Just in Case You Weren’t Sure

Back when I was a little kid, the guy who pastored our church was the Reverend Louis Tamminga Jr.  We referred to him as “Reverend Tamminga.”  Then when I was in high school we were led by the Reverend David Smit, although he preferred to be called “Pastor Dave.”  Like with everything, there seems to be this constant progression of change.  I’ve always wondered if the change in the titles were part of being “Reformed.”
So what do we call the new guy at ARC?  While I understand that some people will have a hard time with just calling me Mike, I want you to feel comfortable just calling me “Mike.”  Here are a couple reasons why: First, I understand that a title conveys respect, but I believe my respect or value for another person is based on the fact that he/she is a special creation of God, not because of a certain level of educational achievement.  I think we would find it a bit goofy to say, “Good morning, Plumber Tom,” or “How have you been doing Farmer Steve.”  I mean, what would we say then to the stay at home mom, “It’s so good to see you Mother Mary.”
Another reason, I am ok with being called Mike is because it keeps me humble.  See, the temptation for me, like the Pharisees, would be for me to think that I am more special than someone else.  Jesus addressed this issue of concern with the Pharisees in Matthew 23:8-12, “But you are 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.”
I am truly honored that you would call me to be your next pastor and I also understand that my role at American Reformed Church is different than yours, but I also see myself as one who is to humble and align myself under the one and only Teacher—the Christ.  So, Henry, Merlin, Sophie, Roger, Rebecca and …, I am really looking forward to working alongside of you as a fellow brother in Christ.
Grace and peace,
P.S. And if you just don’t feel right about it, Pastor Mike is just fine.

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