I have often been accused of being picky with words and I plead guilty as charged. I learned this from Jesus. Four examples come to mind. One is when a Metro Council person asked me how she should introduce me when she was going to ask me to lead a prayer before a community meeting. She asked if I should be called “Reverend McKinney” and I replied “I would prefer to be called ’Joe’”. There is a dear sister in Christ who often calls me “Pastor Joe” and I have repeatedly reminded her that I am not “Pastor Joe” but I am Joe who “pastors” or “shepherds” the flock. Years ago when I taught the Bible at the School of the Bible in Recife, Brasil, I had a young teenage student named Wellington who, when he had a question would always say “’Professor’, what does this verse mean?”. I continually replied, “Please do not call me ‘Professor’ because Jesus said in Matthew 23 ‘The scribes and Pharisees love being called rabbi by others but you are not to be called rabbi. For you have one teacher and you are all brothers.’” Jesus taught against the use of religious titles and I thank God that the Joelton church practices what Jesus preached (usually but not perfectly). I wish I had the courage, when someone telephones asking to speak to the pastor, Jean and Darlene would answer simply “Yes! You may, He will always listen!” I don’t want to come across as a smart aleck. I just want us to practice what Jesus taught. This is referring to our present activity of recognizing more elders and deacons, of course. We will not be giving titles of honor to more people. We are actually just recognizing some men who are caring for and serving the church. This does not require or involve a title or even being recognized, necessarily. If you are caring for people, keep on doing what you are doing. If you are serving others, keep on serving. If you are not caring for or serving others, then start. “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15, 16

Joe