Preacher vs. Senior Pastor vs. Pastor?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by cowboymatt, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. cowboymatt

    cowboymatt
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    In Texas when I was younger, which I know is relative since I'm only 28!, all the Baptist churches that I knew about called their primary preacher "pastor" and the other people on staff "ministers." I also noted that some other churches called their primary preacher "preacher," "senior pastor," "preaching pastor," "father," etc, etc.

    Sometime in college, I guess, I started noticing Baptist churches calling their primary preacher "senior pastor" and the other people on staff "pastors" too (youth pastor, music pastor, etc).

    Two questions:

    What do you call the person who is the primary preacher in your church?

    Why all the differences? (If anyone knows any historical reasons that would be great!)
     
  2. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    Pastor

    Very few churches around me have more than one employee. They might have a youth pastor or music director but they are usually volunteers or part time. When I lived in Atlanta we went to a big church. We had one Pastor, and several associate pastors.

    I think a lot of churches have gone to this senior pastor title when the primary preacher has begun to give a larger share of the preaching work to associates. Several retired pastors I have known have kept the title pastor emeritus when they retired from preaching but wanted to continue working with their churches in other capacities.
     
  3. PastorSBC1303

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    I am called Pastor by most. A few call me preacher.
     
  4. annsni

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    In our church, our pastors have titles such as senior pastor (the head pastor and the one who's been at the church the longest - 40 years), senior associate pastor (he's been here 25 years), and my husband is an associate pastor. Then the rest of the pastors have their titles according to their responsibility - missions pastor, senior youth pastor, youth pastor, children's pastor, special ministries pastor and administration pastor.

    In addressing them, pretty much everyone calls the senior pastor "Pastor" - even his wife will. Everyone else is called either by their given name or Pastor (firstname), so my hubby would be Bob or Pastor Bob. Mostly it's the kids who call them pastor but for the pastors who have been on staff longer, many adults will call them pastor first name too. We were attending the church for 7 years before my hubby went on staff so many knew him as Bob anyway.
     
  5. SBCPreacher

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    I am usually called pastor or preacher. One guy calls me padre - that's fine with me! There this one lady who doesn't like me at all (or my family for that matter) - I'm not sure what she calls me, and I don't think I want to know.

    I really don't care what title they use - as long as it is not Reverend. That reminds me too much of Jackson and Sharpton, and I don't want to be associated with them at all!
     
  6. chuck2336

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    I have always been Brother, or Pastor. There is no telling what my wife calls me though! :applause:
     
  7. drfuss

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    We call our Senior Pastor and other ministers on staff by their first names. They refer to themselves by their first name. We respect them and love them for their wonderful attitude towards us. Matt. 23:5-12.
     
  8. Agnus_Dei

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    ‘Father “Paul”…he’s also considered one of our spiritual fathers (we have 3 presbyters or priests).
    His rank as a married senior pastor is a non-monastic title of “Archpriest” and is styled as: “The Very Reverend” or “Right Reverend”.

    If he was a celibate senior pastor, his rank would be “Archimandrite” and styled the same as an Archpriest…”The Very Reverend” or “Right Reverend” only his rank as “Archimandrite” would be higher than a “Archpriest”, but one level lower than a Bishop.

    The Orthodox faith also has Deacons and Monks have titles as well.

    As noted above, just as a Baptist Church has a Senior Pastor and if the Church is big enough…may have an Assistant Pastor, the Orthodox faith has Archpriest and Priest…each is a title to bestow honor and responsibility. Most Baptist Churches have deacons to.

    The Orthodox, Catholic faiths and some mainline Protestant Churches has a Bishop…as the Church grew we started to see two distinct offices…Bishop and presbyter…St. Ignatius of Antioch in the 2nd century uses the two terms consistently and clearly to refer to two different offices as well as deacon.

    InXC
    -
     
  9. cowboymatt

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    A_D, thanks for your helpful post! I love the high ecclesiology in Ignatius of Antioch and in the Pastorals. It helps remind us all how quickly the Church coalesced into something stable.

    I guess I am wondering when things in the free church changed from the main preacher being the "pastor" and the others on staff being "ministers" to everyone being "pastors."
     
  10. trustitl

    trustitl
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    I would call him Bob, or Frank, or Jim, or ...

