We’ve all heard of speech impediments: stuttering, apraxia, and lisps are common. We’ve all heard them in others or even had them ourselves. They are impediments because they “impede” the message of the speaker. Those who have suffered with speech impediments work hard for many years to overcome their burden with therapy and training.
Yet, many churches are filled with “preach impediments.” This is when the preacher, often unaware that it is happening, has impeded his message through the use of his words. This happens with fancy words, theological jargon, and hurried sermons. Let’s explain each:
Fancy Words— Preachers often use “$1,000 words” to explain simple ideas, make their message hard to understand. Because of the research and study that goes into preparing a sermon, these words tend to come naturally to the preacher, but make the sermon less effective to the hearer.
Theological Jargon—Preachers will use words that many people don’t understand, because these are the correct words. A few examples include sanctification, propitiation, soteriology, and eschatology. There are 100s of these words that, if the preacher is not careful, he will speak “over the heads” of many of the listeners and cause them not to understand his important message.
Hurried Sermons—Another way preachers struggle to speak clearly is when they are so quick to finish a message that they hurry too fast for the listener. They say “turn to this passage” but do not give time for the listener to turn to that passage. They will rush through the call to action at the end of the sermon in order to beat the clock. Eventually, the common listener will quit turning to passages, quit listening during this invitation to repentance, and eventually quit even bringing their Bibles or listening altogether.
We also want you to understand some of those “$1,000 words,” so in each of the following issues of this lesson series, we will have a short article that defines a fancy word or helps you understand theological jargon. We hope that this will help you better understand the Word of God and the concepts found therein. We want to challenge you as the listener to improve your ability to listen, understand, and be challenged by God’s Word. Through definitions and devotional style teaching, we hope this series will bless you and your walk with God!