I was corresponding with another minister who had shown interest in membership with Oasis Interdenominational Ministries Fellowship of which I am the President and Founder. I spend much time corresponding with
individuals many of them ministers and leaders, by internet via email. There have been times when I have received letters
and email addressed to me by my first name, sometimes the person may put Sister, or even Apostle in front of my first name,
but in this particular case, the individual felt they could address me simply by my first name only.
that is the way they have been accustomed to addressing those around them, they have become familiar with them and believe
that because we are all saved, and filled with the Spirit, they have ever right to call another saint by their first name
without any preference to the position that person may hold in ministry. One of the lessons we learned at home was to respect our Elders, not only those who are older than you such as Auntie Betty or
Uncle Daniel, but even those who have authority or rule over you, and they could be appointed by another adult, such as when my mother left me in charge over my younger brother, with instructions
that he was to do as he was told by his Big Sister, well, that didn't set too well with my Younger Brother, just like showing verbal respect doesn't set well with many people in our congregations and assemblies today.
I blame the
lack of home training and Biblical principles. I have learned that people want to be on familiar
territory with those in authority, it makes them "feel more comfortable, and at ease with themselves, to say or do whatever
they please without feeling that someone has authority to correct or reprove them."
It's a shame,
that the world shows more respect and acknowledges those who have become leaders in their professional fields and careers
such as doctors, attorneys, police officers, judges, teachers and even most of our corporate CEO's and Presidents are not
addressed by the general public, their employees or even associates on a "first name basis.”
Why is it that we have so little respect in ministry for one another, that we have to down-grade
an individual who God has given a divine call, and promoted that person as a leader with delegated authority? Hosea 4:6 states, "My people are destroyed for lack
of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:
printed an excerpt of my response to the minister who was offended when I informed them that calling me by my first name
was unacceptable. I don't fraternize with those in whom I am leading,
overseeing or spiritually accountable for their growth and maturity. Contrary to what some may think, when it comes to ministry,
we are not all equal. There is going
to some recognition in heaven for those who were martyred for righteousness and believe me their Crowns will have more
jewels than those who just barely made it in.
Here's the excerpt of what was written:
You are entitled to your opinion; each person has to be led by their own convictions. Therefore,
as you are led but what you believe so are we and the fact remains that those who I associate with in ministry I do not allow
myself to become familiar with on first name basis, familiarity breeds contempt.
Therefore should you decide that you want to further communicate with me, it will be as I have requested.
The choice is definitely yours. I am not concern with how other people are addressed, I am concerned that those who
I associate with in ministry do honor and respect the anointing and "calling of Five Fold Ministry," that is upon my life.
I will not change that simply because some people don't agree with it.
Let me finally say, that I am not "hung up" on titles. Titles clearly define who you are and
what you do, it's just that simple. As in Five Fold Ministry that is a definite distinction between the Apostle and
the Evangelist. Recognition by the Body of Christ to these titles is scriptural.
Like yourself, I have ministered for over 35 years in all five categories of the Five Fold Ministry,
and I have learned a valuable lesson and that is people respect those, who respect themselves. I have over thirty male
leaders that I over-see internationally and I will not lose their respect by allowing them to become familiar with their spiritual
mentor and parent.
Some parents allow their birth children to call them by their first names, yet I don't recommend
me it because children think they are on the same level with the parent. Therefore most parents train their children
to call them Mother, Father Daddy or Mommy.
I am taking the time to share this with you; you don't have to accept it. However, since I
am the one with the most experience as a woman leader, and you mentioned the fact that men have a hard time accepting women
(including yourself) in leadership, this is one of the reasons why. There has to be respect for those in authority from
those who follow your leadership. That is the purpose of titles, it is recognition of authority. Children are
required to submit to it with parents, teachers and their elders. Those who are employed generally do not call the President
or CEO of their company by their first name, but rather show respect by using a title of Mr. Miss, Mrs. Ms. finally, if we
can show the leader of our nation common courtesy by addressing him as President Bush or Mr. President then certainly those
in the Body of Christ who are leaders should be given the same courtesy and privilege.
I am grateful that God has so elevated me to the position of Apostle and I am committed to the
duties and responsibility of it, so I hope that in the future you will have a better understanding regarding this issue, it
is not about being proud or self-righteous as some would impose, but to those of us who walk in power and authority it is
who God has ordained and divinely appointed us to be.
By Apostle Loretta Williams