Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Keep Your Shoes Shined

  • Jim Townsley
  • Feb 26, 2009

The pastor's appearance is a vitally important aspect of his ministry. Consider the fact that the many of the members only see the preacher on Sunday and that he is in front of the congregation where people watch him before, during, and after the service. If something is amiss with his appearance people are bound to notice. If his shoes are not shined someone will question whether or not the rest of his life is in order. A man's shoes say a lot about him. A man's shoes reveal whether or not he is a worker, a perfectionist, lazy, organized, or frugal.

I remember an incident during the invitation several years ago. A young man had come forward to pray at the altar and some teens were watching him and giggling. After the a service I questioned the teens concerning their lack of respect and they explained they couldn't help but laugh because the soles of the young man's shoes were marked in large letters "Right" and "Left." Evidently the young respondent had difficulty recognizing his right foot from his left foot. This incident proved to be rather embarrassing.

The condition of a young man's shoes is often representative of the rest of a man's appearance. If his shoes are not clean and shined, perhaps other matters of appearance are unacceptable. A clean haircut, a clean pressed shirt, and a wrinkle free suit should all be carefully matched and color coordinated. It may not be important to you or it may seem an unnecessary expense, but an unkempt appearance will hinder someone from attending church and perhaps someone from hearing the gospel and getting saved. On the other hand ones dress should be subdued rather than showy. Expense is not the issue. Everyone must simply make the effort to keep their appearance as good as possible.

The general appearance of the preacher should also include his wife and children. A new church planter often cannot afford expensive clothes for his family, but even if they are not new they can be clean. The children should be clean and they should be properly dressed. Remember you are the leader of the church and you have a responsibility to set a pattern for others to follow. I recognize that spiritual knowledge and sacrificial service are a higher priority, but a man committed to the Lord will exemplify godliness in every detail.

Being a seasoned pastor, I can quickly evaluate a person's demeanor merely by his general appearance. Occasionally I am wrong, but most of the time my immediate impressions are on the mark. Let there be no doubt, the world reads a message by your appearance too.

The buildings and facilities are equally as important as the personal appearance of the preacher and his family. Every week the pastor should enter the property and buildings as if it were for the first time. Ultimately we all can become accustomed to clutter or a lack of order, but a visitor will notice the appearance of the building immediately. The entrance should be clean and inviting. The welcome center should not be cluttered with papers and forgotten Bibles. Tracts should be in an attractive display. Book tables should be covered with an attractive tablecloth. Song books should all be in their racks (or on the seats, if using chairs with no racks) facing the same way. Visitor cards and packets should be designed and printed professionally. Decisions cards should be at the front and easily accessible during the invitation. The carpet or floor should be properly vacuumed or swept.

The bathrooms are extremely important. They must be cleaned properly after every service and paper supplies should be sufficient. Signage should be visible to every visitor to help them find Sunday School classes, the nursery, and the auditorium. If a ministry has several buildings attendants should be stationed in visible locations to give guidance and provide information to visitors.

If using a rental facility, effort should be made to make the facility look as much as possible like a church. Often new churches purchase a van or/and a trailer to accommodate the PA system, printed materials, signs, carpet runners, drapes, electric pianos, and other possible electronic equipment as well as church supplies. Some meeting places provide a challenge, but every preacher should do his best with God has given him.

The first time you set up for church you will be conscious of the appearance of the meeting place, but after time has passed you may become indifferent to inadequate situations. Periodically it is wise to actually go though the routine of coming to church with the mindset of a visitor and ask yourself, "can we improve what we are doing?" The appearance of the preacher, his family, and his meeting place will require time and attention, but it will be time and money well spent.