The Apostle Paul, was referring to the gospel message when he asked Christians in Colossae to “Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:2-4)
Be clear! That sounds so easy, but according to David Cho, “Every group, be it a profession, subculture, religion, or social group, has its own collective lexicon of unique jargon, understood and appreciated only by its members.”
The unique jargon used by Christians is often called Christianese, and it can be a road block to understanding for people who don’t share our spiritual heritage. With that in mind, let me propose some ideas which could improve your ability to be clear when presenting the spiritual truth about Christ.
If Paul needed God’s help, it makes sense that we do too. So, first, ask God to help you proclaim it clearly! Then spend some time practicing clarity, by selecting one or more of the ideas below.
- Find a Christian’s testimony online that is full of Christianese. Rewrite it, eliminating the Christianese, and give both to a friend. Ask which they think is easier to understand.
- Post your personal testimony on a discussion board (or your Blog if you have one), select certain words or phrases that may be difficult to understand, and ask readers to provide a clearer way to express the same thoughts.
- Listen to a sermon and write down the words and phrases you think could be difficult for someone who is not a Christian to understand. Take some of them and write correct, but simpler definitions.
Finally, it helps to keep a proper perspective on evangelism. Remember that being convincing is not the goal for the Christian when sharing the gospel, clarity is. When someone understands the message we’re communicating, we’ve fulfilled our role in evangelism.
In a few days, we’ll conclude our short series on How to Be Clear for Christ, by providing a few more ways to practice clarity. Until then, for more immediate help on this subject, check out how to Stop Using Christianese, a resource article on our website.