Maybe I’m over sensitive, maybe I’m jaded, but one of my biggest pet peeves in the Church is the usage of titles – “Pastor Joe”, “Sr. Pastor Bob”, etc… It bugs me because it is such a cultural thing to “elevate” people. By adding titles to positions in the Church I think we alienate the humanity of the person. Scripture does not have an extensive use of these titles, most of the time the apostles and other New Testament Church folks used them to point out a gift in a person, not the position. Today we seem to use these titles on par with Doctor and President.
Paul did make a point to differentiate the different offices of the Church, and he did call himself Apostle, yet within context it wasn’t as a title. I see Paul’s use as more of a point of the authority Christ gave him, in which some were arguing against at the time.
I do believe it’s important to recognize a gift in a person, and I think it can be done in a less “elevated” way. So when pastoral (and other) callings need to be communicated on paper and in voice, I think something like “Joe – Men’s pastor” suffices. I cringe every time I hear someone call out “Hey Pastor John”… Moreover, when a pastor refers to him/her self, then I really have to control my thoughts and love the Church. I know that when the time comes and I am a pastor, I just want to just be called Travis, people will know without question who I am, not what I am.