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September 29, 2006

Language is so Important

We must decide who our target audience is. It is a tragedy that most of what we communicate is targeted at us. And as a result of that we so often only speak in a language that is a part of our experience. This is especially true of those of us who work for the church. We speak in a language that the average person in the pew and even some in the pulpit don't understand or speak. And what does this say about our ability to communicate with the un-churched? If we are having difficulty being heard by a captive audience of those who show up on Sunday morning it is even more difficult to do so with people who have not committed their lives to Christ.

It is so important that we develop tools that help us to understand the language of the persons in the pew. We have moved away from what I call biblical language and most "pew persons" speak and understand this language. But, in many instances, we in the leadership at all levels are trying so hard to use the latest buzz words and images within our professional craft. This is great when speaking to ourselves but when we are seeking to communicate with "members" and the "un-churched" we need to communicate in their language. I believe some of this has led and is resulting in our numerical decline. I am not very committed to that which I do not understand.

Think about it.

Posted by Bishop at 09:57 AM | Comments (2)

September 07, 2006

So Demanding...yet

The person contemplating a Call to representative ministry would do well to follow the advice of one of my early mentors who said to me, "James, count up the cost." There may be a more demanding calling but I have not experienced it. This is especially true for those who are pastors of local congregations.

There is the demand of trying to lead persons where they naturally don't want to go. The pastor is called to insist on people becoming disciples and in the Wesleyan heritage we are called to push people toward perfection. It is amazing to me that even those who are professional counselors will tell you that people come to them asking for help in dealing with a need for growth and maturity in their lives. But, they report that when they begin to touch on the real hurts and pains causing the problem even those who volunteer will fight and resist their assistance.

And we are called to help people move toward healing and wholeness that is often very hard for them to face, confess and surrender to the Holy Spirit that power might come to assist them. This can be really frustrating.

And then there is the demand that our lifestyles measure up to the standards we proclaim. We are human beings, as well. And therefore, we too resist healing and growth.

Add to this the demands that congregations place on our time, our families, and our resources. This is not an exhaustive list. I often wonder if we are honest enough with young persons who hear this call to help them know of the demands.

And yet with all the demands, if we stay the course, work with the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit works with us, place our confidence in God's ability and power to meet our needs this can be a most fulfilling, rewarding, and joy-filled life.

Posted by Bishop at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)