I don’t speak Japanese. I don’t speak Spanish. I speak enough French to ask where the library is and to ask someone their name. Je’mapelle Scott? Language is important.
My oldest son is a bio-chemist. He talks about things like amino acids, replication and proteins doing this and that. He’s writing a thesis paper and has told me what it’s about but I really have no idea what he was talking about.
My youngest son is studying to be a chef. He talks about sauces and cuts and uses a whole set of jargon that I don’t understand. When he’s talking to other chef types they enjoy the banter but I’m lost.
How much Jesus jargon do we have? How much church jargon?
In our church we have something we call a “Family Life Center.” It’s a place that has a sweet glass basketball backboard at each end and lines painted into a nice vinyl floor for basketball and for volleyball. We have posts that slide into recessed holes in the floor and then a nice volleyball net stretches across from pole to pole. It’s awesome. There are also a couple of basketball backboards mounted to the side wall. It’s a “Family Life Center” but it looks exactly like what everyone who is visiting us would call a “gym.”
“Join us for coffee in the Family Life Center,” we announce to our visitors. But like me listening to my son talking about piepettes I wonder if our visitors say, “Hmmm, I wonder where that is? Is it down near the gym?”
We have a room we call a “parlor” and we have a “chapel” and we have a “sanctuary.” We hand out “bulletins.” What do you have for jargon? If you were visiting your church and had no idea what was going on, would the language help you or make you feel even more out of place.
If it were up to me, I’d call a gym a gym and replace the signs to the “sanctuary” with signs to the “main auditorium.” It might make things sound less spiritual but it would certainly help people find their way around better.
What would you do to make newcomers feel more comfortable?