Do names or titles matter?
In just the first week on the job I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I’ve met close to 50 new people. They are church leaders, ministry partners, volunteers, co-workers, board members and more. It’s a season of shaking hands, making introductions and learning lots of new names.
Names are important. They distinguish between a Charles and a Clarence. Megan is not Meghan and don’t confuse Amy with Aymee! Having an unusual name makes me very aware that it matters what you are called, and what you call someone else.
My problem is that I’m so overloaded with new information right now, that I’m having a hard time remembering names. It’s not that the individual is unimportant, but I’m genuinely not absorbing the details and storing them appropriately. I know there are several tricks that can be implemented to help in this process--I just need to take the time to look them up and put them to use. If you are someone whose name I can’t remember, I apologize in advance. Know that I’m horribly embarrassed by it!
What about titles? Does it matter if you are the janitor or the CEO? No. And yes.
We live in a world that that is fractured and segmented. We classify each other by nations, races, classes, and degrees of education. As societies, we value position and prestige. There is a notion that fame and fortune make one human being more valuable than another.
In God’s kingdom, it’s an equal playing field: “All have sinned” (Romans 3:21), “For God so loved the world” (John 3:16), “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). Yet, even as Believers, we fall into the world’s trap of placing varying degrees of importance upon one another. Do we look at the pastor of a mega church in the same light as a small town pastor with a congregation of 30?
These thoughts have all been running through my head as I being my new role. How do you use a title effectively? How do you use your title and honor God?
At the beginning of my week, I was challenged by a woman who spoke a word of warning, stressing the need to work in unity rather that valuing one church over another. Her message in a nutshell was: It doesn’t matter what church you belong to, what event you host, what ministry you represent or what title you hold. We need to work together under one name: Jesus.
Relaying this message to a friend, she gave me another thought to ponder: You can use your title humbly, but effectively. It is true, that an Executive Director will likely get a meeting scheduled or return phone call over an assistant or secretary. It’s just part of the world we live in. The trick is, choosing to use your fancy name plate to pry open a sticky window and never using it to cut someone down.
Names matter, and for now, titles mater. I will try to use both wisely.
With love and admiration,
Birga Alden, follower of Jesus, Executive Director of Love INC of Albuquerque