I started on staff at a church when I was 19, and make no mistake – I wanted to be called “Pastor.” I think I lusted for titles more than anything else in the world. If I could have managed a way to do it with false humility, I probably would have worn a shirt every day with the word “PASTOR” plastered across the front. A couple of months into my position, I heard a teaching at a Bethany WPC conference by Claudia DeFejardo – it rocked my world. I got crazy-infatuated with loving people and not so worried with what they called me.
The funny thing is, that’s never who my dad was – he was always my example in ministry – but everyone called him BK. He never introduced himself as Bro. Kenny – he was just always Kenny to whomever he met.
One day at FC (about 3 years later), one of the church secretaries was trying to complete a list of phone numbers and she was worried about giving anyone the wrong title, so she asked my dad what my title was – he said he didn’t know. She asked what his title was and he said he didn’t know. I think we agreed that our titles didn’t matter – just call us “Bob” for all we cared.
Titles are a seductive thing at moments – but they contain little value. They may get you in the door, but I promise, they won’t keep you there. Christine Caine’s quote “What is ON you, will DESTROY you, if what is IN you, can’t SUSTAIN you.” In time, no matter what you call yourself or ask others to call you, your true colors will shine through :).
Today I’m a lot more concerned with BEING than I am in what I’m labeled. Titles are good for business cards, but you’ll know whether or not your pastoring by the late night phone calls, the tough situations where you have to deliver truth, the times of shepherding that take you to the limits of your own knowledge and wisdom, and the hurt that comes with all of it.