images-1.jpeg“You been doing this church thing all your life”?

He was sincere.  I could tell his question came from a real desire to understand my world.  I desperately wanted to understand his.  He introduced himself to me as Tom, a visitor to our church this past weekend.  Little did he know that he was about to teach me a relational lesson.

We all can be categorized into 3 groups:

1) The churched.  Those of us who are active in a local church.

2) The un-churced. The Tom’s of this world that have never been to church.

3) The de-churched.  Those who at one point in their life were a part of a local church but for whatever reason have dropped out and are no longer active.

As we stood in the back of the gym (our makeshift sanctuary) Tom admitted that he was a “church virgin”…can you say that in church?  I tried to play it cool, nodding my head in understanding.   But something drew Tom to church that morning, and he came with a naive curiosity.  He was willing to give this church thing one chance.  His first impression would influence any further involvement with church, or more importantly, God.

So for the rest of the morning I tried to see Christianity through his eyes and not mine – they have been immersed in Christian culture for 40 years.  I am convinced that we Christians do nothing to attract the non believer when we speak in such a way that is foreign to them.  Here are a few observations I have notated over the past 24 hours.  The “Old” is what we traditionally say.  The “New” are suggested replacements:

Old: Scripture or bible verse
New: A place in the bible where it says…

Old: believe
New: trust, accept

Old: born again, converted
New: changed, conformed

Old: Christian
New: follower of Christ

Old: confess
New: admit

Old: found the lord, get saved
New: accept Christ, make a decision to follow Christ

Old: grace
New: God’s totally unearned forgiveness

Old: gospel
New: God loves us and sent His Son so that we can find forgiveness and new life through Him

Old: have a burden
New: be concerned

Old: know
New: believe, trust, be certain

Old: praise
New: thanking God for his greatness

Old: pray
New: talk with God, ask God

Old: preach
New: talk about

Old: repent
New: to be sorry about wrongs and to turn from them

Old: salvation, saved
New: forgiven of wrongs and given eternal life

Old: sin, sinner
New: acting against God’s will and offending God’s character

Old: testimony
New: story

Old: witness
New: tell, show

Old: worship
New: giving honor and glory to God

The above is not conclusive.  I’m sure you can add your favorites to the list.  The question before me this morning is “How can I be relevant to my environment without watering down the Gospel?”  The answer is fluid, but I can start by replacing my “Christian-ese”  with words that Tom can understand.  His leap of faith is already overwhelming to him without me adding to the confusion with our insider language.

Relevant.  Try it, it’s not easy


3 responses to this post.

  1. A great message today. One true battle in todays world… to be culturally relevant, but remain spiritually relevant. Thanks for the challenge… as always!

  2. So true Alicia.

    Praying for you and your accident today. We all miss your blogs!

  3. Thank you… very much. And I’m so not a fan of the snow now. LOL… and blog posted. you’re welcome 🙂

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