The Proper Way to Address a Minister With a Doctorate Degree

by Daelyn Fortney

A minister is a person authorized by a religious organization, typically a Christian church, to provide spiritual guidance and lead religious services such as worship, weddings, funerals and baptisms. A minister's title varies, depending on the Christian denomination.


"Reverend" and "pastor" are titles used to address ordained ministers in denominations including Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist and Episcopal. Reverend is used as a respectful address, whereas pastor represents an honorable title. Depending on the preference of the minister, he could be addressed both ways. Some prefer to go by their first name, as in "Reverend Bob" or "Pastor Bob," and others use their last names such as "Reverend Smith" or "Pastor Smith."


When addressing a minister who has a doctorate degree verbally, the titles reverend or pastor should be used in front of the name. This standard protocol is considered a respectful way to address a person who has dedicated his life to the Church and should, therefore, be recognized in place of the "doctor" title.


When sending written correspondence to a minister, the envelope should be addressed to "Reverend Smith" or "Pastor Smith." The letter's salutation should read, "Dear Dr. Smith."

About the Author

Daelyn Fortney is the co-founder and managing director of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. Her expertise includes animal welfare, vegan and vegetarian nutrition and health and wellness. In addition to her work at TDIV, Fortney writes for and various other websites.

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