Does apparel make theMinister?

posieh(3)July 31, 2010

We have a new Minister at our church and we love his sermons. But, he is a younger man and wears T-shirts and casual trousers while he is preaching. I think he should at least wear a suit, I know he probably will not wear the vestments of our church. My kids say "what difference does it make?" "Does it change the message he is giving?" I say he is the leader and should distinguish himself from the general audience. That your dress probably does equate authority. A leader should be respected from all angles.....??? I think we have become too casual as a population. I know it doesn't change his sermon, but come on now, he is the head of our church, let's dress like a leader!

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Dress doesn't make a leader, the ability to lead and communicate does. Be thankful you have a Minister who is young, who gives sermons you love and a Minister who appears to be reaching young people.

There are a lot more things to worry about than that we've "become too casual as a population". You're lucky to have this man. Start listening to your kids. They're living in the 21st Century.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:20PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

"Dress doesn't make a leader, the ability to lead and communicate does. Be thankful you have a Minister who is young, who gives sermons you love and a Minister who appears to be reaching young people." IMO, this says it all.

Don't forget that the founders/originators of most of today's religions dressed 'down' or in the clothing of the most common of commoners. While today many of us have the social/cultural tradition of "dressing up" or wearing formal attire to church, this is a reflection of the "class system" where the lord of the manor and his family wore velvets while the servants wore their everyday attire. In other words, the financial ability to wear special clothing to church was (is?) flaunted, while the universal beliefs of treating all others equally or better than oneself is ignored.

My own opinion is that neither character nor religious 'goodness' is shown by what one wears; those attributes make themselves evident by what each person does or says, and most especially in how we treat others.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 1:24PM
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Posie, I tend to agree with you. Clothes don't make the man, and, as Sheila wrote, "Dress doesn't make a leader"; but it does send a message. IMO, there still should be some places that are deserving of respect and the altar is one of them. My minister, in his late 40s and very in tune with young people, wears either a suit, sport coat with shirt and tie, or clerical robes, for Sunday services. BUT -- at other times he is VERY casual--baggy T-shirt, shorts and all. Add to that the fact that he is short and stout -- sometimes, it's not a pretty picture! LOL

Having said that, our congregation is also VERY casual; I doubt there are more than two men--at the 8:15 a.m. service, which I attend--who wear a suit; females also dress very casually, especially in warm weather. Dressy clothes are not necessary in order to worship, God just wants us there.

Still, Posie, I agree with you.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 1:42PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

I also think your minister should respect the feelings of his congregants. If many are uncomfortable with a very casual appearance and dress, then he should respect their wishes and neaten up a bit. But if there are some who feel less intimidated by a minister in gardening clothes, then so be it.
No, clothes don't make the minister, but the way he dresses does show something about respect for the congregation's wishes.
I don't know what denomination you belong to but in many churches the minister is called by a committee from the congregation and it's the board, elders, deacons whatever you call them who are the real leaders of the church.
Linda c

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 3:21PM
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I don't go to church anymore for many many reasons and that kind of thing is one of them. Bottom line if you are a religious person...what would Jesus say about your question?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 4:45PM
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You said the minister was a younger man and that "My kids say "what difference does it make?" "Does it change the message he is giving?"
Perhaps he is trying to reach the younger people in the congregation. IMHO, if he would reach the young people and also keep some traditions for the "older" congregation, he'd be a winner.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 7:41PM
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Reminds me of something from long ago. I remember standing at the altar exchanging vows of marriage and looking out over the pews, and seeing a man sitting amongst the fancied up guests, but wearing mechanic's overalls ............grease and all. I can only imagine the usher asking him on which side he wished to be seated. God, do they still DO THAT? It always reminded me of picking sides.

Anyhows, I remember smiling and just forgot about it. Some weeks later, a gentleman who worked in a garage on the mail route I delivered came up to me and commented on my wedding and remarked that he was privileged to be there. One day when talking to my priest, I mentioned the gentleman in overalls nobody seemed to know and it was explained to me that communion was given and it's open to anyone who wishes to come and partake of it. Even if it's a stranger and we didn't invite him.

