- Jim Townsley
- Aug 27, 2013
Christians use a language that is different from the world at large. Members of the church often use clichés, words, and jargon that are unfamiliar to most people. This should not be surprising since the church service is and should be different from anything the world does. In fact Christians are called out of the world as a peculiar people, which is what the name church suggests. Christians are called out of the world, they are to be separate from the world, and they are to be a holy people unto the Lord.
Though the church is a peculiar treasure with a peculiar people she is to reach the world. In the process of evangelizing the world believers must recognize the world does not understand Christian teaching and the world does not understand the language of the church. The entire Christian experience is generally foreign to every lost person. Worldly people that have never been exposed to a Bible believer church have no reference to some of the words used and some of the procedures of a New Testament Baptist church. Therefore, it is important not to take anything for granted. Lost people need clear explanations and information. Clear explanations should be made when witnessing and when conducting church services. The more pagan the local culture may be, the more explanation of words and actions needed. Few today have an understanding of the word "saved." People need a clear explanation of its meaning.
If you ask someone to hit the altar they may be curious why anyone would take a hammer to the altar and beat on it. Using phrases like, "we all know' or "we all have read many times" could leave newcomers in the dark. New believers may not know and they may not have read. The sawdust trail is a familiar term of the past, however it foreign to young people in our high tech society. In some regions of the country visitors may not know that the Sunday night service is not the same as Sunday morning and that Wednesday night is an additional service that all are encouraged to attend. They need to know the specifics of every service and why they should attend it in addition to the Sunday morning service.
When making announcements great care should be taken in order that every visitor completely understands what is going on. Sadly, announcements can be made that do not clearly explain the future events of the church. Be sure to include the ages for the event, the exact time of the event, where it will be held, and specifically what the event is all about.
The invitation is an extremely important part of the church service. The invitation must be explained so that it is clear what a person needs to do and how they can do it. The gospel itself must be explained thoroughly and with detail so that unlearned and unsaved people can clearly understand it. Many of the things the average church member takes for granted may be completely foreign to someone new.
The new church planter should, in his mind, walk through the whole process of a visitor coming to the new church. Are there proper sign directing visitors to where they need to go? Do they know what time events occur? Are they greeted with someone who explains all their questions for them? Does the song leader explain clearly the number to sing and whether to stand or sit. Are they greeted by other members of the church? Do they have a Bible. Do they know where to turn and are they allowed the time to find the pastor's text? Are the announcements and activities clear to someone visiting for the first time. Is the preaching clear and understandable. Is the invitation clear and are they given an opportunity to respond?
These questions and many more should be considered when trying to reach people from a worldly culture. The church service of a fundamental church may seem quite foreign to them. The church service need not imitate the world to make them comfortable but the church should be different from the world. Jeremiah states we should discern between the holy and the profane. However the lost will fare better with clear explanations and information.