10 Reasons Why I Don’t Insist People Call Me ‘Pastor’

Pastoring in the 21st Century

I pastor in a rural context where I’m called ‘Pastor’ more than my actual name. It’s almost like my identity. But I tend not to insist (or expect) everyone to use the title of ‘Pastor’. There’s certainly nothing wrong with using the title; and for most, it’s simply a way to show respect. I don’t disregard that. I just simply value relationships over a title.

10 Reasons Why I Don't Insist People Call Me 'Pastor'

When I was a boy, I dreamed of becoming a pastor. I guess with that, came the title and honor.  From a child’s perspective that might have been where my dreamed stopped.  But as I actually embrace the pastoral call, I’m realizing being awarded the title really isn’t that important.

There’s a whole lot more to pastoring than the title.  And there’s a whole lot more to me than pastoring.  There’s a whole lot more to #pastoring than the title. And there’s a whole lot more to me than pastoring. Click To Tweet

I’ve chosen to respond to both those who use the title, and to those who don’t.  I don’t hide from my calling and I certainly don’t lie about what I do in the community, but they aren’t usually the first words out of my mouth either. We have to remember that we live in a pluralistic world. Most people don’t view clergy like generations before us.

I want to share ten reasons why I don’t ask people (especially those outside of my local church) to call me ‘pastor’. Hopefully this will help you, wherever you are in your journey, to realize that relationships are more valuable than a title.

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5 Benefits of Small Town Living [Guest Post]

Sabryna Anstey: From City to Community

When I applied for the Children’s Pastor position in Glenwood, Newfoundland, I didn’t even know where Glenwood was. I just knew that there was a need in this community and I felt a call to fill that need.

Small Town Benefits

Moving from Paradise (20,000 people) to Glenwood (800 people) was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Not just for me but for my husband as well. I was fresh out of university, newly married, and had just started to get settled into my first apartment and new friendships. We are all called to something, but when God calls you to a place you’ve never been, a place with a population of 800 people, I can guarantee there is a struggle in your spirit.

During this time of struggle I couldn’t help but remember the part of 1 Samuel 15:22 that says “…obedience is better than sacrifice.” I was obeying a call that was completely out of my comfort zone and I was being thrown into the deep end.

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Planning a Communion Meal

Tips and Ideas to Help

Since our ministry began, I’ve asked myself some serious questions.  One of them — what constitutes a ‘church service’?  What I’ve learned, is that we tend to allow our tradition, and not scripture, to answer that question.  The Bible never describes a ‘church service’ as people reverently sitting in sanctuary pews, while singing hymns and listening to a well-dressed pastor.  Can a ‘church service’ look like that?  Sure!  But it’s not what actually defines a ‘church service’.

Planning A Communion Meal

The Underground Church

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of being a part of a short-term missions team.  I’ll never forget experiencing an underground youth group.  Yes, they sang songs.  Yes, they heard from God’s Word.  But other than that, the ‘service’ looked NOTHING like what the average North American would call a ‘church service.’

It was full of community, unity, friendship, authentic connection, love, and selflessness.  Their goal wasn’t to serve themselves and welcome Jesus to ‘their service’, their goal was to celebrate Jesus through their community and serve Jesus.

A ‘church #service’ is about #Communion together as we celebrate Jesus. #unity #community #Acts2 Click To TweetWhat did I learn?  A ‘church service’ is about communion together as we celebrate Jesus.  Outside of the basics, the format doesn’t really matter.  The only fundamentals we know of, include teaching the Word, breaking of bread, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42).

So, what if we planned a service around one of the most significant aspects of our faith?  What if Holy Communion was actually the focus of our service?  What if we didn’t just ‘partake’ together, but actually ate together, like Jesus’ and his disciples did during the Last Supper?  (Check out What Happens During Communion? for more.)

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What Happens During Communion?

Questions About Easter

Have you ever wondered what Communion is all about?  We probably know the basics — as an act of remembrance, Jesus told his followers to break bread and drink wine.  But is that it?  Is there anything else happening during a Communion service?

What Happens During Communion

Growing up I was taught about the symbolism and what Jesus did on the cross, but I missed out on how important and fundamentally central communion actually is.

Jesus modeled the Communion service

Communion is so important, it was one of the last things Jesus did with his disciples before his death.  We take the words of Jesus and model our Communion service after them word-for-word:

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Why Drinking Coffee Doesn’t Save People and Why Serving Coffee Does

5 Reasons Why We Serve Coffee at Our Church

We’ve allowed people to drink coffee during our worship services for quite some time now. Yes, it creates a relaxed atmosphere, but I’ve questioned its long-term effectiveness.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that coffee itself isn’t special.  It’s what happens in the process of serving and drinking that has the potential of changing lives.

Why Serving Coffee Matters

Changing lives, you say? Yes. In a world of selfishness, people are longing to authentically connect. And connecting as a community is a biblical concept.  In writing to the Churches in Galicia and Ephesus, Paul wrote:

“…do not use your [new] freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

How do you serve and love one another?

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NIV)

All too often we let these texts speak to us in a reactive way.  When something negative happens, we put on our loving and serving hats and try to make the situation positive.

But… what if we wanted to create a positive culture to begin with?  What if loving and serving actually described our Church community?  What if Christians engaged in authentic love and concern with fellow Christians?

I believe one of the ways we can proactively create a positive atmosphere, is by helping people connect with each other.One of the ways we can proactively create a positive atmosphere, is by helping people connect. Click To Tweet

Want people to talk? Give them a coffee or a tea and a place to connect.

Here are 5 reasons why we serve coffee at Bethel:

1. Serving coffee provides social connection.

Our culture demands food when we connect together.  If you want to have an effective social event, there better be lots of food and coffee.  Likewise, if you show up to an event and refreshments are served, your social cues encourage people to connect.

2. Serving coffee inspires relationship.

A conversation, with a tea or coffee in hand, usually leads further than a conversation without.  You may think that’s an overstatement, and it probably is for those who like to talk.  For those who are a little socially awkward, however, having something to drink can break the ice and fill-in empty space.

3. Serving coffee invites participation.

Our coffee cart is a “self-serve” one.  One of our goals is for people to engage others in service.   Everyone has the ability to make a donation for their coffee, perhaps donate for someone else’s coffee, or simply offer to make a coffee for a newcomer.  Participation is an active ingredient in servant-hood.

4. Serving coffee allows for common ground.

It doesn’t matter what store-bought coffee you buy or drink, or even if you don’t buy coffee at a café at all, everyone is on common ground when we serve coffee.  Everyone is drinking from the same generic cup.   With that said, technology (ie. Keurig) allows us to offer a little bit of everything to help satisfy the cravings.

5. Serving coffee demands a seating area.

You can drink coffee just about anywhere, but as soon as you serve coffee to someone, people need a place to sit down.  If people sit down, they start talking, connecting and listening and the Church becomes that much closer to an authentic community.

To help facilitate, we allow people give a donation. There’s no pressure to drop some money in the jar, but we encourage those who can buy their coffee, to buy into this ministry of community.

Your turn…

Serving coffee certainly isn’t the only way to connect…

How have you helped people connect? Has coffee worked for you? Does something else work in your context? What would you like your local church to do to encourage people to connect?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!