It brought to our attention that there are clearly Australian ways of saying certain things.
Reference: “Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying?” 1 Corinthians 14:16 NIV
Explore: My sister has recently married into an English family and we were sharing some time all together. While we live in different countries, we all spoke English so communication was easy… or so we thought.
We would all be sharing in what we thought was a normal, easy conversation when one of our English guests would question a word or a phrase we were saying. It brought to our attention that there are clearly Australian ways of saying certain things.
One thing that baffled our English guests was when we said, “Yeah, yeah, nah.” They couldn’t work out if we were agreeing or disagreeing.
When you’re in a room full of Aussies you rarely have to explain your language or certain expressions, but when foreigners are around you are made aware of how carefully we need to communicate if we really want to be understood.
Application: This stands true when we think of the church too. So often we build up our own little vocabulary that is not understood by those out of the church.
This is fine when all the believers are gathered together, but if even one person from outside the church is present, they end up feeling isolated and ostracised. And that is not the aim of the church.
As the church we are to be open and loving to all people. And so we need to watch our language. Are we being inclusive to all? If someone totally unchurched was to walk into your Sunday service, would they understand it all?
It’s good for us to have moments of worship when we don’t have to consider anyone else, but that’s not what the group communal worship is for. In all we do publicly may we be expressing God’s welcome and open arms to all.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be considerate of others so no one will be turned away from knowing You. Amen.
How can your church be more inclusive?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.