Should Pastors Try to be Uncool?

Should pastors try to be cool? was published on the 9Marks ministry website. In response, I will provide a different perspective by asking the question – Should pastors try to be uncool?

1. Being an uncool pastor is not the power of God unto salvation—the gospel is. If your evangelistic success is thought to depend on a cultivated uncool image, your trust may not ultimately be in the Holy Spirit working through God’s word; but in the ability to attract people to said image because it is outwardly different from everyone else.

2. Being disconnected to the culture is a double-edged sword. A pastor wearing a kufi, and his wife a hijab, may endear them to Muslims, but probably won’t endear them to most of their American neighbors.

3. Our desire to be uncool may reflect more pride than we’d like to admit. Let’s say you want to be uncool, purposely distancing yourself from cool. Is your desire to cultivate the uncool image driven by a desire to save the lost or a desire for people to like you because you stand-out as better than cool?

4. Much pastoral ministry need not be labeled uncool. Preaching the gospel is a stumbling block and foolishness to both cool and uncool people. Moreover, pleading with people to repent and believe the gospel isn’t necessarily cool or uncool. Yet, there is no reason to label Kingdom work as uncool. I mean – What’s cooler than pouring yourself into others for their eternal benefit?

5. We must never despise “cool” brothers and sisters in Christ. The more we try to be uncool ourselves, the more we’ll be tempted to look down on Christians who are not like us.

6. Being unlike the culture can make it hard for others to see the gospel. The word “cool” has different connotations. Moral and spiritual bankruptcy exists in cool and uncool people; in those with tattoos and without; in those who wear suits and those who wear jeans. Being cool means different things to different people in different cultures and sub-cultures. However, the gospel much be highlighted in any and all of these cultures. While Christians are not of the world, we still live in the world. And Christ-likeness comes through the person who is being conformed to Christ’s image regardless of the “coolness” factor.

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tagged as in apologetics,Christianity,Culture,Evangelism,Gospel,morality,theology

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Robert Vaughn August 14, 2013 at 7:13 am

The weak link in this discussion, from either direction, is the concept of “trying to be”. I think a lot of that comes from a misreading of Paul’s concept of being “all things to all”. He was not trying to be something he was not, but rather was willing to ditch the privileges he had to further the gospel.
I also noticed that neither you nor 9Marks really defined “cool” and “uncool”. That had a meaning to us in High School in the mid-1970s, but does it mean the same thing today?

2 Mark Lamprecht August 14, 2013 at 9:56 am

@Robert Vaughn I purposely stayed as vague as the 9Marks article by not providing definitions or explanations. The 9Marks article came across basically as a “do ministry my way or you’re compromising.”
Who is to say what cool or uncool is? There is and always will be cultural aspects that influence ministry.

3 nomdeplume1976 December 23, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Shouldn’t pastors avoid doing things that draw attention to themselves? Shouldn’t pastors behave and dress in such a way that makes them as inconspicuous as possible, so that the teaching of God’s word has sole focus? Shouldn’t a pastor and church be known for clear, precise bible teaching, which glorifies and draws attention to the Son?
In my humble opinion, the questions regarding “to be cool or not” seem irrelevant and man-centered. As you read through the writings of Paul, he cared not for how he was perceived, but only that the truth was proclaimed.


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