Did you know the birth name of Pat Sajak (host of Wheel of Fortune) is really Patrick Leonard Sajdak. He changed it for television! This reminds me of an experience preaching in Indiana many years ago. An older man walked up after services and asked me,
“Do you know your name?”
“Huh?" I said, caught off guard.
He persisted, “Have you been called by God?”
I had an answering machine at the time, but I wasn’t aware of any missed messages.
I told him, “I don’t know what you're getting at."
“If God has called you into ministry, he will give you a name. Do you know your name?" “I thought my name was Johnny.” I replied.
“If God calls you, He will give you a new name. I know my name!” Then he walked off. I don’t think he believed I was qualified to do my job, because I didn’t have an experience like his. Ironically, as I write this, I can’t remember his name, either of them.
Peter was named Cephas and Saul's name was changed to Paul, but they were apostles. I'm just a preacher who enjoys teaching the Bible and helping smaller churches. I mainly do it because I was told by many people, long ago, that I should be be doing it. Since then, I've assisted churches from the Midwest to Florida and now, the South West. What I hope to bring to the position is some humility. I don't assume your lives revolve around hearing me speak, nor do I need to be the center of all the church's attention. I don't need to pray before every potluck or teach every lesson. Actually, my goal is to teach you to do these things!
Unfortunately, some in my position like to pretend they are more important than they really are. If they possess something unique, they believe it enhances how others see them. It is just vanity in my opinion. I have no special name or ability, just a knack for teaching things in the Bible that most people skip over.
Names can be important, I admit that. The word "church", means to be called out. We who are a part of the church wear the name Christian because we follow the Christ. His name was Jesus of Nazareth. Originally, to be called a Christian was an insult because it was linked to a man who was crucified by the Romans as a criminal! (Acts 11:26, 1 Peter 4:16) Therefore, we must always be ready to give an account for the reason we would follow such a person the world views as evil. (1 Peter 3:15)
In that sense, the whole church has been called, but I don't think anyone in the church today has any more significance than another. We all have different roles, but no one is to "think of themselves more highly than they ought." (Rom 12:3).
Paul wrote to Timothy about a my type of ministry:
"But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of
an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." (2 Timothy 4:5)
What were Timothy's duties? If you read both letters to Timothy and Titus, you will find an evangelist was commissioned to set up churches and install elders to lead those churches. Timothy did not preach weekly revivals and travel around with a musical ensemble, going from church to church, which is the modern use of the term. He actually ministered with the Ephesian church for many years. He was their located, long term, preaching minister. Biblically, called an evangelist. The word evangelist simply means, one who spreads the good news.
The modern expectations for the preaching ministry have little similarity with what an evangelist was in the New Testament. Today, preachers are viewed as MC’s (Master of Ceremonies) who wear three-piece suits, have all the answers, and keep the show moving on Sunday morning. Frankly, this sounds more like a game show host! Most people think that a preacher is suppose to act and function like a host or figurehead.
I've not been called to be another Pat Sajak. Titus 1:5, says an evangelist is to "set things in order". I have been called to do that. It was what I was hired for, it is what the Bible teaches I do and, luckily, I get to keep my own name!
Known as an expert in all he surveys, he freely shares his opinions on politics, science & theology using diatribes based upon careless research from tertiary sources that presupposed what he thought in the first place.