Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Newbie speak

Over the last few days I've become more aware of the words that are used up the front of a church service and how they may sound in the ears of guests (believers or otherwise).

One thing in particular that I've noticed is how often preachers presume that those listening are aware of the biblical stories and passages. It isn't uncommon to hear "as all of you will know..." It would annoy and embarrass me if I wasn't a part of the assumed ". Even more aggravating, it can be easily solved by substituting the term "many" for "all".

Additionally, and this is something that I encountered when my wife and I were between churches, it is a great help if the person up the front (no matter if they are leading the service, saying a prayer or preaching) that they introduce themselves. This should be especially true if they are on staff. As a guest, I often had no idea who was at the microphone and it would make it more difficult to chat with them after the service.

The same point can go for using people’s nicknames. As a guest, I don't particularly want to chat to "Smithy" about the sermon or "Hoff" about the prayer.

Finally, and this point has been written about by plenty of others, Christians need to be aware of the church jargon they use (otherwise known as Christianese). We use a flood of words in a church service and tossing around unexplained phrases like justified, sanctified, atonement, worship, fellowship... just make the outsider fell even more so.

Really, these are just minor points, but to a visitor, they can make a pretty significant difference to their experience of a new church or church-for-the-first-time and make a faithful churchgoer more comfortable to invite others.

1 comment:

Graham said...

Again, one paragraph. Thanks Blogger.

Trust me when I say that we've had words...