Man of the Cloth Pastor Rev Minister Brother Lyle??!
From MVA’s monthly newsletter:
Pastor Lyle. Reverend. Minister Lyle Baker. Even “Man of the Cloth.”
It’s odd; I’ve been called all of these and more in the past week. And before I go on; just know that if it was you calling me this it’s OK! It’s awkward to know what the proper, formal, polite thing to call a minister when he is uh… ministering. For the record, I would definitely like to just be known as Lyle. Hi I’m Lyle, and I’m a follower of Christ; I work at his church!
It has probably happened a lot lately because I’ve been doing a lot of Senior Minister things that I’m not usually doing in Youth Ministry. I’ve been stretched and challenged in the past months, and have relied heavily on what I learned watching Phil Williams do his thing; growing up watching my dad throughout his ministry; and reading and studying more than usual. Thank God for my awesome youth ministry team (couldn’t do it without you guys)! Truth: I’ve enjoyed the challenges of most of this work and it’s given me a different perspective on life in the ministry. Thanks for allowing the youth guy to reach out in different ways, and for being so supportive of it!
Back to the name thing… So when I was called a “man of the cloth” last week it almost made me laugh out loud (actually I think I at least chuckled a little). I know it’s a moniker of respect but it’s just not something I’m comfortable with. I think ministers should indeed be respected, listened to, and invited to speak into a person’s life on spiritual matters; that’s our job. However when we’re given weird titles it sets us up on pedestals that I’m afraid can tip over easily. We’re all just humans.
In fact; when it all comes down to it – I’m just a disciple of Christ; doing my best to follow his teachings and lead others to him. Which is exactly what all believers should be doing. The only thing that separates the “laity” from the “clergy” in my opinion is that we get paid so that we can do it full-time. We go to Bible College so we can be better equipped to not mess up the Scriptures when we teach them. It’s a lot like your profession that you went to school to do. I don’t know a thing about engineering or medical work; I have a different set of gifts and am another part of the body of Christ. I’ve trained in ministry and I LOVE what I get to do for a living. But I’m just uncomfortable with the formalities and titles.
What I usually do is model discipleship among students and teach them to trust in, study and discern their Bibles for life. I try and make them see that faith is more about who they are than what they do or don’t do. I try to teach them that following Christ is a decision that THEY make – your faith is not your parent’s faith – it really is “your” faith. I try to get them to own that (us adults need to remember this too). I only officially have their school years to do it, and it’s very hard sometimes, but it’s also incredibly rewarding when a student “gets it” and really begins to pursue Jesus. We do fun stuff like video games, basketball, hanging out, etc to be a place where kids can come and unwind; but then we invite them to go deeper in small groups and Bible studies and discipleship. And when we see discipleship we get ridiculously excited about that. There is no greater feeling than to bring people closer to Jesus Christ.
So what’s in a name? You can call me whatever you’d like; but I’d prefer just plain old Lyle. And I’d also like to see you decide what label or title you’d like to be known as. These ideas will go right along with my two sermons in May; Just hoping to get you thinking about it beforehand!
Discussion thoughts (feel free to talk to yourself haha):
The word Christian unfortunately can mean so many things these days. What about the word disciple? Follower? Are you labeling yourself as something? Are you really actually living up to the label? What do the words pastor, minister, clergy, man of-the-cloth, mean to you? Will you be at church May 6th and 13th to listen to Brother Lyle?