The Distraction of Titles

“…well done good and faithful servant…” – Matthew 25:23


Titles.  We all have them.   Mother, father, pastor, sister, brother, minister, manager, supervisor, etc.; titles have become an important part of our lives, whether we want to believe it or not.  They have defined us, inspired us, and even motivated us to change who we are because of being given a certain title.  Although our society facilitates our thinking that titles make us who we are, we have to understand there is only one title that should govern our lives; the title of “servant”.

I have been in transition for the last few years.  In my career I have progressed to titles of supervisor, manager, and senior manager.  In my ministry I have been given titles of minister, leader, and pastor.  When you become accustomed to those titles you get comfortable in those acknowledgements and the element of elevated status begins to kick in.  Usually when you are promoted to certain titles in your career, your earning potential increases and increased wealth becomes a reality.  You purchase items that you may not have normally purchased; you travel to places that were once foreign to you.  Your experiences broaden and you are invited to circles of societies that were unknown.  Your status has changed and there is an air of confidence that sometimes could turn into arrogance.

In the church you may have started off as a minister in training.  You sat in the back of church just wanting to soak in the initial calling and trying to understand what it all means.  As the months and/or years pass you get licensed and eventually ordained.  You are no longer sitting in the back of the church but have progressed to either the front row, pulpit, or you are being escorted through the pomp and circumstance to the pulpit.  You have arrived!  If you are honest you have had this feeling and to had spiritually struggle with its implications.  With the title of bishop, apostle, reverend, etc. you are invited to certain functions that request your presence because of you who are.

I am being taught that if I am not displaying a servant mentality in any title I hold it means nothing.  Recently I have had this lesson look me right in my eyes in both my career and ministry.  I have taken a new position with another company and my title at my prior company was senior manager.  When I joined this new company I was given the title of manager.  Although in my new role I received more responsibility and money, I was still bothered by the title of manager.  In the church I have been accustomed to people addressing me as “minister”.  But recently there have been more people calling me “sister” or just my name in the church.  This was due to being introduced to different church environments and recently joining a new church.  My flesh (the carnal nature of man) was offended.  In that offense the Holy Spirit “checked” me and begin to correct my disposition.  He explained that the only title I should care about is the title of servant.  It does not matter that people call me minister, manager, etc.  It should only matter what I do within the opportunities God has given me.

Servant leadership strips us from our titles and places proper perspective in our lives.  Through this invaluable lesson, I no longer place a title in my email signature at work and do not feel like I have lost my purpose in ministry when people just call me “sister” and by my name.  Let us all learn this lesson in our careers and ministries so it does not distract us from the true nature of why we exist.  We exist to serve.

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2 thoughts on “The Distraction of Titles”

  1. Very well spoken with honesty about your own struggle to loose the titles. Titles are a distraction for us. That’s why God keeps giving us frustruated feelings of inadequacies so that we will bend our knees to Him and cry out for help. Otherwise, we become so big headed until we are no use to Him. A real servant humbles himself and strips away all pride and arrogance. The distraction of who I am and not whose I am makes us less effective in both worlds. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God…..He will exalt you in due time, wait on the Lord.

  2. What an insightful blog. Thank you for being so transparent. I am a new Pastor and struggled with being called Pastor. Prior to taking my position in the church I was called pastor by many, but never felt worthy of such a title. In addition in my last church my Bishop changed our title as ministers from “Reverend” to “Elder”. Through study and prayer we all became more aware that the only person “Reverend” the the bible was Jesus. And scripture never uses “Reverend” but refers to clergy as “Elders”. This made the transition to my new title to “Elder” really easy. Yet there were so many that were offended by the title change. Yet still I have continued to be challenge in the Christian arena regarding my tile of “Elder” vs “Reverend” in the Baptist denomination, and we all know that denominations are man made and not scripitual. Never the less I continue to recieve “looks” wheni introduce myself with first and last name and not my title of “Pastor”. I am certainly ware of church protocol but my tile isn’t who I am it simply what I do. I am a SERVANT of the most high God!!! Now this the title that means most to me! Humility plays a major role in how I feel and I pray that this never changes. I am a servant leader following Christ’s example left here on earth. Thanks for the opportunity through your blog to express my thoughts. Beside only what we do for Christ will last. Titles will come and go.

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