Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Speaking the Language

What do math teachers do in the school cafeteria?
They divide their lunches between them.


What kind of sandwich sinks to the bottom of your stomach?
A sub sandwich!


What did one hotdog say to the other?
Please be frank with me.


By now you either think I've gone crazy posting such jokes, or you're laughing. If you're laughing, then you're probably in the third grade, because that's the age these jokes are directed toward.

The book of jokes containing these was on my desk this week with a note. It was left for me by one of the women working on a new ministry we plan to start next year in the church. It read: Pastor Stephen, Thought you'd want a joke book for the kids, to get ready for The Dock!

A small group has been meeting to design a ministry to help us do a better job communicating the Bible to elementary children. The Dock will be a place where kids come to launch out into God's Word. I'm not sure what all has been planned, but I feel confident of one thing, they "get it."

They understand you have to speak the language of the people you're trying to reach. If we're going to reach young elementary kids, we have to know what interests them, how they understand things, and what makes them laugh. We have to enter their world to help them become ready for a new world.

This is basically true no matter the group we want to reach. As Paul said, "To those under the law I became as one under the law...to those outside the law I became as one outside the law...to the weak I became weak that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some." (1 Cor 9:21-22)

We have to leave the comfort of where we are and the security of what we know to learn how to speak to others. Unfortunately, too much of what's called evangelism in the church is really a marketing and screening process. We promote the gospel to lure people in and keep the ones who are already like us, or who are ready to "speak our language."

I remember many years ago visiting in the home of a church member, an elderly widow who lived alone. On her coffee table were copies of a dirt bike magazine. I had to ask her about it. No big deal, she basically said. Her teenage grandson loved racing dirt bikes. She ordered the subscription so she could learn something about it, and thus be able to talk with him about what he loved. And when he came over, there'd be something there he'd enjoy looking at. She "got it" too. May the rest of us "get it," even if it's something as minor as learning to appreciate third-grade humor.

1 comment:

K said...

Glad you liked the joke book. We are all so excited about our kickoff for The DOCK. I can feel God's hand in this as we continue to plan and pray. I pray that we do speak the language to preach the gospel to ALL our generations!