IOW it's not my wedding accomodating someone who wanted to partake of a was the sacrament who was accommodating my wedding. OOOOOOhhhhh.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that we are all looking at the same thing but no two of us will 'see' it in exactly the same manner. What you view as respect, he may see as confinement. You might try discussing it with him. I'll bet his response would be interesting.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:43PM
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The thing I wonder about is that he obviously is a wonderful speaker and must love what he does to be able to come across so well. If he was told or it was suggested that he change his attire,I wonder if his sermons would change in their flavor.He couldn't possibly look at things the same way after that. Let us know how this all works out posieh

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 10:06AM
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Oh, I'm guessing he must be aware that his attire will strike different chords with some of the congregants. What I'm also guessing is he might welcome a member of long standing having an exchange of thoughts about it. He might even be waiting for that to happen. My guess is he wouldn't be offended and his answers might give a clue of his visions for his ministry.

I understand where you are coming from, Posieh because my husband just came home from attending a funeral and the first words out of his mouth were there were some young people there dressed 'inappropriately'. This thread immedieately shot to my mind.

I do know that many, if not most, of our local 'traditional' churches with rituals and vestements are suffering a decline in youthful members. Next month, the church my husband's grandfather literally built shall be closing its doors because slowly over the years the children in the church grew up and one by one the activities concerning the youth disappeared. The congregation is now almost entirely on social security. I sometimes wonder if they hadn't made some accomodations young people might have found comfortable if it wouldn't still be growing and present.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:48PM
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There is a time and place for everything.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 7:27PM
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I'm from the old school and how you dress did make a huge difference. Now, my thought is: our schools might not have so many problems with kids, if they dressed differently instead of being so casual etc. They are NOT one of the students, they are in charge. Perhaps dressing differently would get the kids attention, and they would show them more respect and respect what the teacher is saying. My thought is that those in authority or the head of a church or other organizations should dress as business people. I see business men in suits every day, all day. They haven't resorted to be casual. One of my daughters is a CEO and she "dresses" every day. A Judge wears his robes, the Military wear their uniforms. It would be a sad day if the Generals appeared in T-shirts and blue jeans! I think if the Minister's message reaches the younger generation it would be even more meaningful if he wore a suit and that would also tell them that he is in a position to know. Boy Scouts wear their uniforms proudly, their leaders wear their uiforms proudly. Why shouldn't a minister wear the churches vestments proudly? It's interesting to hear everyones opinions. I hope the President of the USA doesn't resort to wearing blue jeans while giving a speech !

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 7:57PM
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I'm in the Janis court.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 8:50AM
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Well, I can certainly understand and respect your take on it Posieh. My dh has the same feelings and we discussed it more this morning as I was curious and wanted it elaborated. He said he has run across it at various churches, and one pastor even goes so far as to wear bermuda shorts. He said, as I suspected, that it is intended to draw in an audience who may not attend if more formality was instituted. My suspicion is that if a person weren't drawn to attend, they're not going to anyway and having to dress up is as good excuse as any. ;-)

If you feel that strongly about it, I still think discussing it with your pastor is appropriate. It does no good to encourage one segment of the congregation only to lose another.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 1:03PM
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Our congregation still (mostly) wears dress clothes on Sunday. I was brought up to believe it was a sign of respect. Honestly, it is the same clothes I wear to work each week, so it is not out of the ordinary for me. Sunday evening and Wednesday evening services are generally jean attire for me though.

Like others, there are a few times I wish some of the younger generation could take a little bit more effort....and sometimes COVER up a little more, but in the end, it is not our clothes that determine our relationship to God.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 4:34PM
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I've enjoyed reading the different points of view about a minister's apparel. It's interesting to learn how others think about such matters.

It's also refreshing, IMO, to see it done in a polite, courteous manner --so different from most of Hot Topics, it's amazing! (I know the name implies the content, but sometimes the lack of civility is very depressing.)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 6:07PM
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May I add, I'm just a lurker on HT; I also know what Harry Truman said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!" (I think it was Harry!) :>)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 6:09PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

People tend to treat you differently depending on how you are dressed. Had a friend who had been out doing heavy duty gardening and was filthy. She hurt her arm and had to go to the emergency room. She said she was treated like trash, because she "looked like it". A few weeks later, she had to take one of her kids to the emergency room, wearing her business clothes and got a lot more respect from the staff.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 4:04PM
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I wonder if those attending the Sermon on The Mount took time to put on their best clothes before they went,

I know what you are saying, and I sort of agree. He should look presentable, However, our denomination insists on the clerics and choir wear plain vestments. The reason being that they don't think the pulpit is the place to show off a nice looking outfit. I guess the same reasoning would hold for casual wear. You don't want the listeners to concentrate on what the minister is wearing. The lessons given in the sermon are the important thing.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 2:32AM
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