I’m a firm believer that language is one of the most important tools of the pastoral trade. However, it can also be tempting to abuse language. We have to approach it carefully.
Lately, I’ve noticed that I find myself retyping one particular statement in a different way. Often, I’ll find myself talking about “my congregations” or “my church.” Everytime I do this, for whatever reason, there is a little alarm that goes off in the back of my head, “Whose congregation? Whose Church?” So…backspace, backspace, backspace, I retype “the congregations I serve” or “the church I serve.” Because first and foremost both churches I’m appointed to are God’s churches. They do not belong to me. I don’t own them. I’m called to serve them.
Semantics matter. Can we even say that language shapes our thinking? Maybe so. So, the next time you think of “your church,” maybe you’ll hear that same alarm that’s been hardwired in my brain.