When I was working as a consultant, I used to hear that book title fly around all the time, “You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader”. I do agree with that because leadership is simply a characteristic. Some people have it and some people don’t. No matter who you are, whether you have it or not, you can get it and you can get more of it. However, many people try to find their identities, who they are, in a mere makeup of letters. They strive their whole lives in an ambition for a title. They think that having one they will finally arrive at their destination. I think this is a severe misconception of what a title actually is and what a title actually does.
Now, I’m serving as an “intern” at a church in Montana. That’s a title. I don’t really find my identity in it nor do I derive any bit of who I am as a person from that title. I don’t mind when people call me by intern and when people don’t call me by that title. I could really care less. I’m not offended either way. I was the same when I was working as a consultant. When I got promoted, it required a new title by company policy. I felt pretty jazzed and grateful that I’m fulfilling this new position but it didn’t make me any more or any less of who I already was.
A lot of people think they need to have access to get a title but that’s completely backwards thinking! Titles aren’t an ends to something but a means to it! Titles actually give you access to what you are supposed to be doing, what you’re called to do. Yeah, your destiny! Titles equip you and give you a means to arrive at that next destination. For example, since I am an intern, I have access to the church’s projected calendar, the pastor’s office even while she may not be there, the passwords for the computers, etc.
So, while I’m not hung up on my title, I’m not opposed to them either because I know its value as a currency to get what I need. There have been people throughout the history that have misused and abused their titles or hurt others by giving them the wrong title. While titles may seem insignificant, it has a significant value in its appropriate context and when it goes wrong, in a very inappropriate context. My title as “intern” really has no value outside the church I serve in, if it did, I might have to question the weight I’m giving this title upon my identity.
Titles carry with them a weight of responsibility and a destination map. Let’s not be so frivolous with how we give them out or how we hold them.