off the map … at least for me


for the majority of the time that i have been a minister i have prided myself on focusing on not talking “church language.” what i mean by “church language” are all the internal terms and slang that CHRISTians use that communicate to those “in the know” but are often not understood by those that are not within the church culture. i wasn’t raised in the church world and when i came to faith in CHRIST and eventually started attending a local church i was always frustrated when pastors would refer to slang or stories that i was apparently assumed to already know. when someone would say “you all know the story of yada yada” i wanted to shout “NO I DON’T! TELL ME ABOUT IT!” since i usually didn’t shout that out i was just general confused and frustrated (a state that is pretty normal for my brain).

because of these experiences i have always tried to regularly focused on not using such internal language. before coming to point and starting tapestry i thought i did a pretty good job at this. now i know that at best i was just doing a good job for the bible belt and at worst i thoroughly sucked at it. i am very thankful for those who have helped me discover this.

this discovery has come over the past 5 weeks. during this period i have been leading tapestry through stories form the life of jacob during our sunday night worship gatherings. trying not to assume everyone was familiar with the story of jacob i started each week off with a summary of what we have talked thus far. i thought i was doing a pretty good job with my summaries until several people politely said i wasn’t (this is yet another reason i love the threads). after talking with several people what i discovered was that while i might have been doing an ok job of summarizing the story i wasn’t giving people unfamiliar with the story of jacob anything to attach to the summary to. the names jacob, esau, isaac rebekah, rachel, laban, and leah were unfamiliar to many and therefore i might have been repeating the same name over and over again during my summary.

the above stick people are an example of what came out of these conversations. the stick people serve as references for people to associate with the story and the weekly summary. i put the stick figures in my powerpoint and they come back up again and again. those far it looks like they are working. at least that is what i’ve been told and as stated above the people of tapestry don’t mind telling me when i am not connecting.

this is a brave new world for me. the old world allowed general assumptions concerning what people knew of scripture (or at least i lived like it did). this new world doesn’t fit that assumption. this new world is one that i thought i had already discovered but now i realize that i am much farther off the map than i thought i was. this is exactly where i want to be.

SIDE NOTE – none of this would have come about if it hadn’t of been for several threads telling me that i wasn’t doing a very good job of summarizing in the first place. i hope every pastor in the world is blessed with people who will tell him/her when things aren’t working. i know some pastors don’t view such people as “blessings” (a.k.a. reasons to be happy) and i know some are just mean people. thankfully i haven’t experienced many of the “mean ones.” instead. usually the people who point out when i’m not doing my best have been the people who help me the most.

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