Poobahs, Priests, Pastors and Pride

Lee Grady writes an editorial column for Charisma magazine. One such oped caught my attention a few weeks ago. It is titled "A Message to His Holy Highness the Worshipful Bishop Rev. Dr. Apostle Grand Poobah". Here are a few clips:
I am often asked if I have a title, and my answer doesn’t satisfy some people. I travel a lot, so I don’t consider myself a pastor. All kinds of labels have been pinned on me: Reverend, prophet, apostle … even bishop. Once I was introduced to a church as “Dr. Grady” and I almost crawled under my seat. I only have a college degree. There are no letters after my name. I tell people: “You can call me Lee. Or if you want to sound formal, you can say, ‘Brother Grady.’”
Jesus didn’t play this religious game, especially when he was around the Grand Poobahs of His day—the long-robed scribes and Pharisees. After accusing them of loving the best seats in the synagogues, He pointed out that they loved to be called “Rabbi” by men. Then He warned them: “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. … the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted”.
When I was in China several years ago, I met some amazing leaders who had planted thousands of congregations. They had also spent a lot of time in jail for their faith, and they’d been beaten with iron rods for preaching the gospel. They were the bravest apostles I’ve ever met. But when I asked them if they used “apostle” as a title, one guy said: “We believe in those roles in the church. But we prefer to call each other ‘brother’ or ‘sister.’”

That settled it for me. A few years later I met Iftakhar, a Pakistani apostle who has oversight of 900 churches. He also has two scars on his arm from gunshots fired by Muslim extremists who have put a price on his head. When I asked him how I should address him, he smiled and said, “Iftakhar.”

If these two giants of the faith—and true apostles—don’t require to be addressed with titles, then Your Worshipful Grand Master Rev. Dr. Bishop Jones (who claims oversight of maybe four churches) shouldn’t wear his ministry role around his neck like a tacky neon name badge.
One of my very first blog posts was one I called "On Rabbis, Monsignors & Pastors". In it, for reasons that Grady elaborated on in this editorial, I asked people to not call me Pastor Bob. As I am retired it is no longer an issue for me but I am still okay if you want to call me Kansas Bob. :)


  1. How about a humble title .. Yours in worship and humility, follower and student.

  2. Poobahs, Priests, Pastors, and Prideful Parasites...............

    Sorry, Bob, the P's made me do it! (mischievious grin)

    I've known truly wonderful pastors and prideful parasites pretending to be pastors. Some need to be told, "Being a pastor doesn't mean you're not a jerk." When a pastor pays more attention to his son's high school basketball games than he does the needs of his congregation, he needs his thinking adjusted.


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