MegaPastors Reaching People By Their Fashion
Carl Lentz and Judah Smith, two prominent Hillsong pastors, are “winning” millennials back to the church by their fashion sense.
Or, so claims the online Fashionista magazine. The tagline for the website’s article is, “At a time when millennials are ditching religious gatherings, these men of the (very good) cloth are winning them back.” The claim is simple; these pastors care so much about their own personal fashion, that they’re reaching fashionable people.
Reaching them with what, exactly, the article doesn’t say.
Megachurch pastors Carl Lentz, Chad Veach, Rich Wilkerson Jr. and Judah Smith may not be household names outside Christendom, but you can bet that Hailey Baldwin knows who they are. She, along with stars like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Luka Sabbat and Khloe Kardashian, has attended their churches, been photographed with them repeatedly and shouted them out on social media.
With millennials leaving the American church “in droves,” how do these pastors continue to draw thousands of young, culturally aware people to their Sunday worship services? The answer is complex, of course, but there’s no doubt that fashion plays at least a supporting role.
The article cites a celebrity tattoo artists named, “JonBoy” who heard about the stylishness of Hillsong pastors and immediately wondered if he could attend church with his cap on (JonBoy is famous for tattooing the Kardashians and is responsible for the cross tattoo on Justin Beiber’s face). When he found out that Carl Lentz had tattoos, JonBoy was set on attending the church based upon nothing but the pastor’s conceived coolness. Once in the door, JonBoy says he felt the presence of God and “rededicated” his life, but never would have gone if it wasn’t for the appearance of the fashionable pastors.
Behold, the power of God. The article continues…
It’s not just that pastors like Lentz have tattoos, though. They also wear capital-F fashion. And while they may not talk much about the brands they wear or tag them on Instagram, those in the know can easily recognize Supreme, Common Projects, Gucci and more as their wardrobe staples.
That’s right. These pastors are reaching people because of their great taste in clothes, with a “capital-F fashion.”
Not all church attendees can afford to cop designer pieces like the ones they see worn behind the pulpit. But that doesn’t stop their followers from emulating their pastors’ looks.
“They’re influencers for their own churches. It’s really funny,” says Clayton Chambers, a former buyer at Barneys New York and co-founder of a popular menswear blog. “People literally look just like how their leadership dresses.”
Rich Wilkerson, Jr. is the pastor of two dear Christian saints, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian (pictured above), and his church actually puts out its own fashion line. Yes, that’s right. The church has a fashion line. In fact, they’re not the only ones. Aside from Clayton Jennings’ Jesus Jesus Jesus clothing line, there’s a long-list of fashion lines put out by hip churches here.
Chad Veach, another Hillsong-affiliated pastor, said the following…
“Ultimately, what is our brand? Our brand is the gospel. Our brand is Jesus. We’re trying to sell the good news of who Jesus is. If a hypebeast-worthy look is what makes you open to hearing about that, these guys are all for it.”
In the mean time, Jesus sent out his disciples with strict instruction not to own more than a single coat.
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