Creative LeadershipEngaging Culture

Pastors: It’s Time to Send the Affliction Brand Shirts to Goodwill

When the first pastor took off a suit and decided to preach in jeans with his shirt tails out, he was original. But now that the majority of pastors in America seem to be doing the same thing, it’s not innovative anymore – it’s just following the herd.  The same thing is true with the Affliction brand shirts – you know, the shirts with the elaborate crosses, wings, and other embroidery on them. Those were in style for about 12 minutes around 2006. So if you’re still wearing them, it’s time for a visit to Goodwill to make a drop off.

Attending a pastor’s conference these days is like attending a cloning convention.  All the same outfits, from Affliction shirts, jeans, pointy toed shoes, cool glasses…. What does that say about following a God who introduced Himself in the first verse of the Bible as a “Creator?”

The point is, we need to spend less time chasing cool, and more time being truly original.  Spending too much time chasing “relevance” results in becoming hopelessly irrelevant. Originality isn’t about following the herd, it’s about charting new ground.

There’s plenty more to talk about here, church websites for one. They’re all starting to look alike as well. Where are the innovators? Where are the truly original thinkers?

In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Church believed in artistic talent so much they became patrons of the arts. They found the most talented and original artists of their time and funded their best projects. But today we’re satisfied with ripping off popular culture and following the herd.

It’s time to break out.  Time to show the culture that Christians are charting a new course. Let me ask you: What kind of impact would it make in the secular culture if we really embraced our God given creativity?

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  1. We should all wear polo’s and Khaki’s outside of Sunday Morning Worship, and suits and ties on Sunday. Unless you’re in Texas, no ties in the summer. There! Now we can all be unique!

  2. I would imagine most pastors want to look like the “normal” guy so others can relate to them. What they wear doesn’t bother me, I want to see true followers stand up for truth, preaching the gospel not watered down themes and be unafraid to offend when necessary.

  3. I can understand dressing to fit in with other skateboarders, but dressing to fit in with other Christians seems a little insular.

    God demonstrates his wisdom in variety

  4. It all really is a quest, isn’t it? A quest to blend in, look cool, be unique, be noticeable…

    I know when I go to a conference or even meet with someone more “hip” than me (everyone) I take an additional interest in what I’m wearing, how I smell, etc. The thing I keep coming back to is: Jesus is really into a healthy self image (Do unto others…). Doing the hard, deep work of the Spirit in these waters is pretty choppy. It’s much easier to buy another shirt…

  5. Yes! Where are the original thinkers?! We are quietly doing our thing. I’m glad people don’t copy me…because then I would have to change what I’m doing 😉

  6. the problem “cool” is always going to be a trend. Find what you like and wear it and ignore what others say. My Hawaiian shirt collection has come in style and gone out twice now, but I wear it no matter what. Lets people focus on the inside message instead of the outside wrapper.

  7. Fashion is the last frontier for Christians. To be innovative on the outside but stay humble and “one of the people” will be a challenge unless you decide to be uniquely you and call it a day. (More on the fashion thing later). But I hear you on the website and design. I recently visited a relatively new church in New England. Less then 5 years old and now more then 200 people. But the format and style was copied straight out of something I would have visited at Andy Stanley. My first thought was, “well- I guess they read the play book and the step by step instructional manual. Where’s the creativity and originality that makes them “them”.” Oh, and the pastor had a graphic t-shirt on. LOL. I agree Phil! With so many LEADERS in the body, you would ask where’s the leading?

  8. I heard you on the radio today Phil talking about Christian movies an how they are just out of date. I had to take your info down to write you this. I feel the same. Christian movies today are just boring to me. I’m 34, so if they are boring to me how do we capture the attention of the new up & coming?? Why don’t we have good christian films out there in the theaters now? Is it that the people in the position to put them out just don’t believe in God? I don’t get it. I have a vision of one day putting films out there that people can relate to, that are up to date. Films that speak truth about the God that loves us & the things that are destroying lives like, Alcohol, lustful thinking & porn, drugs, being unfaithful, bad language, the list just goes on. It’s funny how you see all these things on t.v. in commercials even, but they don’t mention the damage these things cause. I hope to one day bring this vision to the new age films. I could talk for hours about this, but I’m gonna keep the flame burning. “Glory to God” God is good always an forever:)

    1. There is a new Christian movie coming out called The Identical. It should be really good. I had the opportunity to work on-set here in Nashville. Fun movie!

  9. We need to look at this message a little deeper then shirt tails, cool glasses and image. What I see here is Phil is trying to point out that if we are all the same and we are not charting out new paths, being creative, then we are all carbon copies of each other. If we are identical then nothing will ever change. He is using fashion as the symbol to prove a point that “relevance” will end up becoming “irrelevant”, if we are all doing it.

    Who cares if your shirt tail is out or you wear trendy glasses or even if you wear an affliction shirt. CARE if you do that to be relevant, CARE if you do that to fit in, CARE because you are becoming a clone of being “relevant” and you have stopped living the creative life that the Lord has given to you.

    1. Bingo Michael — you nailed it. It’s about not simply following the herd, and being who you uniquely are – however that should be expressed..

  10. My pastor has pretty much been himself when teaching and all the rest of the time. Clothes (80’s & 90’s) — hair (just a bit strange) — and teaching (incredibly gifted and passionate).

    When visiting a church out of town, the pastor asked where we went to church. I told them the church and pastor name. His only reaction? A sour face and he said, “What’s with the hair?”

    Obviously he was familiar with my pastor and the ministry — his negative response told me an awful lot more about him as a pastor than about my pastor.

    Any surprise that I haven’t been back to his church again?

    Remember, God looks on the heart.

  11. So Right On Bro! Thank You. Lunch to talk Media? Let’s do that! Warm regard, Millicent A.

  12. As members of the congregation, let’s be praying for our pastors and telling them to their face that what we’re desperate for is faithful preaching of the Word, not a new/different tie or some faux-casual look. We have an obligation to our pastors to help them with this.

    The money line in this post was this: “What kind of impact would it make in the secular culture if we really embraced our God given creativity?” Beautiful, and inspiring.
    Thanks, Phil.

  13. Actually I rather “like” the shirt tails out – the reason why is it covers your “business” that I DON’T want to see because you are wearing “jeans” that point to it or are so tight they mold that part of your body – ( I think they stitch them with thread that points to it or its gathered there in such a way that all attention is given to your body part) -men need to start taking their wives with them when they shop for pants because maybe you think its “all” that but I don’t want to “see” it – so please pull out the shirt tails – amen!

  14. As a pastor, I am going to be me. I will wear suits because, I like wearing suites. If I wake up on a Sunday and don’t feel like wearing a tie, then I don’t wear a tie. I would prefer giving God my very best. I rarely consider being relevant. I actually believe the more professional a person looks the more relevant they become. I don’t follow fashion, and I desire to God’s approval over that of society. Key…let the peace of God rule your hearts. What is wrong with just being me? What is wrong with just being who God made me to be?

  15. Thanks so much for writing this haha! I often joke to my wife about the “Pastor uniform”. I’m not biased or bothered by it, but it is funny that you can usually spot a pastor in public by the shirt, shoes, jeans and very often, sadly, a subtle (likely accidental) communication of over-confidence and self-importance. That said, I love pastors. My dad’s one, my brother’s one, I was one and probably will be again.

  16. I too have noticed the pointy toed shoes. Makes me think these men are compensating for something. Why do they all wear the same shoes? I can’t stand those things and now see it as a clear sign that the pastor is more into being hip than being honest to himself. they all look like clones.

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