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Hi all! I am ordained as a ministry associate, church planting with my husband in Grand Rapids, MI. 

Here is a basic question for you:

What do people call you? Reverend? Pastor? Ministry Associate?

My husband and I recently preached at a local supporting church. In the announcement he was listed as Rev., and I was listed as Pastor.

The banner recently wrote an article about someone and designated them as Ministry Associate (name).

My church calls both my husband and I "pastor."

From my understanding, the denomination is trying to raise the level of ministry associate to be more equal with those ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament, but it is often in our naming of things that we create divisions. 

So...any comments?


Hi Ann.  I can only comment that my preference, and I am ordained, is for "pastor."   But that is subjective.

What I can help you with more objectively is the grammer; you wrote: My church calls both my husband and I "pastor." That would be "me"; "...calls ME, not I", correct?  As leaders we must exemplify correct English usage, I feel.

Appreciatively, Lou

 Hi Amy, 

I share your confusion, grammatical discussion aside. I am ordained as a Ministry Associate with the title, Pastor of Congregational Life.  Church Order 23 under which you and I are ordained, is itself confused in the terminology. 23 a) acknowledges our role as that of Elders in our respective churches whereas 23 c) and d) allow for a role as solo pastor. No wonder we are confused :)

I too understood that the movement was there to raise the profile of Ministry Associates but yet at Synod 2010, the announcement of my ordination was buried in the reports of the synodical deputies. Hardly noteworthy. 

I'm not really that anxious about titles and am blessed to serve a church that recognized my calling. 

It is still confusing though :)


I think the reason you are confused, is that there is a lot of worldliness embedded in the distinctions of roles and offices in the church.   There is a lot of hierarchy still there, in spite of the reformation.   There is an aspect of worldly "professionalism" attached to certain roles, and a not -so- well-hidden elitism based on academic credentials.   Not by everyone, but by most.  

There is no significant reason why ministry associates couldn't be ordained under the same article as 'ministers of the word" with some minor rewording of the church order.   Ministers, like ministry associates, are also supposed to be elders, and can also be solo pastors, just as 23: a,c,d indicate.   The distinction is psychological and academic, and not based on actual function, in my opinion. 

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