Over the last few days, this very topic has come up over and over again. Even in my prayer time, the Lord has reminded me of the instruction and revelation He gave me on this very issue. With that said, I will share what God has revealed to me.
First and foremost, a “title” should be an adjective, not a noun. Too many of us treat our titles as nothing more than an appendage to our name. It is NOT part of your name. It MUST be a description of who you are and what you do. It amazes me how many in the Body of Christ take on titles when they have no idea of the roles implied by them. As a married woman, I became a “Mrs.” when I married Christopher Allen. I could not change my name to “Mrs.-Elect” Joy Allen when I was engaged. Why? Because the title I wear describes the role I fulfill. I may have been called from birth to be Chris’ wife, but until I walked into that responsibility, I did not have the right to call myself “Mrs.” When a student earns a Ph.D., they become a “Dr.” upon graduation, because they have now fulfilled the requirements to become such. A student cannot call him or herself “Dr.” on the first day of class simply because they will one day earn a degree. So, why do we throw titles around like candy in the church? We don’t like that word – RESPONSIBILITY. We somehow associate titles with position, but ignore the great accountability that comes with it.
There was once a time when a name meant something. Throughout the word of God, we understand names are significant. In fact, there are numerous examples of great men and women of God whose names were changed when they walked into their God-given destinies. Today, we don’t put emphasis on names. We rarely give any thought to what we call our children and what those names mean or imply. However, the pattern of God is always to describe the person’s nature and assignment in what He calls them. When it comes to the Church, we must follow suit with the same practice.
I have struggled many times with whether or not to use a ministry title. In many ways, it is a cultural practice, and we don’t see the same practice in the Bible. Of course, the titles exist, but they are used in a much different manner than what we practice today. What God told me is this: “When people are sick, they look for a hospital sign. If it were not for the sign, many may not find the help they need. Those I have called out need to be found. I have called you My Prophet, and my people shall call you My Prophet.” For me, it was a difficult thing to do. However, I am very cautious about the use of a title, and I never demand it. It was ordained for years that I would be a Pastor, but I dared not carry that label until I was equipped and active in the position. Why? I didn’t want anyone who needed help to come to me and not get what they needed. We often fail to realize that a title sets a level of accountability. If I hire a person on my secular job who informs me they have five years of experience, I will expect more from them than someone who has only one year. By their own admission, they should be better at fulfilling the responsibilities. So, a failure for the experienced employee may not be a failure for the newer one. The same applies in the Body of Christ. This is why the church has become so tainted and lacks the trust and confidence of the world. Too many of us are practicing false advertisement. Our titles tell us that healing and deliverance are available, but when the sick come, they find only a form of religion with no power!
On that note, the other reason I use is a title is to keep me accountable. When I am referred to as a Prophet or a Pastor, I am reminded of the things God has called me to do in ministry. It keeps me accountable to people and God, because I cannot hide. When everyone knows your calling and assignment, you don’t have an opportunity to slip away from it. I take that very seriously. My every move is recorded by God, but also watched by man. As a minister, I am accountable to both. I am first a servant, and must never lose sight of that. I am called to minister to those who are hurting, those who are seeking God, and those are the ones who see the title and ask for help. I must then be ready to provide that help, by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
When it comes to others, I opt to respect the title that a person carries. If I am introduced to a person as “Evangelist,” I will always refer to them as “Evangelist.” Whether or not another should carry a title – I hold that between them and God, unless He specifically gives me a prophetic instruction for something different.
The point is this – our titles describe only our positions in the Body of Christ. Just as it is in the world, our job titles mean nothing. It’s how well you fulfill the job description that will get you promoted! Many of us have fancy titles at our jobs, but most of those titles describe nothing more than a glorified secretary. The titles in corporate America often sound more “grand” than the actual responsibilities. Yet, we are accountable for the responsibilities, not the title. Again, it is not the title, but it’s how well you fulfill the job requirements that will get you promoted! Selah.