A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Common Phrases You Hear in Church & Their Real Meanings

As I have been watching March Madness basketball games, several catch phrases have been used again and again by the announcers. Even if you're not that much of a basketball fan, you have probably heard these common expressions at one point or another.

  • "Shooting a brick" - The ball hits hard on the front of the rim.
  • "Burying a three" - Player shoots from "3-point land." (I'm using another catch phrase to   explain the catch phrase!)
  • "Coast to Coast"- Player takes the ball from one end of the court to the other.
  • "Crash the Boards" - Team doing a good job trying to get rebounds.
  • "In the paint" - A lot of the plays are taking place under the basket.
  • "Kiss off the window" - Player makes a bank shot.

The church has common catch phrases as well. Here are some examples along with their tongue in cheek translations. Remember, it's OK to poke a little fun at ourselves once in a while!

  • "Feeding the flock" - Refers to biblical preaching/teaching to hep the congregation grow in their faith. That sounds so much better than saying, "Learn'n the people."
  • "Sending Forth" - Also known as the blessing or the benediction at the end of a service. It's the signal that you need to make sure you have all your belongings before leaving the pew.
  • "Let us now partake" - Used during Holy Communion. I don't know why we preachers just don't tell people to "eat" the bread and "drink" from the cup, but it doesn't sound as religious. Have you ever used the word "partake" in everyday conversation? Exactly.
  • "I want to encourage you to..." - Used frequently at the beginning of an announcement in which the pastor wants you to volunteer for something.
  • "Time for our tithes and offerings" - Translation: Put some money in the plate when it's passed through the pews.
  • "Offer the grace" - The prayer prior to the church's covered dish meal and it better be really short. We're hungry.
  • "We'll begin with some devotions" - The sharing of a spiritual thought/scripture passage prior to a church meeting so that the church meeting remains civil and people still like each other when it's all over. 
  • "Give 'em heaven!" - A quick pep talk offered to a preacher by a kind soul before he/she delivers the sermon. 
  • "As you feel led by the Spirit" - This is what a pastor tells a congregation when no ushers are available to direct each row of people to come to the front of the sanctuary during a worship service.
  • "I love ya in the Lord" - Our way of telling others that you care about them even though you wouldn't necessarily want to socialize with them outside of church.
  • "Let's sing that again, but this time, sing it like you mean it!" - We have some time to kill so let's sing the same verse again. It might also mean that the person working the sound equipment  needs some time to put a new battery in one of the microphones.
  • "Oh, bless your heart!" Often heard in the Deep South, this is when somebody in the church is trying to be polite by not saying what they really mean which is, "You are a really weird person and I don't want to be around you." 


Brian Vinson said...

"Partake" has always been my sister's least favorite word in Christianese.

Robert McDowell said...

Yeah, I think ministry is the only occupation that uses that word. Ha!