Saturday, June 20, 2009
We are visitors (part 7)
We have found that a church’s vocabulary is extremely important when it comes to the welcome factor. The language used inside many churches is incredibly different from that in the outside world.
We live in southern Germany, just across the border from Basel, Switzerland. The Swiss speak what is called “Swiss German”, which started out as High German, but has evolved into a separate language that most Germans can’t understand.
It’s the same way in most churches… they use a language that is so different that most visitors don’t understand it. Many pastors, teachers and church leaders have been in church so long that they speak a language that I call “God talk”. Besides the all-too-common “Hallelujahs”, “Glorys” and “Praise the Lords”, they talk about “who you are in Christ”, and use words such as righteousness, holiness, sanctification and other such words as if everyone should know what they mean. But these often only serve to remind visitors that they are outsiders.
I’m not against these words… you’ll find them all throughout the Bible! But we need to think through how to put spiritual principles into common everyday language. The best way to do this is through illustrations/object lessons/word pictures. And we need to explain biblical words such a "Hallelujah"…