What Language Do You Preach In?

PreachingI preach in English, because it’s all I know. I took Spanish in college, but sat next to my wife and stayed distracted the whole semester – wound up with a C. But I’m not really getting at language in the sense of nationalities or tribal traditions. What I want to know is, do you speak human?

One of my least favorite kinds of sermons to listen to is those that are preached in a preacher’s language. I refer to them as being “preacherly.” Here’s the problem. Nobody talks like that. You don’t scream your order at the waitress in a restaurant. You don’t say “I submit to you that it’s hot outside today.”

I like good oratory, but sometimes it gets in the way. It keeps people from hearing. If you became a missionary to South America, you’d learn Spanish or Portugese. If you went to Russia, you’d learn Russian. So why, when preaching to an American culture (or whatever your culture is) do we not speak in the language of American culture?

Being “preacherly” won’t impress anybody but other preachers, and speaking “ministerially” won’t convince the naysayers. But sitting down to teach them, in everyday language, like Jesus did, might just be a great way of communicating biblical truth. Watch your language.

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