“The Runway Leading Up to the Pulpit”

In case you haven’t heard, Texas mega-church pastor, Ed Young, has launched a website called Pastor Fashion.  You can check it out here.  Here’s the mission statement, taken right off the site:

Pastors aren’t typically known for their fashion. Most people don’t think of the runway leading up to the pulpit. But why not?! Why can’t the men and women of God set the standard for the rest of the world in fashion as well as faith? That’s why we’re launching PastorFashion.com. We want to set the trends.

Young is a believer and co-laborer in the Lord’s work.  He is my brother and ministry companion.  Even though I have never met him in person, I will spend eternity with him, and we will worship Jesus together forever.  But brothers err, and when these brothers are also pastors, there are times when public confrontation is entirely necessary.  In my view, this is one of those times.

This whole Pastor Fashion bit troubles me.  The very idea of a “runway leading up to the pulpit” brings out the Hyde in me.  I’m convinced my indignation is righteous.  If you’re not, then consider the following.  I hope it will help us see why this is all so treacherous.

When it comes to clothing, there’s not a great deal of prescriptive material in the Scriptures.  Women are warned about the dangers of being obsessed by outer appearances (e.g., 1 Tim 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 3:3-4).  Inner beauty is much more important, and pleasing to God.  The issue of elaborate dress among men doesn’t come up in the New Testament–I guess there weren’t any metro-sexuals in the first century.  Those were the days.  But what is very clear in Scripture is that a man who holds the office of pastor/elder is not to be a lover of money (1 Tim 3:3), and by implication he is not to be consumed by the things that money can buy.  This certainly includes expensive clothing.  If he is preoccupied with his fancy wardrobe, there is a serious problem.  Another issue here is that pastors/elders should not want to be the center of attention.  They should desire for all attention to be on Christ.  A pastor’s thought process should never be, “What can I wear today that will wow my parishioners?  I want them to walk away saying I’m a great looking pastor!”  At a conference a few years back, John Piper commented on how he thinks about his preaching attire.  It’s the complete opposite of what Ed Young is suggesting on his Pastor Fashion website.  Piper explained that his goal is to dress plainly, so that his congregation will never give the slightest thought to what he is wearing.  He does not want his garb to distract or to take the focus off the gospel.  Piper realizes that he (or what he is wearing) is not the point.  Christ is the point.  This, my fellow pastors, is a much better way to approach “fashion.”  So disregard the ridiculous notion of a “runway leading up to the pulpit,” and shine the spotlight on Christ.  After all, He is the only One worthy of all our attention and affection.

“It’s a Dangerous Business, Frodo, Going Out Your Front Door…”

Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise, we will be in the air within the hour and in Dunedin by 10:00pm on Wednesday night (Birmingham time).  In case you missed it when I posted before, here is our itinerary, along with a few specific prayer requests.  We selfishly ask you to pray without ceasing–we’re not going to get any sleep for a few days, and it will make us feel better if you don’t get any either.  :)


Depart:  Birmingham – 11:55am (Feb. 7th, Bham time)

Arrive:  St. Louis – 1:20pm

Depart:  St. Louis – 2:35pm

Arrive:  Los Angeles – 4:45pm

Depart:  Los Angeles – 10:00pm

Arrive:  Auckland, NZ – 8:00am (Feb. 9th, NZ time)

Depart:  Auckland, NZ – 2:30pm (Feb. 9th, NZ time)

Arrive:  Dunedin, NZ – 4:25pm (Feb. 9th, NZ time)

Prayer Requests:

  • That we would display patience, kindness, gentleness, and the love of Christ toward one another and toward anyone else we might meet along the way; it will be a long two days of flying and layovers with two little boys (age 2 and under).
  • That God would place polite people in our path who can help us get our seven checked bags, four carry-on bags, and two children through the check points and across the airport.
  • That our boys will be able to sleep (at least a bit) on the flight from LA to Auckland, New Zealand (this is the long flight, obviously).
  • That we will arrive safely in Dunedin, New Zealand, with all of our baggage and sanity.
  • That we will be able to find a church, a place to worship and serve, within the first few months.

Many thanks!

P.S. – Fret not, regular readers, I’ve scheduled posts for publication on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  You’ll have plenty of reading to do…