As some will know (those who take the time to explore this blog) – I wear different hats. By saying this I refer to my functioning ‘roles’ in life.
The most important thing for me is to be firstly a faithful preacher and teacher of the things of Jesus Christ.
I have never been enamoured with ‘Titles’. But I realise for many people a title is the first port of call when checking the authenticity or legitimacy of people in the Christian Ministry. (Are you a Pastor? – is the usual question)
And they usually have a clear idea of what title you need before giving you credibility.
Indeed they will unconsciously and automatically give you greater credibility if you carry the title ‘Pastor’, regardless of your sermon, (be it at a deeper level or not).
When examining anyone who ministers the Word of God there are usually set questions that are asked: Are you an ordained Pastor? Have you been to Bible School? What denomination do you belong to etc?
That Peter for example was a fisherman and the disciples were not part of the religious establishment, doesn’t seem to cross their minds. And yet Peter is given of course, greater credibility than their own local bible school qualified ordained Pastor.
The Religious leaders of the day questioned the Son of God –
14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
We might paraphrase this in modern application by saying: ‘How come he can teach not having gone the accepted way of the ‘cloth…’?
On another occasion Jesus was asked: “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things? Or who is he who gave You this authority?”
The answer to both these questions was that He had perpetual fellowship with His Father and all His knowledge was resident in both He and the Father. It was of a heavenly nature, not dependent either on man’s acknowledgement or censor.
There is sometimes present with ‘examiners’ a kind of dismissiveness, whereby they seem to consider your words or preaching/teaching somehow lacking in authority, because you do not spend your time reminding everyone that you are a ‘Pastor’ or a graduate from the religious seminary.
I say this not only for my benefit but for all those who wish to serve God in spreading the gospel message.
You are first Chosen by The Lord – regardless of man’s affirmation. From those spiritually discerning you should also get their approval, i.e. man’s affirmation.
But God makes it clear where a Christian’s individual calling comes from FIRST. It is firstly from above.
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Notice the Holy Spirit is speaking (the Holy Spirit said,) and the calling is from God Himself (I have called them).
Man simply confirms what is already evident, and firstly given by God Himself.
I do not mean by this that everyone should automatically and unquestioningly (for there are charlatans about), be accepted as a Minister of Christ, because they claim to be.
But I do insist that it must come from above first, before qualifications or credentials are bestowed by man.
There is a setting aside of those who are called to a particular expression or ministry in the Body of Christ (the church).
We call it by various names. ‘Ordained’ would probably be the most common. An ordained minister.
This affirmation of title, is not always difficult to obtain. And it ‘sounds’ good to those who want to hear it first before giving permission to minister.
However such titles can be bought, but a life of intimacy with The Lord Jesus Christ cannot.
Matthew 20/24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
This speaks first of the attitude of the heart.
The Pharisees loved greetings in the market place and the chief seats in the synagogues.
We do not read of Pastor Anyone in the Bible. We do read e.g. of the Apostle Paul, the prophet so and so, but not of Pastor Anyone.
I have been variously referred to as Pastor, Evangelist, or Elder.
My parents ‘ordained’ me as Douglas Kenneth when I came from her womb. And I never liked the ‘title’ – Rather – Ken will do.
The title/job description ‘Pastor’ is so much now a part of the Christian church’s means of showing respect that I don’t think it will ever change. And indeed I don’t hold with a religious inverted snobbery either, where I would not give respect to whom respect is due, just because they are constantly referred to or addressed as Pastor.
If this is a means of showing respect then so be it. But let’s not reserve the respect for those with the title.
Please, if you don’t mind, respect me as a person first, regardless of my job description.