What Should Pastors Wear?

robeWhat should pastors wear during worship? Joseph Yoo, pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara (CA), recently addressed this question in a post titled “Pastor Dress Code.”  He writes:

What is the appropriate attire that a pastor should wear on Sunday mornings? And, is it really that important? Apparently, the issue is much, much bigger than I had ever thought it would be.

So What?

I found myself spending more time reading the comments than the original article.  I appreciated the varied approaches people took in seeking to answer the question.

In my experiences, congregations have cultural norms.  Pastoral dress on Sunday mornings is a part of such.  The larger question, for me, becomes one of knowing how to determine when it is appropriate for a pastor or for lay leaders within the congregation to question whether or not the longstanding norm remains the best approach.  What wisdom can you offer in that regard?

My Experiences

For most of my ministry, I have worn a robe when leading worship on Sunday mornings.  I have, however, done otherwise when the context suggested something different would be a better fit.  In only one case did doing so create a new norm.  That new norm, however, was paired with a new worship service (and no change in dress happened during the other services).

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