Home Article Discretion in the use of titles  By Pastor Demola Fajimi

Discretion in the use of titles  By Pastor Demola Fajimi

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Titles are designations; they are indications of an office someone occupies. It is customary to put a Dr. before a person’s name if he is a doctor or Prof. If he is a professor. It denotes who the person is and the office wherein he functions. In affixing a title to your name please note the following:

1. It is a pointer to what you do.

Titles refer directly to what you do. Initially when I got to Lagos, I introduce myself as doctor because I was coming from an academic institution where it is an official designation of my office. But now I am in Lagos as a full time pastor. Though I am yet a doctor, I am now more a pastor because that is the office wherein I currently function. I noticed that by introducing myself as doctor my current calling as a pastor is relegated to the background. So I decided to change the title. Subsequently I introduce myself a pastor then result began to pour in. People will approach me to pray alongside with them, some will come knocking my door requesting my prayers. That title brought my profession to the open glare and thereby enhances my efficiency. Affix a title most relevant to what you do. If you a plumber, call yourself one, if you are a painter call yourself one and it will bring you within the eye of the public for patronage. Your title announces you.

2. Use the least controversial title.

The title of a pastor or Reverend has been found most simple and least controversial for a clergy and many people stick to it. When you call yourself prophet or apostle, you will notice heads are raised up to view you the second time and for that reason many avoid their use. It is good to be simple; it is good to be humble. You may need to be simply identified a clergy by the use of either a pastor or a reverend and that may be sufficient.

3. Consider the Public

In the eye of the public, some titles are an exclusive preserve of certain classes. If you call yourself a bishop there is something they hope to see in a bishop. There is an expectation of the public. It is absurd for a bishop to go about trekking or boarding a “Molue”. It is a status related title. Try not to call yourself a title that is way higher than your status. It will bring you disdain instead of honour. Don’t wear a title by faith. Wait until you are there.There was a time we had a guest minister from America who is designated apostle and while we make hotel reservation for him, the management of the Hotel on seeing the designation called me aside and took me to a palatial facility. They insisted that is the place that fits an apostle and that we should not pay for it. They believed he is a “big man” and that by the time big people of his clime visits him there their hotel will be promoted. Indeed notable people began trooping there to see him. He is a man of status and the designation fits him. The title Archbishop was first used by Papa Idahosa and the cap fits him. Only few people questioned it. In his entourage are former military governors, GOCs, retired chief justices of the federation and so the cap fits him well.  There are titles that are age related, when such titles are called they expected someone of a particular age because it is an office of great honour and maturity. Sometimes a fellow is not granted Professor in his twenties not because he is not qualified, but somehow withheld until he is in his mid-forties because they will not want frivolities of a youth in that revered office. His promotion may be backdated to ten years back and the financial entitlement paid because the honour and prestige of that position must be kept intact.
It is true you are an apostle. It is possible your call to that office is outstanding; no one doubts it but wait for the fruits to manifest not only spiritually but both physically and materially. Where are the fruits of an apostle in your life and ministry? The public expects a bishop to be chauffeur-driven, drives a luxurious car with a retinue of domestic servants and if you are not yet there don’t assume that position, humble yourself. By wearing a skull cap in a public cab you are denigrating that office. On the other hand some call themselves bishop because they ride a big car, have so much money to throw around and now when he is called to preach he is not better than a laity. These are the two sides of the divide.

4. There are titles that put a man under pressure to perform.

Many of the founding fathers don’t use the title prophet because in the eye of the public they expect them to perform as an Old Testament prophet will normally do. To avoid been pressured and forced into a mould that is contrary to scripture they abstain from the use of that title. It is true you are a prophet, no doubt about that but you may not necessarily use it as a title. If you learn this it will take a number of burdens off your shoulder.

5. Don’t join two titles together.

It may not be decent to join certain titles together; you may need to choose the higher title to you. You should not call yourself professor and doctor at the same time because you were first a doctor before becoming a professor. If you do, you create an impression you are unlettered. Choose a title you consider higher and stick to it. Stick to a title and let people know you for it instead of pluralizing titles.
Some institutions disallow the use of their title with unregistrable title. Some will categorically state that you cannot affix their title side by side with chieftaincy title or any of such. If two titles are significant to your cadre then use it at different times. If you are ordaining pastors into the ministry and for the purpose of that exercise use apostle or bishop if you consider yourself one. At other time if you are graduating students from the Bible school, as a Rector you may use doctor if you are indeed one. However the use of “Bishop Professor” as a title seems weird.

6. The power of a title is the body standing behind it.

Recently we see many bodies like college of bishops, different apostolic networks conferring bishopric title. How established a body is determines the level of authority he wields. A professor of medicine at university of Ibadan may not be adjudged same as professor of medicine in an obscure university. This is because of the institution standing behind them. Some attend an unaccredited Bible school and start calling themselves doctor. Be careful of low self esteem. Someone may politely ask you from where you earn your PhD; then you start looking up and down. Many theological seminaries give titles that do not worth the salt. You may attend the school for knowledge sake but may not use the title. That’s what so many people do.

7. Title is not the same as impact

Instead of being overly strong on titles be strong on impact. To be impacting is more important than wearing a bogus title. Some use the title of brother and the impact of their life and ministry is everywhere. Title may give you a false impression of who you are. It may give a false impression of achievement when you are actually not making much progress in life and ministry

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