Did you hear last week’s message from Pastor Stephen?
We have a special message from Pastor Ron.
In some circles, it’s common for people to refer to their pastor by adding the title in front of his name. Maybe it’s holdover tradition from the Catholic Church. Maybe it’s a sign of honor and respect. Maybe I’m just expressing frustration at a personal pet peeve. Or maybe I’m just flat out wrong.
But addressing a pastor by his title seems silly to me.
We don’t do this with many other professions, but it’s common in many churches. Imagine how silly you would sound if you called someone Teacher Nancy or Accountant Dave.
Hello Lawyer Fred.
Hello Mailman Eddie…how are the kids?
Have a great day Cashier Nancy.
We don’t do this with others who perform vocational ministry. There’s no Missionary Dave or Denominational Leader Mary or Children’s Pastor Nancy. It’s just Dave and Nancy.
Jesus didn’t refer to his followers as “Disciple Peter” or “Disciple Mark.” They were simply Peter and Mark, without any titles. Actually, Jesus called Peter Satan one time! No matter your view on this particular subject, I do not recommend you address your pastor with Satan in the title.
Perhaps using the title is a sign of respect, a way of bestowing honor to men of the cloth, in the way we use the title President, Senator or Congressman to address elected officials. But when it comes to honor and respect, don’t ALL people deserve honor?
Do public school teachers not deserve honor? What about civil service employees or social workers? Aren’t these jobs worth of respect? If everyone is created in the image of God and everyone’s work is important to the care and cultivation of the world, why categorize people with spiritual titles.
It might be a misplaced view of work and a misunderstanding of what it means to be in the ministry. Giving greater honor to those who pastor a church because of their position is dangerous. It’s pedestal thinking that adds a brick to the spiritual wall built between the clergy and the laity.
“It’s often hard to get Christians to see that God is willing not just to use men and women in ministry, but in law, in medicine, in business and in the arts,” writes Tim Keller in Every Good Endeavor.
I could be wrong. I could be completely wrong.
But it seems like honoring certain people with a spiritual title completely misses the point of the humble, servant-like nature of their calling in the first place.