Churches make people feel like outsiders. We have created an alien environment that seems designed to communicate to the vast majority of non-believers that they are outsiders who don’t belong. We have insider customs. We sing insider songs. We use insider language, which usually does not communicate what we want it to – and, in fact, does not communicate at all.
Bible study becomes hermeneutics. Preaching becomes homiletics Teaching the Christian faith becomes apologetics. A church service becomes a liturgy. The Ten Commandments become the Decalogue. Loving Jesus becomes Christology. Church life becomes ecclesiology. Talk about the universe, and it’s cosmology. Have a faith-based worldview, and it’s epistemology. Christ’s return becomes eschatology. The closing song is the doxology. Talk about the Holy Spirit, and you’re pneumatological. Teach about salvation, and you’re soteriological. Get together with another church, and you’re ecumenical. Drink coffee with another believer and you are having fellowship. Tell others about Jesus, and you’re missional. The Bible becomes the canon
The more unchurched people I talk to every day the more I realize our phrases are unintelligible. I work hard not to use Christianeze or any big word for that matter. I am not out to impress people – I am out to see them meet Jesus and receive salvation.
Think about it… the preacher says to the people, “Turn to Joshua.” And, a non-believer will look around to find a guy named Joshua. We mention “general revelation,” and people think we are talking about a war hero. And, the best one I have caught is: “Turn in your Bibles…” and a visitor will wonder why we can no longer have our own Bible and must turn them in.
And, it all adds up to creating an elitist, foreign environment guaranteed to make most visitors feel like they don’t belong.
Fact: People are fed up with churches that treat people like outsiders.