The Christian vernacular has always consisted of unique words and phrases. We are supposed to be separate from the world and our shared theology has produced some barely understood phrases outside of our Christian circles. Some of these expressions are necessary. How else can you describe what Christ has done for us? There is no better tag than #salvation. Some of the verbiage, however, needs to go the way of the dinosaur. Here are my 10 Christian phrases I wish I never had to hear again.
- Connect: This one is popular among us millennials. I’ve never understood why this word is popular. Where I’m from in Texas, we used to say, “let’s get together”, or “let’s have lunch”. I guess my generation just has to be different.
- Bi-vocational Pastor: This phrase needs to go extinct. I know many “bi-vocational pastors”, They’re not bi-vocational. They’re pastors who have another job. They are heroes to me because they work another job and do just as much ministry as a full time pastor. I know many readers of this blog hold these men in high regard. We should just call them pastors.
- Our church is seeking a full time or bi-vocational pastor: I cringe every time I see this in a classified ad. Baptist paper editors should refuse to print ads with this phrase.
- Youth and Music Minister: Another job description from a bygone era. I once turned down a combination youth and music ministry position. I’m not a fan of combo ministry positions. The minister places emphasis on one of the ministry positions to the exclusion of the other. The youth and music minister combination is especially difficult. Do you really want a youth minister who has been at camp all week leading your worship on Sunday morning?
- Broken: I’ve heard this one abused. Few of us know what’s it’s like to be broken. We know struggle, but broken, and its cousin brokenness? I’ve seen it most abused when a speaker uses broken to refer to a spiritual experience. Perhaps surrender is a better word.
- Revival: This one is as abused as broken. Attend a Christian conference and you’re likely to hear a passionate appeal for a Holy Spirit revival. I’ve even written a post here titled “We Need Less Revival”. When revival and broken are used to promote experiences rather than consistent Christian living, they are being misused.
- Social gospel: This one has been discussed ad nauseum on this blog and other SBC sites. It refers to the liberal movement that seeks to enact social change while jettisoning the gospel. Those in the SBC who support social justice are not advocating the social gospel. This term needs to be relegated to those who support the social gospel.
- Next Gen Pastor: Seriously? When I was growing up, we called this guy the youth pastor. Nice try, but we all know it’s a shiny title for an old job description.
- Lost: These last two are going to generate some comments. We need to quit using this word to describe non-Christians. Why? Because non-Christians have no idea what we’re talking about and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to have a group conversation that does not include at least one non-Christian. I’ve had to stop using this word because it makes explaining salvation twice as difficult. No, I don’t have a replacement word, but I’ve been using the word non-Christian. Non-Christian defines itself.
- Invite Jesus into your heart: I know, I know, most of us grew up with this phrase as central to our soteriology. We were all encouraged to invite Jesus into our hearts. There’s something unsettling about this phrase for me. Two of my daughters have accepted Christ and during those times, we tried to avoid this terminology. Again, I don’t have a ready replacement, but I think we should at least be cautious with this phraseology.
Are there any other phrases, words, or Christian idioms that we should throw out? Which of mine do you disagree with? Which of mine do you have replacements for? If you’re in the Kansas City area, give me a call and we can connect with a bi-vocation or full time pastor and his youth or music minister who was broken and pleading for revival last Sunday because his church was promoting the social gospel, but he enlisted the help of his next gen pastor to lead the lost to invite Jesus into their heart.