Red Velvet Concrete

I tweeted this morning about something I saw on the way to work…

I was later told by a friend on Facebook that “red velvet concrete” is a DQ Blizzard-like dessert, and that the terminology is a local reference that could better be explained by a native to Southwest Illinois. I had never heard the terminology before, and I get it, but it still doesn’t sound very appetizing.

It made me think about the words we use in church. There are some things we say in church that are familiar to the unchurched, but there are other terms we use that, to the uninitiated, might tend to exclude rather than include.

Without including Biblical terminology (which we are called upon to teach to people), here are a few that I thought of…

  • “Fellowship Dinner”
  • “Alter Call”
  • “Bulletin”
  • “Sanctuary”
  • “Prelude/Postlude” (thanks to Mark Warnock for that one)
  • “Small Groups”
  • “Praise and Worship”

I’m sure there are more, but, as a life-long church attender, I’ve just about heard them all.

The point is that we need to intentionally make our churches as welcoming, inviting, and non-mysterious as possible. Why go to the trouble of inviting people to our respective fellowships if they feel left out once they are there?

I’m not saying we need to drop every phrase that might seem obscure. We just need to be aware of what we are collectively prone to do: use jargon to identify within a group. It is easy to assume everyone that darkens our churches’ doorsteps has been to a church sometime, somewhere before. As we become an increasingly pagan society, we can’t afford to continue to make this assumption.

The Gospel is good news. It is vital. It is alive. It is life-changing. And it needs to be communicated with the understanding that Jesus showed the doubters and scofflaws that desperately needed the salvation faith in Him would provide.

It might take more time. It might take some patience. It might require stepping out of our comfort zone. And it may contribute to a sin-sick soul beginning a walk with Christ and avoiding eternity in hell.

What can we do, short of compromising Biblical doctrine, to encourage non-believers that attend our churches? What are some other non-Biblical terms we use that unbelievers may not understand?