No titles.

ShortNotesShort Notes / insights and encouragements

If the public or the movers and shifters in society are given enough time and exposure to certain textiles, colours or ideas they soon become the latest trend.

Who are you? What do you do?

The question sometimes raises an uncomfortable issue.

If you are looking after a church you may well say that you are a pastor, overseer, or elder. The same goes for the evangelist. There is no clumsiness. There is something about the prophetic that doesn’t seem to allow for anything other than anonymity.

Prophetic people often have a difficulty about what to call themselves, especially seeing as the entire church is called to be a prophetic community (Joel 2) in which God is revealing His will, providence and sovereignty.

If you call yourself a prophet now, what are you going to call yourself when God increases the call and opportunity in your life? A super-prophet?

It can be difficult – but the issue is that titles are sometimes more important to us than they should be. I think the difficulty here is about our endorsement of titles against functions. What we do as opposed to what we want to be called.

The latter is unimportant but sadly many find their self esteem in it. I know a number of people who are desperate (and I mean desperate!) to be known not for having an apostolic or prophetic ministry, but with the title of Apostle or Prophet.

Kindness forbids me from mentioning their names here!

In some of the church today people are often referred to by their office as a title, Evangelist Denton, Prophet Stodgegrass, Pastor Philips. This is not a biblical norm, but it is what we do.

It is like the Pharisee’s with their long flowing robes and prayer shawls, standing and praying aloud for others to hear in the public market place.

We hear of Philip the evangelist, John the Beloved, John the Baptist. What they do is is not governed by title. There are many who have the title of Pastor who simply don’t have a pastoral heart. Many Reverend’s that are not reverend!

Paul is referred to as the Apostle Paul, but if we are to be fair to biblical exegesis, that is a title referring to his ministry. Paul’s letters start with ‘Paul, an apostle by the will of God…’

Paul recognises in his teaching the great responsibility that lays with him as an apostle but never refers to the rest of the apostolic team by title, only as a function. He recognises that he was the least of the apostles, but doesn’t say that he was less than apostle Peter or apostle Bartholemew.

Whether it is Pastor, evangelist prophet, elder or deacon, all are all functions and not titles. We are together in the kingdom with different jobs to do and mutual respect for each other. If we are consistent we have to be equitable and give everyone their due recognition – Cleaner Bill, Musician Dave, Administrator Debbie, Alpha Leader Cedric… it really doesn’t make sense!

Instead of getting caught up with a quest for profile, recognition and title lets give ourselves to being as Paul Cain says, ‘a nameless, faceless generation’, people who are prepared to serve God without title or privilege.

Honour where is honour is due, but not titles, that is the world’s way of finding value and esteem.

In reference to the prophetic ministry, what do we call ourselves when people ask what we do in the church?

After a lot of thought I have found an answer that suits me and it is that my role or function is to restore hope in the heart of the believer. The prophetic does that wonderfully…

Don’t let what you do be the thing that defines you. If you love Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of your life, then don’t degrade yourself pursuing a title that gets the approval of men. It’s not what you do. It’s whose you are.

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