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Senior pastors are disappearing. So are "associate" and "assistant pastors." Scan church bulletins or church websites and you'll see that a crop of "Lead Elders" and "Community Servants" have sprouted in their place. Not all of the new titles are so modest. You're also apt to spot "Lead Visionaries" or even "Cultural Architects."

If these new titles are any indication, people are rethinking the pastoral role. We figured it was time to join the fun. So we asked our readers what other titles might be apt. Suggestions ranged from the serious to the silly, and we've printed a few that caught our eye. We hope these novel monikers help you think about church leadership in fresh ways, and make you laugh a little, too.

Sheep Dog

Jesus is the shepherd, but he uses pastors to keep his sheep in line. "Sheep Dogs" may be a little mangy, but they have an important role.—Ginger


The pastor is the one to teach the congregation the biblical language that most no longer possess. Not "Christianese," the words, metaphors, and concepts from the Scripture that describe our life in Christ.—David Swanson

Meaning Monger

Pastors frame the truth for people. Their words communicate and create meaning. In a culture that's big on frivolous entertainment and short on wisdom, creating meaning is what we need church leaders to do.—Jenni Ho-Huan

Bride groomer

All brides are beautiful, as the old expression goes. But they need all the primping they can get to look their best for the big day. The bride of Christ definitely needs a makeover. And God is using pastors to make her beautiful.—Matt Farlow


Pastors are heart doctors. They're used by God to discern the condition of our hearts, diagnose disease, and apply the medicine of God's Word.—Terry Monson

Feeding Utensil

It might not be very flattering to describe a pastor as an eating implement, but feeding people the Word of God is at the heart of the pastoral calling. Forks and spoons make sure the food reaches mouths to nourish bodies.—Nathan Caldwell

Body Builder

Pastors are always working to build up the body. Not a body of muscles, but a body of believers. Through teaching, loving, and encouraging people, pastors strive to create a robust people of God, strong enough to lift each other up.—Alfred Czerwinski


To borrow from Disney, the pastor helps the church imagine what our lives in Christ look like. We can't assume people know (or can even imagine) what it means to be a new creation. They need "Imagineers" to help them envision the Christian life.—David Swanson


A pastor spends a lot of time quelling conflict—in other words, putting out fires. Like a good firefighter, church leaders rush to rescue people, even when it's dangerous to do so.—Harlan Rounds


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From Issue:Callings, Winter 2013 | Posted: January 16, 2013

Also in this Issue: Winter 2013

Calling all Christians

Calling all ChristiansSubscriber Access Only

There are no second rate callings

BienvenidosSubscriber Access Only

Hispanic influence grows in faith and national life.
Finding Your Own Preaching Voice

Finding Your Own Preaching VoiceSubscriber Access Only

Lawrence E. Aker III discusses learning from mentors while discovering your own style.
Multiplying the message

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