I have had two eye opening experiences regarding the “terms” people use and how we interpret them.
A few months ago I was at my son’s house with several other members of our church at a monthly event we call “movie night.” After the movie during discussion time, one of my son’s roommates (who is not a Christian) told me I was religious.
I was offended. I reacted to the term “religious.” I told him I wasn’t “religious,” I was in a “relationship.” I surprised myself at how strongly I reacted to that term. I reacted because some “Christians” have used that term to others in a derogatory fashion. When I hear “religious” my thoughts think “judgmental” , “legalistic”, “holier-than-thou.” These are all terms I don’t want to be tagged with.
This young man, blinked at me a couple of times, took a deep breath and said, “That’s not what I meant!” The term “religious” to me means “holy,” “spiritual,” and “following God.”
What I took as an insult, he had given as a compliment.
The second event just happened a couple of days ago when I was sitting in a room with a couple of guys who have been journeying through this land called “ministry” far longer than I. We were discussing terms such as “missional” and “engaging our culture” in regards to churches. Once again, there was this gap in understanding of the “terms” we were using. We were able to define what we meant when we used the words “missional” and “engaged.”
I went home and asked my husband what he thought of when he heard the word “engaged.” He immediately thought of a transmission on a car, you can rev the gas pedal all you want, but the car won’t go anywhere until you “engage” the engine.
He then asked our son what he thought of when he heard the word “engaged.” Our son asked an excellent question back, “In what context?” He then proceeded to say, “the first thing that comes to mind when I hear that word is a ring, engaged to be married.”
Context is everything!
So recognizing that “engaging my culture” and “being missional” are some of my passions, I got the opportunity to do this “Darlene style.” In context, this is how it looked for me a couple of days ago.
I went to the apartment complex that we have done several church sponsored events at. This particular day I was dropping off fliers for our 3rd annual easter egg hunt. There were two men in the office, one was the husband of the manager of the complex. When I told him I had the fliers with me, he proceeded to tell the other man about the last 2 events we had. We laughed and joked about which was worse, frozen snow, or mud and rain.
What was so great to me was that he was looking forward to this event and he told the other guy that he had to come and bring his kids. This guy thought this was great and would. Imagine two “unchurched” guys looking forward to an event sponsored by a “church”.
It wasn’t until I was walking out the door, that one of them realized I was the pastor. His comment…”You’re the pastor?”
Yes pastors, can joke around and “engage” in conversation and be “missional” and guess what be a PERSON that is relatable. Personally, I think my congregation is much larger than the people who show up on Sunday mornings…..but that one is for another post. 🙂