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#108 Relevant interpretation of the dress suit

When a pastor desires to be relevant he does not wear a suit when he preaches. Depending on which region of the U.S. he is in, he will dress in one of two ways.

If he lives on one of the coasts a relevant pastor will preach in a hoodie + ironic t-shirt + Chuck Taylors. Tatted sleeves or otherwise visible ink is preferred. Pumas or New Balance may be substituted for Chucks.

In the midwest and in the Bible belt a relevant pastor will have a soul patch + $200 jeans + sculpted hair that appears crunchy to the touch. A smattering of Ed Hardy frequently appears, and whitened teeth can be counted upon. Both demographics are prone to abuse hair product, but in the midwest/southern vector the abuse is somewhat more pronounced.


relevant pastor dress suitThe method of expression differs between the regions but their motive is the same: the pastor doesn’t want to be like the PC guy, he wants to be like the Mac guy.
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posted December 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm

this is so true it hurts. i’m definitely a pc, there’s no shame in my game.

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posted December 8, 2009 at 5:01 pm

My pastor in Vegas wears a polo shirt and slacks. I’m not sure that’s relevant.

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posted December 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm

per your examples, i would say that the ability to offer a quality ‘studface’ (also known as ‘making love to the camera’) is key. and Ruth, if you can accurately use the word ‘slacks’, there is no hope of relevancy.

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Travis Mamone

posted December 8, 2009 at 6:24 pm

It wasn’t that long ago that pastors who wanted to be cool wore Hawaiian shirts, was it?

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Kevin Sam

posted December 8, 2009 at 11:26 pm

I wish I could be like the Mac guy but I’m still PC inside.

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stephanie drury

posted December 8, 2009 at 11:34 pm

No Kevin, embrace it! Embrace your inner PC! :)

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posted December 9, 2009 at 11:26 am

Ours has thin mutton chops.
But he’s pretty cool and good to listen to despite trying to look relevant.
At one of my previous churches, the pastor wore slacks and some sort of button-up shirt. But he like to rock the acoustic guitar. Which was weird.

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dan reagan

posted December 9, 2009 at 1:04 pm

im not old or young,but my pastor is in his mid thirtys and one of the most godly men ive ever knownand he dresses that shocked that either of these two are assured thier way of dress isnt the norm for freewill baptist pastors.

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posted December 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Travis….the Hawaiian shirt is still relevant (though only to a specific culture). It is a Calvary Chapel 40 years+ pastor thang and is always a dead give away!

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Rollo Tomassi

posted December 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Every time I consider the push to be “relevant” in evangelical culture all I can seem to imagine is a media focus group of unshaven christian guys sipping redeyes or nonfat lattes in a circle of comfy chairs at Starbucks trying to brainstorm hipster ideas to get their friends on the college campus to go to their cool church.
It’s like Def Jam evangelism.

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posted December 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Yes — I have an idea. Why don’t we just be ourselves?
Oh yes, it’s true that when I came into the church “from off the streets”, one took the church as it was – – period. Some of the behaviors and mannerisms and modes of dress of some folks I thought to be somewhat corny and off the wall: but I could not argue with the fact that they had been with the living Lord Jesus Christ and out of hearts of love they shared Him with me. For a young person craving some love and attention, not only did I receive it from the Lord Jesus, but I fell in love with His people also (with all our faults in the mix).
Sure — some may find us quirky and a little odd, but I am sure they will be more apt to “take” us that genuine way then for us to be “relevant fakes”.

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posted December 11, 2009 at 12:58 am

So glad I came across this blog today! Laughed so hard it hurt at times…

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posted December 13, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Here’s an excellent link:
It’s an interview with megachurch-y pastor Steven Furtick where he talks about his designer jeans. Seriously.

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Sensible Joe

posted December 14, 2009 at 12:23 am

All good reasons for the vestments used in traditional, liturgical traditions. No need to keep up with the latest fashions to look “hip” then, which only distracts from both the message and the task at hand.

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posted December 15, 2009 at 10:38 am

I’m not an Evangelical — I’m a Lutheran with nosebleed-high liturgical tastes — so you can take this for what it’s worth; but to me nothing projects clerical gravitas like the standard black clerical shirt. This is especially true for female pastors, who even these days run the risk of having their professional credentials questioned during hospital visits and such if they’re not wearing clerical garb. The professional clerical shirt is also, I am told by my pastorly friends, an excellent witnessing tool…my own pastor notes that he’s been approached by more strangers in airports, at gas stations, etc., to talk about Godstuff because of his collar than he would ever be dressed in his civvies. (Although he generally combines the professional shirt with jeans and workboots.) Basic black also means not having to think a lot about matching; it’s always hip (Reverend Run, anyone?); as my pastor demonstrates, it can be accessorized to communicate accessibility without suggesting that the wearer is en route to a luau or bowling league.

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posted February 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

In the church’s I grew up in (which were many) I noticed this particularly in the Youth Pastor’s. My last one wore what looked like the same khaki pants with very little variation in his hip shirt to go with it. I often wondered if it was the same pants or if like Monk, he simply had a row of the same brand in his closet.

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