I’m somewhat guilty of this one.
One of the hardest things about transitioning from seminary to pastoring churches was figuring out how to take all of the complicated theological concepts I’d learned and make them accessible to parishioners who hadn’t necessarily had the opportunity to gain the same knowledge. While I think I’ve done pretty well over the years at not preaching over peoples’ heads, there’s always a temptation to bust out some Greek or Hebrew or to throw around words such as “soteriological” and “pneumatology.” Not that there’s anything wrong with introducing seminary-grade information to congregants, but I view it much like Paul viewed speaking in tongues: If you’re not willing to (or can’t) translate effectively, don’t do it.
Nonetheless, I know I’ve slipped up occasionally- an obvious hint is that glazed-over look in peoples’ eyes- so I apologize to anyone whom I’ve ever bored to sleep by trying to sound smart. Preaching doesn’t have to be “dumbed down” to be effective, but if the pastor is the only one in the room who gets what’s going on he or she is not doing it right.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have a blessed Holy Week.