My wife and I recently went and watched a movie called Breakthrough at one of our local theaters. Let me first say that this movie was fantastic. The acting was decent, message phenomenal and I loved how it showed how all the emotions a family can go through during any times of trials and suffering.
The movie is based on the inspirational true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John (What a great name. But spelled wrong of course :-)) falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction.
I personally really connected with the Pastor, Jason Noble, in this movie played by Topher Grace of “That 70’s Show” fame. And its not just because of the character being a Pastor. No, its because I can relate almost 100% to how this Pastor was mistreated by Joyce, Johns mom, and how this Pastor was willing to use “outside the box” thinking to reach the next generation for Jesus Christ.
Without giving away too many spoilers for the movie, Id like to fill you in with one thing that this Pastor went through that I have also went through in my 7 years of full time ministry.
Joyce had an issue with her new young Pastors hair. Now, I tease my 15 year old son about his hair style all the time. He and I go back and forth about how his hair is “Justin Bieber Like” and he will say something along the lines that my hair style is the same as Noah’s was before the Flood. He and I have a great time about it. No one, in any Church I have been on staff at or Pastored, has ever commented negatively about my hair style but they have about my clothes.
My brothers and I grew up Pastors kids in the late 80’s into the 90’s. And as typical for that time period, there was a certain way we were to dress as the Pastors kids or for Church Service in general. Even as a child I never really was comfortable “dressing to impress” so to speak. But I do get the logic of dress in our “Sundays Best” when going to worship Christ our Savior and King.
Changes in what people wear to church reflect the wider cultural changes regarding clothing. The whole of American culture has dressed down. This has produced largely generational debates over appropriate Church attire. Those who favor more formal dress suspect casual clothes reflect a disrespectful, irreverent attitude toward God. Those who favor casual dress feel it reflects a more authentic approach to God.
Fact is, God does not explicitly endorse either formal or casual clothes in corporate worship. He doesn’t even enter the debate. In fact, outside of ritual Levitical laws that no longer apply in the new covenant, God says virtually nothing regarding how we should dress when we come together to worship Him. Here is what He does say though…
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives Grace to the humble.” (1st Peter 5:5)
So…based on Scripture, we are to wear humility.
Another fact is, all clothing — formal, casual, work, sport, beachwear, sleepwear, underwear, headwear, can be a source of great pride. There isn’t a clothing item or style that we can’t turn into an expression of self-centered, self-exalting self-worship.
However, if we clothe ourselves with humility, if we “count others more significant than ourselves,” and “look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others,” then no matter how we dress, we will honor and reflect Christ (Philippians 2:3-4). We should always dress modestly whether we are in Church Service or out. This also means that the way we dress should not be a “stumbling block” to others. (1st Timothy 2:9-10, 1st Corinthians 8:9)
I am not a big fan of wearing suits and ties what so ever. I always wear them though when I am officiating funerals, weddings or have been invited to events that require that particular dress attire. For the most part though, I preach in a pair of jeans and a nice shirt. I can assure you that how the Holy Spirit speaks through me when I preach does not change based on my “Sunday Morning Dress” attire.
I once Pastored this Church where some long term members found it disrespectful that a first time guest was wearing a hat in the Sanctuary. I refused to even say anything to this individual wearing the hat. This person very well may not have known Christ as Savior. Why would we want to hinder this guests potential Salvation based on our own personal beliefs?
If our hearts are wearing humility, what will matter to us is whether God is Glorified and others are loved. But if our hearts are wearing pride, we will disregard God’s Glory and others’ Spiritual health in favor of our personal beliefs.
Here is what I practice…I wear clothes that will keep myself or others thinking more about Jesus. In church. At home. At work. Anywhere. Everything should point to Jesus Christ.
Most people who know me, personally, know that I am a HUGE pro wrestling fan. That’s right….I said it!!! I have even said it from the pulpit!!! Laugh if you must but I find it entertaining lol. Although I did stop watching it for years due to the filth that was being allowed on the shows.
One of my favorite wrestlers is named Christian. He was also known as Christian Cage. His real name is William Jason Reso. But I will stick with Christian for now.
At any rate, I remember watching this dude wrestle in his prime and MAN he is a gifted wrestler. And he oozed of charisma. He made it look so easy. He just flowed in all his matches. In fact, a lot of his peers, who wrestled him during his prime, all stated that they enjoyed wrestling Christian and that he gave them a smooth great match.
One of the main things I love about pro wrestling, is when the wrestlers music starts playing and watching the fans reaction. Us wrestling fans call this a “POP”. This is when the fans jump to their feet and go crazy for the wrestler making their way down to the ring. What I noticed about Christian, several times, was that when his music would play, he would get one of the loudest “POPS” of the night. But during his match, the crowd was quiet. BUT…they were watching. And at the end of the match they would cheer him for the performance he gave. And trust me it was deserved.
What the fans, and myself, were watching was this smooth great ring technician put on a wrestling clinic for us. It was amazing to watch. All his holds, moves, charisma and ring psychology came into play watching Christian and his opponent put on an amazing match. I can honestly say that I do not believe I have ever seen a bad match that Christian was in.
One of my favorite preachers, on this whole planet, is my brother Andrew Terry. Not only is he an amazing preacher but he is a Godly man, amazing leader and is Co-President of a Homeless Shelter in Lapeer Michigan called the Refuge. The vision and heart that God has given my brother, and his wife Tabitha, for this ministry is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see where God leads him as he leads this organization.
As with most Pastor’s, we will not turn the pulpits over to just anybody to speak, teach or preach. We want to get to know them, where they stand doctrinely (is that even a word) etc. And while my brother and I do have differences in doctrine, I fully trust him to fill the pulpit for me and in my absence.
Here recently, I had my brother come in and preach for me, with me present, on the Great Commission. It was a PHENOMENAL message. And I am not just saying this because hes my brother. He knows very well that if he asked me how I felt about the message I would tell him, in private, and be honest. My brother gave an altar call at the end of the message but no one came to the altar. I encouraged him and told him that I gave a similar altar call a few weeks prior and it is not a reflection of him.
I went to most of the flock, in New Hope Alive, and asked them how they liked the message the Lord spoke through my brother and, literally, every one of them said they were floored by the amazing message that was preached by God through him.
You see, my preaching style, if you will, is more evangelistic. I shout alot, I am very animated with some “hell fire and brimstone”. My brother though, is more of a teacher. But when he teaches, those who are in attendance, are quiet, attentive, taking notes and completely in tune with what God is speaking through Andy to those who are listening willingly.
My brother is like Christian. When Christian wrestles, the fans are silent, watching a true technician put on a clinic. And when Andy preaches, he teaches a dynamic message, from God, and gives those in attendance a clinic on what Gods Word says. In my eyes, Christian is a legend in professional wrestling. And in my eyes, and so many others, my brother is a true man of God who teaches a dynamic, but easy to understand message from the Lord. Now that is a legacy I would love to follow.