Of course, not all preachers wear ties anymore. Some among denominational preachers wear robes and collars, but that is an article for a different time. Why do preachers wear neckties today?
To answer this requires some knowledge of the origin of neckties. It is said that early Roman orators wore neckerchiefs to keep their vocal chords warm. Military members of ancient nations and civilizations, like China, Croatia, and France, wore them as visual accessories. They have long been tied, pun intended, to status and wealth, and early predecessors were even used to mop up perspiration. For many years, though, it has become a component of fashion that goes with the button-down shirt and suit or slacks and blazer. It has come to signify dignity, formality, and solemnity, a recognition of the importance of an occasion. Grooms typically adorn formal wear, including a bow tie, for the wedding. People, though not as often as in days gone by, wear such apparel to funerals. Galas and formal events, charities or other organized functions, are occasions where suits and ties are found. Though society grows increasingly informal, many still recognize occasions where such attire, including the tie, is fitting.
As one who sat at the feet of Wendell Winkler, I will likely never preach without wearing a tie–outside of Bible camp, foreign mission trips, and similar situations. A balanced, reasonable man, brother Winkler helped us see that the occasion of preaching commands as much dignity, respect, and reverence as we could muster. This included a coat and tie.
We do not wear a tie for our vocal chords, but it is no doubt a visual accessory. We do not don them as a symbol of wealth, and we should not be seeking status. Most wear them out of respect, some out of habit, and others still out of a sense of others’ expectations.
But, here is the point. A sound gospel preacher is not measured by what he puts around his neck. Such a man is identified by what comes out of his mouth. Such a man is determined by his thoughts, his character, and his fruits. Far better is an honest truth-teller with his top button unfastened than a slick, deceptive orator who nonetheless is adorned with coat and cravat. It is unlikely that Peter, Paul, or Jesus wore a tie. It is fine and for many preferred for the preacher to have on a tie. Just let him be sure that His heart is fastened to the Lord and His will (cf. Titus 2:10).