A church member yelled across the street at another member who he recognized. He said, “Hey Brother Lance” (not his real name). Brother Lance yelled back, “don’t call me brother, call me pastor.” This story illustrates something that I see a lot amongst us.
There is the question of disrespect, but there is also the issue of folks making a big deal out of titles. There is the issue of wanting to have the title without ministering.
Being in interdenominational ministry is interesting as it comes to titles. Some folks can make a really big deal out of them. Some folks care little about them. I try to use a generic title that can be applicable to everyone and I get grief. some are offended that I didn’t call them Pastor. Some are offended that I called them pastor. Some are offended that I simply called them Reverend while others are offended if you don’t call them reverend.
It looks like a lot of folks have a number of titles that move up. There is the lowly Brother and Sister that goes for the laity. They don’t deserve the titles that we ministers believe we deserve. Then there are the lowly “ministers” who haven’t been ordained yet and thus don’t have the title Reverend. Some ordained ministers will get upset if you call an unordained preacher a reverend.
Then there is Reverend. They have been ordained, but they haven’t got a church yet. Don’t make the mistake of calling a Pastor “Reverend”…they might bite your head off.
Then there is evangelist. That can be an ordained person or it might be an unordained person that takes the title because their church won’t ordain them. Likewise in some churches they take the title “minster” because their church doesn’t use the term and they are trying to claim ministerial standing.
But after all that then there is Bishop.
I can just call someone what they wish to be called. But should I get into their denominational squabbles? At the end of the day, I mean you no disrespect. I often use the term “pastor” or a generic “preacher” when referring to you. yes it is probably above what some of you think you should have…and below what others think they should have.
But as for myself. I think I’m gonna take the term “Brother.” Just call me Brother Cox. While I am ordained and have a theological degree, I think there can be no higher calling then to be a brother in the kingdom of God. I had been using the term “elder” which is a Biblical term and one that I have been ordained to. I have been called Reverend, because I am ordained. I have been called pastor because I have served in an assistant pastoral position. But the title game is one we need to get over…and I will make my little step in that direction. I will still call you reverend, pastor, or the like…but as for me…just call me Brother…I am your brother…