    Matt. 23: 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

    I think Jesus would add pastor, preacher, or reverend to this list. Do you ever call the guy who cleans the bathroom at church Janitor John? or the lady behind the desk Secretary Sue? Usher Earl? Elder Ed? Deacon Dan?

    Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.:1_grouphug:
     
  11. TCGreek

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    Though pastor, I rather be called preacher.
     
  12. Agnus_Dei

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    You forgot “Doctor”…Doctor is the Latin word for “teacher”…and also “Mister” (Mr.) or “Mistress” (Mrs.), since these are forms of “Master”.

    So, do you refer to your family physician as “Dr.” John Doe or address folks as “Mr.” Or “Mrs.”?

    Context...

    InXC
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  13. Cara

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    In our parish, we have a pastor, who is addressed as "Father First name." (Those whose official function we used to refer to as "curates" are now generally called assistant pastors; they, too, are addressed formally as "Father First Name,") In social situations, however, when a pastor or assistant pastor is a close friend, most are quite comfortable with being addressed by their given names. On an envelope, one would write, "Rev. Fr. John Smith", as he is an ordained priest.

    We have three married deacons in our parish. Although one could properly be said to perform the administrative duties of an assistant pastor, they are individually addressed as "Deacon First Name." (Again, socially, or in informal meetings, good friends or coworkers generally address them by their given names.) A more formal letter to a deacon would be addressed to "Rev. Mr. So and So," as he is an ordained deacons, not an ordained priest.

    Heads of various ministries are, depending on their credentials, referred to as Youth Minister, etc. when they have a degree in pastoral ministry, for example, or as "Director of Social Ministry," "Director of Religious Education," etc. -- obviously, more of a job description than form of address -- but, in most Catholic parishes these days, directors of individual parish ministries are addressed by their first names or honorifics (such as Sister Mary, Brother John, Mr. Smith), depending not only on their personal preferences but also on who is doing the addressing.

    As you mentioned, customs can vary from place to placehowever One Monday morning shortly after we moved to Georgia, I mentioned to a Baptist coworker about something "the pastor of my church said yesterday in his homily."

    My young coworker looked surprised. He said to me, "I didn't know Catholics had pastors; I thought they only had priests."

    I explained to him that a calling (to the ministry, priesthood, rabbinate, etc.) is a vocation. Terms such as "pastor" really designate a role within a broader calling. Thus, Catholics (and members of many other Christians denoms) don't address pastors as "Pastor So-And-So," although that is the job description of many priests and ministers. But in many Christian denoms, to address them as "Pastor X" would be akin to calling one's different physicians "Surgeon Smith," "Pediatrician Potter," and "Gynecologist Jones," instead of "Dr. So-and-So."
     
  14. drfuss

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    drfuss: I agree. A good post.

    Jesus said do not address other Christains by elevated titles; and I don't.
     
  15. cowboymatt

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    The point of this thread (which I apparently made as clear as mud!) is not what you specifically call your specific pastor, but what title we give to the people who serve on staff at our churches. What is your preacher's official title? Maybe that's a better question...:shrug:
     
  16. trustitl

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    "Doctor" is a title earned and it is considered to be proper by our culture to address them as such. I expect my children to address adults with the proper title Mr. or Mrs.. Furthermore, I see value in doing this with titles within institutions of our society such as Officer Bill or General Patton.

    Pastoring is a function within the body of Christ and is a gift from God. These men are merely using the gifts given them to serve the church. I think it makes for an unhealthy environment in the churches of God when we elevate some of the body parts over others. I do not think it wise to diminish the church to a cultural institution with the traditions that go along with it.

    My children call my brother Uncle Mark, but do not call his children "cousin" David or "cousin" Emily. I see pastors as my peers for we "are all brothers". If we all felt this way we may see more people playing a role in the body of Christ and pastors not getting to full or themselves or overwhelmed by innapropriate expectations.
     
  17. cowboymatt

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    What if your pastor has earned a PhD?
     
  18. trustitl

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    Why do they need one? Maybe that's a better question. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  19. cowboymatt

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    The Bible gives them titles, so why shouldn't we?
     
  20. trustitl

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    I am assuming in theology, correct. I probably wouldn't be in that church. No offense, but I just probably wouldn't. If I was, I would ask him if he wanted to be called doctor... If he said yes, then I probably wouldn't be anymore.
     

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