’t think that is healthy.
We should acknowledge that the Bible is silent on this. If anything it says we should not seek to impress people with how we dress.
Having said that, I agree with McKeever about sloppiness. I have no intention of preaching in ripped jeans and a Kiss shirt (yes I own a Kiss shirt). I try to dress in such a way that I show that I take my job seriously.
That is not to say that I will judge those who preach in shorts and a t-shirt. When it comes to how to dress, it is more about preferences than a right or wrong. besides, there are much more serious issues when it comes to pastoral leadership.