How I’ve Changed My Preaching Language

Over the past several months, I’ve changed my church language. Actually, this is something I’ve had to do over the course of my years as a preacher and a pastor. If you get stuck in the past or if you get stuck in old language, you lose much of your congregation.

I fear that teachers, preachers, and pastors are in danger of losing their congregations.

For that reason, I’ve changed my church language.

Let me tell you three ways I’ve changed.

First, I’ve changed the word “story” to “message.” I’ve done this because the youngest generation thinks of a “story” as a fairy tale rather than the message of God to His people. When we use the word “story,” we’re feeding into the false narrative this generation has been given.

This change is difficult for anyone who thinks of “the greatest story ever told” or “tell me the story of Jesus, sweetest that ever was heard.”

There is nothing wrong with either of those statements, but there is a different understanding by the youngest generation.

For this reason, I’ve changed my church language. Instead of telling the story of the good Samaritan, I tell of the message of God through the person of the good Samaritan.

Second, I’ve begun speaking more about Jesus and the Holy Spirit rather than God. Again, this may give you a real problem, but the youngest generations don’t know who God is. They know many gods and can’t distinguish any of them. We are almost back to the time early in God’s revelation when He referred to Himself as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

If we talk about God we must often establish who we are talking about. He is the God who created the heavens and the earth and revealed Himself in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Third, I’ve quit referring to “youth” or “young people” and I’ve started calling them “young men” and “young women.”

I want them to know I respect them and their opinions, and I want to influence them from the teaching of Holy Scripture. In a sense, we have to be willing to listen if we want to be heard.

The next generation (the one being born right now) will be the largest in American history. If we win this generation, we influence America and the world. If we lose this generation, we lose the great opportunity God has placed before us. I want to win this generation.

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One Comment


  1. Dan Lanier
    Oct 29, 2015

    Thank you for your wisdom and insight. I really enjoy reading your blog each day. Thank you for your consistent walk and testimony for Jesus. You have impacted my life and ministry!
    Dan Lanier

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. — Psalm 51:12 (NIV)