I recently had the privilege of joining a friend for lunch. We were joking while eating and catching up on all that had transpired since our last lunch together several weeks prior. We happened to talk a bit about a book that I had the privilege of writing a chapter in and I laughingly told him that he really needed to buy a copy! We both laughed and he said that he had thought about buying one, but he hesitated after hearing me describe the book to him entitled, Your Call To Work & Mission.
When I was talking to him about the book at church, he informed me that I said it was written especially for "lay persons" and he did not know what that meant. His statement shocked me, but I managed to share with him my sincere appreciation that he told me. I never even thought about someone not knowing what a layperson looked like! I told my friend that a layperson in the church was someone who normally sat in the seat each Sunday and enjoyed the message preached by the pastor. Laypeople are often those people who volunteer in a church congregation but are not trained clergy nor do they "hold credentials" or legal papers validating them as a minister to a denomination or other religious organization.
You might wonder, "Well, what's so important about that?" In talking about the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 the apostle Paul makes a relevant point in verse 19 for us here: (KJV) "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." Paul highlights the importance of ensuring every person understands what is taught or spoken.
I shared this small instance of misunderstanding, because we must realize that not only are the people outside the church confused by "Christian-eze" language, but also people sitting next to us in church. Don't take it for granted that everyone enjoys the same language level that you do. As we share the Gospel, we should ask God to help us see whether body language or other mannerisms may reveal some confusion by those we seek to help. If people outside-and inside-the church don't understand the words we use in sharing the gospel, it's almost as though we did not share it at all.
TAKE A SEC: Do you have an interesting outreach idea or evangelism question? Stop by http://evangelismgroup.wordpress.com and leave a comment about something that has worked well for your community! Questions or issues you're wrestling with are welcome as well!