Last week the Local Government Association in the U.K. published a list of 200 words which it says should no longer be used by local councils. LGA chairman Margaret Eaton said: “The public sector must not hide behind impenetrable jargon and phrases.”
A lot of these are clearly what you’d call industry “buzz” words. And it made me think about “buzz” words we regularly use in the Church. Here’s a list of words that would immediately go on my banned jargon list:
The Next Level. Why do you always have to take something to the next level? Are you ever allowed to skip levels? And how many levels are there, anyway? Do you ever reach the end? Would it ever be helpful to go back a level? Forget it.
Synergy. “The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.” Hello… in church I think we can just call this the body of Christ.
Leverage. Yes, let’s use something to get something else we want. Frankly, this feels like a buzzword that’s just a more positive-sounding word than manipulation. It might be okay if it’s leveraging something upward… like to the next level.
Excellence. This one has a good heart. As people created in the image of The Creator, we want everything we do to be “possessing outstanding quality.” But really. Who gets appointed “Arbiter of Excellence” at your church? Who makes the final decision and how is it measured? It can sometimes be so abstract and subjective that it’s really just code for “control.”
God showed up. Did he? Hmm…I don’t know… in a body of believers where two or more are gathered? In other words, did this surprise you?
Outside the Box. Ideas that are prefaced with this phrase are almost always inextricably linked to “the box.” Let’s just disassociate from The Box altogether, including using it as a parameter.
What words would you add to the list?
[ADDED] Relevant. I can’t even believe I forgot this word, it should have been first on the list. (Thanks for the reminder, Blair in the comments.) Calling yourself relevant is like calling yourself “hot.” It really is up to others to decide how “relevant” you are to them – it’s not a label you can claim for yourself. However “hot” you think you are is… irrelevant!