A few months ago I wrote a post here about a struggle I had been having with pastors wearing suits: whether they should wear one or not when they preach. It seems that it struck quite a nerve with people as it’s become the most commented post on the blog.
Allow me to confess another struggle I’ve been having: how to address myself.
More specifically, how does how I refer to myself impact how other people see me and the position I hold? Does it make you think less of a pastor when he just refers to himself by his first name? Does it make you respect him more when he refers to himself as Pastor so-and-so?
These are some questions I’ve been struggling with. You’d think that three and a half years into pastoral ministry I would have figured this one out by now, but I haven’t. And so I come to you.
I know when I go to the hospital, I like it when the Dr. introduces him/herself as Dr. so-and-so because it helps me to see them as being authoritative. I want to know who will best be able to give me the answers I need. When I’m on a university campus and a professor introduces himself as Dr., it helps me to see that professor as someone that knows what they’re talking about.
Let me show you some of the more common options and then comment a little more.
I could introduce myself as Pastor Ortiz. This to me sounds extremely formal and I don’t think I could ever pull this off with a straight face. I know that in most cultures, this is the de-facto way that people address the pastor. But it just sounds kind of old to me.
I could also call myself Pastor Rodlie. This sounds better to me. I think that could work. It feels like a decent middle ground.
Of course there’s also just Rodlie. It’s my name. And I actually use this quite a bit. When I meet someone at church for the first time I usually say, “Hi, my name’s Rodlie. I’m the pastor here.” I feel like just using my name without the title perhaps helps to engender more of a connection between us, like we’re friends. And especially if you do become close friends with some of your church members it just seems a little odd (to me) for the person to address you as Pr. Rodlie.
So if you can give me some perspective I’d really appreciate it.
So what do you think? How do you think a pastor should address himself? Does it make a difference to you? Does the title used influence your perception of him/her?
[Image by Kid Continuity]