I recently read How Jargon Can Damage Nonprofit Work. The author identifies three words leaders use that are of little use when it comes to furthering the cause:
It made me think about some of the words we use in the church that can be potentially confusing to people who don’t come from the same church traditions we do. The biggest mistake communicators make is assuming that whoever we are talking to is looking at the same situation from the same perspective with the same experience.
We are no longer afforded this assumption. As denominational loyalty wanes, new people become Christ-followers with little to no church experience, and more people are drawn together by purpose and mission than religious affiliation, we must rethink the words we use when we talk about church funding. It is more important to protect the relationship with the giver than preserve our traditions. We must not lose our identify, but we must be willing to accept new ideas as part of the co-creation of the story we find ourselves in.
If I had a magic wand, here are three words I would encourage church leaders to stop using and discover alternatives when it comes to the conversation on church funding:
1. Benevolence. Everyone has their own idea of what this means and what it should accomplish. Clarity of intention and impact results in funding.
2. Membership. God’s call to live generously doesn’t begin with church membership. Why place verbal restrictions on giving?
3. Offertory. Only “church people” know this word. If you’re making a difference, you’re going to encounter new Christ-followers with no context for Sunday morning worship. Offertory sounds more like an event than an opportunity to respond.
What words would you add to the list?