Monday, September 22, 2008

User Friendly Christian Language

Recently I took on a new pastoral role a Grace Church. Since beginning this new phase of pastoral ministry, I have come across a number of new languages in my meetings with experts in a wide array of fields. I have met with marketing, insurance, accounting and technology individuals and each field has a "language" all to its own. As I've sat listening, I must confess that there have been statements and phrases used that have me nodding my head on the outside with the hamster on the wheel of my brain running like a mad critter trying to process what I'm hearing. I've been amazed at how easily these various concepts flow from the lips of these experts but I've been equally grateful for their kindness in putting some of their terminology into language and concepts that I can understand without compromising the integrity of their message.

As I came away from one such meeting recently, I could not help but think about how easy it is for me to use Biblical language that is very familiar to me with people that don't necessarily have that same level of understanding. I wonder how the seeker/unbeliever feels when they get around a group of Christ followers using terms, concepts and theological frameworks that are foreign to them.

I'm in no way suggesting we dumb down the gospel message of Jesus, but rather creatively think about how we can present the important truths of Scripture (in no particular order) like redemption, salvation, justification, repentance, reconciliation (and the list could go on) in terminology that communicates powerfully the truth of God's Word in language the average Joe can understand. I believe we as Christ followers need to get serious about how we communicate truth in a relevant way so as to not leave those seeking for spiritual answers feeling like I did when I left some of the meetings mentioned above. I don't want seekers leaving a conversation with me feeling like the waters have only been muddied because I didn't clearly communicate their need for a Savior in terminology that resonates deep within their hearts.

I'm thankful for an accountant who speaks "user friendly" accountant talk that helps me understand the main points without me feeling lost, confused and stupid. It was a good reminder to put myself in the listener's shoes when sharing the truth of God's Word with them. I want them to be drawn to Christ through my words and His Word, not turned off because they feel stupid for not understanding.


Pastor Scott said...

You mean like when Matt McElravy uses all these new theological terms he is learning from his Old and New Testament classes that I haven't heard since I was back doing my graduate work years ago! I guess he's no longer "just the worship guy"!

Pastor Tim said...

You are right. He can be so "intertestmenatal" at times.