Be a Jargon-Free Church
Every Sunday our local newspaper runs a column in the business section called “Today’s Young Professional.” I was disturbed to find out that I do not qualify as a “young professional” (Oh really? Clearly, these people are ageist.). This past Sunday featured a very nice and a very young looking woman – and no, I am not bitter. Not one bit.
Churches are awash in jargon. Really, if we were smart, “outsiders” would be handed a special dictionary before entering church (think narthex, communion, hymnal, eschatology, sin, etc., etc., etc.). Instead of stating things simply and straightforwardly, terms are thrown around the church that can be convoluted and confusing…especially for newcomers.
One of my favorite non-profit bloggers is Claire Axelrod. In one of her “Clairification” (get it?) posts, she says modern jargon is:
- A ‘clinical” or “official” or “specialist” word (see above – “stabilization and enrichment services”)
- A term of art (“out-of-the box” or “It’s in God’s hands”)
- A word that’s seldom part of every day language (think “transfiguration”)
- A pompus “big” word (again, “transfiguration” although “eschatological” is fun to say)
- An acronym (LOL! I M hip2U, OR-ID AC UMCers)
- An overused phrase (United Methodists might recognize, “Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” as one that’s been heard one too many times.)
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Like really, she avoids obfuscation. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.