11 comments on “Saying “Goodbye” To My Beautiful Title

  1. I’m living this today. For the first time, I no longer have an answer to the question, “what do you do?” The first time I was asked, I was ashamed to say nothing. Today, I’m likely to respond, “hanging on God’s vine” … “what do you do”? Thanks, Jim. I felt as if I was all alone in this.

  2. Lora,

    You are not alone. You are never alone. Nothing you will ever experience will be unique to you. God is always faithful to bring people into your life who will help you along the way.



  3. Isn’t is a shame that we, as Christians, are still so vain in so many areas of our lives. How we need the Holy Spirit to continually sanctify us and the blood of Christ to continually deal with our sins.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Not to argue, but I dislike being called “pastor.”
    To elevate me above the other spiritually gifted in the church is wrong. I do not say “Hello administrator Ed, Hi Helper Patty, etc.” Our area has a majority Catholic, and the Priest is often venerated. Yuch. I am a brother, gifted by the Spirit to teach and minister. Only one part of the puzzle.

  5. I agree with with you. I, too, dislike the title “pastor.” But I have yet to find a substitute that conveys the same understanding of the position a “pastor” takes in the local church. My first pastorate was with a primarily elderly congregation. Their tradition necessitated calling me “Pastor Jim.” Although I was uncomfortable with the title in some ways, I felt it necessary to allow out of respect to the people and culture I came to minister to and with. However, I am also uncomfortable with the titles Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist and Teacher. Although I believe those gifts are in effect today, I see them more as a description of an office or ministry within the body than an identifying marker. But what else are we to call the one person who is the first among equals in a local church? I liked it when my congregation simply called me “Jim.” But what other word could they use to identify me to others? Lead Minister? Senior Elder? Head Cheese?

  6. Jim,
    I wondered over after seeing a comment that mentioned Little Portion monastery at iMonk’s place. I was a summer missionary in Eureka Springs working out of the baptist church downtown back in 1995. I used to drive past the monastery on the way to Wal-Mart and always wanted to visit it, but never did.
    Anyway, I wanted to comment on this post as well. I have only been a “head cheese” for a little over a year or so and still can’t get used to the pastor title either. I was used to people in the south calling the pastor “brother” so and so and I am more comfortable with that. But I will still take pastor any day over words like reverend or the nice Catholic lady at the hospital who called me “father.” I nearly choked on that one.

  7. Jeofurry,

    I laughed out loud at your reaction to being called “father.” One time the community was ministering at a conference center in Kansas that was staffed by nuns. Since I was wearing my habit, it was often assumed I was not only a brother, which I was, but also a priest. One day I was going into a building and held the door open for three nuns. As they walked past me they said, “Thank you, Father.” Naturally, I was at an immediate loss how to respond. Should I could I tell them I was a “brother” and not a priest; that I was minister with the Assemblies of God and not a Catholic; that our community was Catholic-based and ecumenical, all in the time it took them to walk through the door? All these thoughts occurred to me in about two seconds, so I replied to their “Thank you, Father” the only way I found appropriate. I simply said, “You’re welcome.”

    One more thought regarding titles. I think most people need us to have a title so they can place us in a certain position in their mind. There is no getting around that. However, I want to wean myself from needing such an identifying marker. It is happening slowly, but I know that my acceptability in certain circles will still be based on what I do more than who or Whose I am. We are a performance oriented society and there is no getting around that. Still, I am looking forward to that one day where God will take a look at my whole life and judge it for who and Whose I am, and not for any particular title I may have held.

    Thanks for stopping by.



  8. “Brother” seems to emphasize the idea of God the Father and set us on an even field. It has a nice ring to it. Most of the church is getting used to calling me Will. Call me anything, but yeah, Father does set the nerves on edge, i would have loved to see Jeff’s face!

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