How to choose the perfect ministry outfit


One spring afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, I roamed aimlessly around Dillard's, focused intently on finding the perfect "ministry outfit." I was one of five women who won a contest at seminary to go on a shopping spree to get a new outfit for our ministry positions and roles. The five of us were all admittedly excited about winning this fun contest, and as a poor seminary student myself, to be told I didn't have to worry about the price tag was a strange and unknown feeling! The four other women were soon-to-be pastor's wives, whose husbands were in their seminary training. I would later become a pastor's wife, but at the time, I was not married, 26-years-old, preparing for full-time college work through the Texas Baptists' Baptist Student Ministry.

It seemed like none of the four women had any trouble picking out a pretty dress or pantsuit. But for whatever reason, I couldn't find one single outfit I was excited about! Frustration, anxiety and guilt started flooding me. The price tags were making me cringe when I realized what it would cost for an outfit and shoes when I couldn't find anything I liked enough.

Reluctantly I finally spoke up, "Would it be okay if I went to another store to look for an outfit? I am not finding anything here."

"Of course. Not a problem!" the seminary representative said.

What a relief! So off I went, and within the next half hour, I had a beautiful, timeless outfit, which I felt good in and would enjoy wearing for many years to come.

This shopping spree was a fun and unforgettable experience. We can all probably agree how easy it is sometimes to get caught up in thinking about and tending to our outward appearances. Especially in our roles as ministers' wives. We want to look our best and present ourselves well, to have style and personality in our wardrobes and we want our husbands to be reflected well by us, too. No doubt, it is important to care about our physical appearance because it represents us, our families, our ministries, and ultimately, the Lord. Our physical bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit.

While I had fun shopping that day, God used this experience for more than just giving me a new, fun outfit for ministry. After the stress of trying to find the "perfect ministry outfit," I was joyfully reminded there were some things in life more important than having stylish clothes and cute shoes for church. He reminded me that I should be placing more of my time, attention and energy into putting on my "spiritual wardrobe."

What does a "spiritual wardrobe" look like for you and me? Let's look at these 3 scripture passages in the Bible on how to spiritually clothe ourselves. We are to …

  1. … "clothe ourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony" (Col. 3:14)
  2. … put on " … compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Col. 3:12)
  3. … not worry about what we will eat, drink or wear, for it is more important to seek the Lord and live righteously" (Matt. 6: 25-34)

We know from His Word that God loves us fiercely and cares so deeply about us, His ultimate creation. We were fashioned in His image, and He carefully and lovingly created our physical bodies and cares about how we present ourselves.

He also makes it clear that He cares more about our hearts, our humility and service to others, and being in His presence in spiritual worship. He created us with eternity in our hearts! Isn't that wonderful and amazing?

As we spiritually "put on" Christ and His qualities and exercise our spiritual gifts to serve Him and the church, we are then, without a doubt, wearing the "perfect ministry outfit." And thankfully, while it's fun to shop for a new dress and fun accessories, let's remember our beautiful spiritual wardrobes, which are the MOST important, will never go out of style, are always appropriate and are far more important to Him for all eternity!

Joanna Jespersen is the wife of Ryan Jespersen, Director of Urban Missions at Texas Baptists, and momma to two princesses, Rachel Beth (4) and Mary Kate (2). Being a pastor's wife in Dallas taught her a lot about the unique challenges and blessings of ministering in an urban setting. She has a heart for teaching and counseling, and enjoys crafting, thrifting and traveling with her family. She writes "love letters" to her little girls and really treasures the time she currently has being a stay-at-home-mom.

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