Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut



  • Jim Townsley
  • Aug 23, 2007

The first thing that you learn upon meeting a person is their name. It's also something that you usually remember because it is important when meeting them again. Not only are people identified by a name, but also they are frequently known by titles. The Mr., Mrs., or Miss are called courtesy titles; and Dr. is a professional or academic title that people work very hard to acquire. I like being called Pastor because it best describes my calling to the ministry.

Names and titles can be helpful and often are necessary, but preachers must be careful not merely to seek a title. Though you may have an earned or honorary doctorate degree, the Scripture warns us not to follow the example of the Jewish leaders who were filled with arrogance and hypocrisy. Luke 20:46 Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

Preachers must seek loftier goals than having an engraved name on the door to an office, because being a pastor requires more than holding a title. The most important aspects of being a pastor is the work of shepherding, feeding, and caring for God's flock. Although preachers can be known by other names, I prefer the title of Pastor or secondarily the title Preacher. But others are less flattering or biblical such as Reverend, Clergy, Doctor, Father, Bishop, or even a man of the cloth. I like the biblical term Pastor because it indicates responsibilities that accompany the name.

Every young preacher must decide how he wishes to be addressed by his members. I believe the calling to pastor a church and preach the gospel is the highest possible calling a man could receive. Every preacher must be careful to dignify the office by his actions and live up to the responsibilities expected of him. Some preachers prefer a more casual approach to titles, and they may ask members to call them by their first name, such as Ron or Bill etc. This casual approach can lend itself to a casual Christianity and the respect for the office of the pastor may be diminished. A man's title does reflect his attitude toward God as a whole and the ministry specifically.

When I hear someone say Pastor, my head turns just like it would if one of my children called Dad. The name carries with it the responsibility of shepherding, feeding, and protecting the flock. The title of Pastor has a biblical foundation. A careful study of the word of God reveals its origin is derived from the Bible word Bishop. Vine's dictionary describes a bishop as an overseer. A pastor watches over the church and cares for it. This calling demands that the pastor be constantly caring for those to whom he ministers. The responsibility of a pastor is a full time job as he watches and cares for the church. Pastors do not punch a time clock and they do not have work hours like many professionals. A pastor's job is every day and every night and his work is never done. A pastor not only cares for his members, but is responsible for his entire community in which he lives. I was taught in Bible college that I was the pastor of my community and I have considered myself the pastor of my town since the start of my ministry.

In addition, the pastor's attire must always be appropriate when reflecting upon his position and calling. We must not forget, we are considered a pastor even when we go to the store. If the community sees us at a local store in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt we risk losing their respect. When counseling at the church office, we must take the time to be sure we have on a tie and represent our position in a dignified way. Any time we are at the church property great care should be taken so as not to denigrate this holy position. The pastor's demeanor and speech likewise should reflect the dignity due the position. A preacher should keep his shoes shined, and his clothes neatly pressed and clean. His tie should match and not be gaudy. Likewise the man of God must refrain from being tacky, gaudy, and crude in his behavior. A preacher who is crude in his behavior will quickly lose the respect of his members and his community. People are always watching and if we do not hold ourselves to the highest standards we can disappoint others who need our leadership and our help.

It is imperative that every young pastor make the transition from being a college student and a member of a church to being the respected leader of his congregation. The responsibilities of the office of the pastor are great and should be taken seriously. Therefore, lift up the office with dignity and respect.