by: The FMIN Apostolic Leadership Team
In some circles in the leadership of the body of Christ, being called by a title such as pastor, bishop, apostle and reverend is a very important tradition. Members of congregations are even required to address the leader with such a title.
We feel that the five-fold ministry giftings listed in Ephesians 4--apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher--are job descriptions or functions in the body of Christ rather than titles. If you search out the New Covenant scriptures, you will not find anyone, even Paul, referring to oneself with a title. Paul stated many times that he was Paul, an apostle called by God. He knew what his purpose was in the body.
When someone insists on using titles, it creates a hierarchy in people's minds. Someone with a title surely is more anointed, gifted, deserving of more respect than someone who is merely "Jane." This can cause people in a congregation to put the "man of God" on a pedestal and then think that they could never be as anointed as he or she is. We are all "men of God." God is our Father and He calls us His sons! In Christ, there is no male or female so the term is applicable to either sex.
Some say that a title is a way to show respect. We believe that respect comes when you see someone's work and it produces admiration in your heart, not because someone is referred to with a title.
The Word of God teaches that every believer is a minister. We are members one of another, one body. Everyone is as important in God's eyes as the one who is the leader. Leaders have more responsibilities than someone else, but not more anointing. They may know how to release more anointing, but we all have the same Holy Spirit in us, which is the anointing.
Although we value and appreciate the awards and titles that someone has earned, because we are the body of Christ, we choose not to use these in addressing each other. We prefer to be known as, "brethren" -- from the same womb and we choose to address each other by our first names.
Thank you so much for this article. I completely and totally agree 100% with this. I really believe we should all be viewed as the family of God and not one above the other.
by: Vickey Duff
In ministering throughout Africa from Kenya to Nigeria, I have found the preponderance of the need for titles to be one of the greatest problems set upon the church. It has hindered growth and has perpetrated a "tribal chieftain" mentality. The sad thing is that the common people see it as oppressive, but feel powerless to resist it.
by: Dalen Garris
Thanks this is an excellent topic.I believe totally your comments on this. As ministers of the gospel we minister to the heart and I believe also to the mind - holistically. I wanted to say titles become very useful in letting us get thru some doors, particularly here in africa, when reaching the elite class! I do not care about the title except for the above purpose. I believe that was also Paul's approach in the Bible
by: Boniface N. RUNJI (kENYA)
After reading this story, I totally agree with you, as I have that experience. In some churches I found pastors who sometimes act as if they are above God. Unfortunately that only leads to a church being risen by men's power and not God's power.
by: Joaquim Rodrigues