I generally wear a tab collared clerical shirt. I wear these everyday, whether I am visiting shut-ins or not, whether I am conducting a service or not. I’m not dogmatic about this. I really don’t care what other pastors wear. I know some fine pastors who come from the Robert Preus (+) days that typically wear shirts and ties during the week, and clericals for Sunday services. No biggy for me. I wear what I wear because I find that it reminds me constantly of my Call as a pastor.
I wore the neckband for years, but got tired of the sweaty neck (I live in an extremely humid climate). Recently, however, I began teaching at a local college. For this, I purchased some shirts and ties to wear with my slacks, you know, to “look the part.” Today after class I was walking through Wal-Mart doing some shopping, and I noticed that people were a lot more friendly to me than they usually are. Strangers nodded, some even smiled, and chatted with me. And then it dawned on me–I was not dressed like a Priest. The difference was palpable. No one is ever that friendly to me when I go to the store. But then, my attire was not calling attention to my Office or the Christian Gospel. No wonder people were being friendly. Normally children stare at me like I’m some sort of oddity. Today one little boy yelled, “Are you a principal?” Go figure.
As I said, I really don’t care what other clergy wear. Our Church does not prescribe any particular attire, and I’m sure there are many who dress as I do that are not solid theologically. For me, the clothing I wear has as much of an effect on me (if not more so) than it does on the public. When I am wearing my “blacks” I feel as if I am “dressed for the Ministry.” When I wear a shirt and tie, I feel like I am “dressed for teaching” at a state run college.