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What should the congregation call me

March 15, 2007

The title of this blog comes from a dude in my previous congregation who always called me Preach. Every Sunday morning I would shake his hand and he would ask, “How’s it going, Preach?” He was a funny fellow with a great sense of humor, always far too spry for his advancing age. He’s one of those guys who is younger than his age would indicate, if you know what I mean.

All of which leads me to the big question, how do you refer to your pastor? Or if you are a pastor, how do you prefer the congregation refer to you?

Personally, I always thought of myself as just Willie or Will. I have no problem with the congregation calling me Will. In fact, I kind of prefer being called by my name and not by a title.

But I know some folks want to be reverent and respectful.

Here are some of the common options:

  • Pastor Will. In my understanding, the “Pastor firstname” formulation is relatively new. If you’re gonna call me that, PLEASE use Pastor Will and NOT Pastor Willie. Pastor Willie sounds really juvenile, or like you think Willie Nelson is your preacher.
  • Rev. Deuel. Really formal. Tough to hold a normal conversation with someone who calls me that.
  • Rev. Will. I kind of like that.
  • Preach. Irreverent, disrespectful, and wholly fitting with my personality. I love it.
  • Late for Dinner. Never call me that.

Am I missing any?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. DogBlogger permalink
    March 15, 2007 12:22 pm

    Like yours, my pastor’s first name also begins with W. Usually, my emails to him start off with “Hey, PW!” and end with the logical counterpart, “LA” (Layperson Amy). In speaking, I’ve been known to abbreviate it to the two-syllable version, P-Dub, or call him by his full first name, which he doesn’t use with great regularity.

    I think my decidedly casual air comes from the time I spent on staff with him. I only use these monikers when addressing him directly. If his name comes up in conversation, I use the name he is commonly called, occasionally putting “pastor” in front of it.

    (I don’t think I helped you out much, but I needed a little mental break, and this is where I wound up!)

  2. Will Deuel permalink
    March 15, 2007 1:10 pm

    P-Dub! I like it!

    Maybe that’ll be my new name.

    Thanks for popping by.

  3. Kansas Bob permalink
    March 19, 2007 3:52 pm

    From one of my old posts:

    Often people address me as Pastor Bob … it kind of creeps me out … maybe it is just my refusal to identify with the clerical union. So what’s with calling people by their gift or occupation … kind of comes across as somewhat Pharisaic to me. Looking at the scriptures (Matt 23:5-12), didn’t Jesus say of the Pharisees:

    “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.'”

    And didn’t he instruct us in that same passage to

    “not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”


    ”The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

    We evangelical flavored Christians seem to not understand why the more liturgical traditions address their ministers as “Father” and yet are very comfortable addressing our ministers as Pastor (with a capital ‘P’).

    For me the heart of ministry and in particular pastoring is what Jesus says, speaking of Himself, in John 10:

    ”The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

    In an evangelical church world where many are asked to lay down their lives for the dreams and aspirations of the senior pastor … Jesus’ message challenges me every day to lay my life down for the flock.

    As for me … just call me Bob … or Kansas Bob 🙂

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