In the past, I always felt that people should be dressed very similarly to the people they’re trying to connect with and reach. So, if you’re a missionary in Papua New Guinea, you dress exactly like the locals do there. If you live in (fill in the blank) city, you should generally dress just like the people in that city. So that meant that as a pastor, I should generally be dressed down. I brought that same kind of thinking when I came here to Pioneer Memorial church. Part of my role was going to be to help with evangelism and discipleship and to connect with students. A part of me was thinking that I’d be dressing fairly casual–like the students–for the sake of the missionary imperative.
A few weeks after getting here, though, I found out that PMC has a dress code. Because it’s associated with the university, they generally want their pastors to look quite professionaly, which includes wearing a tie. When I first heard this news I was initially really disappointed. After all, how would I then be able to connect with the students? But…you do what you have to do, right? I went with it. And to be totally honest, I felt like I was compromising my missional integrity a little bit in the process.
Here’s two lessons that I’ve learned in the past six months, though: