TITLES & Titles for Pastors: A Student-generated List

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: After 20+ years of teaching for Indiana Wesleyan University and analyzing perhaps thousands of student churches, I’ve noticed there’s a proliferation of titles for pastors that often compete, overlap and oftentimes are just cryptic. One of my students came up with the list (below).

A Leadership Exercise.

Use the list below as a starting place for a leadership exercise analyzing the relevance and effectiveness of your titles for church staff. Utilize four (4) steps:

  1. Add titles to this list with which you are familiar or which you use.
  2. Pick 2-3 titles that best describe your job description (or the job of a colleague).
  3. Take the 2-3 titles to:
    • Churchgoers and ask them to tell you what they think each means.  Then describe your job and ask them to pick the title most relevant.
    • Non-churchgoers and ask them to tell you what they think each means. After all they are those who we are  primarily seeking to reach. Again, describe your job and ask them to pick the title most relevant.
  4. With colleagues, rework your existing designations to make them clearer and more relevant (regarding the job description) and more lucid and more understandable (by non-churchgoers).

A Student-generated List of Pastoral Titles:

Author: Ryan L.
Subject: RE: Titles for Multi-Gen Pastors.  Titles are a funny thing when you think about it. I’ve heard these:

  • Lead Pastor/Senior Pastor/Head Pastor
  • Associate Pastor
  • Executive Pastor
  • Senior Executive Pastor
  • Associate Executive Pastor
  • Senior Associate Pastor
  • Executive Pastor
  • Lead Youth Pastor/Senior Youth Pastor/Youth Pastor
  • Junior High Youth Pastor
  • Senior High Youth Pastor
  • School Age Pastor
  • Senior Adult Pastor
  • Lead Senior Adult Pastor
  • Connections Pastor
  • Discipleship Pastor
  • Evangelism Pastor
  • Outreach Pastor
  • Assimilation or Connection Pastor
  • Pastor of Engagement
  • Music Pastor
  • Worship Pastor
  • Worship and Creative Arts Pastor
  • College Pastor
  • Career Pastor
  • College and Career Pastor
  • Young Adults Pastor
  • Adults Pastor
  • Singles Pastor
  • Young Married’s Pastor
  • I even heard once of a Pastor of Construction with a church who had an active Habitat for Humanity ministry
  • Day Care Pastor
  • Women’s Pastor
  • Men’s Pastor
  • Counseling Pastor
  • Children’s Pastor
  • Administrative Pastor
  • Building Services Pastor
  • Christian School Pastor
  • Foreign Ministries Pastor
  • Pre-School Pastor
  • Recreational Pastor
  • Sports Ministry Pastor
  • Technologies Pastor
  • Multi-Media Pastor
  • Volunteer’s Pastor
  • Military Pastor/Chaplain

    … and finally Pastor!