Let’s Talk about Un-Intentionality

buzz-words-art“Intentionality,” is apparently on it’s second or third loop around Christendom. “The key” to effective ministry, this week anyway, is being intentional.  Intentional in discipleship, intentional in seeking out community, intentional in being… yeah, blah blah blah

I can remember hearing Propaganda talk at a Christian conference a few years back where he concluded by saying; “Now let’s go intentionally eat lunch.”  It was an obvious slur against that particular buzz-word.

The problems with Christianeze (Christian Buzz-Words), are that:

  1. It can give the appearance or create a buzz about doing the work without the rhythmic execution of it.
  2. It makes the church lazy by giving everyone a new words to parrot to one another evoking oohs and ahhs while delaying action.
  3. The communication of these words, their definitions and meaning within Christian contexts often requires sedentary environments (mission-less gatherings), i.e. conferences, ‘worship services,’ and the like.
  4. It can sterilize service.
  5. It can become ‘insider talk.’
  6. It can be self-delusional by making us believe we’re doing ministry simply by talking about it.
  7. It can dull our senses to cultures that do not or will not use our jargon.

Just in case some examples are needed, here are a few:



“doing life”

“love on”

“social justice”

and dare I say… “Missional”

I could mention so many more.  I have been guilty of using these words myself and I have been making an effort to correct that.  I suppose what really irks me; is the apparent desire; from what looks like most of the Church, to be amazed more than being equipped to advance, to repeat gospel flavored mantras more than gospel, and to sink huge resources into propagating systems and paraphernalia that pump out more words rather than disciples of the Word.  Avoiding jargon forces me to describe, explain, and live out God’s message in a way that might be more difficult ‘up front,’ but usually more lasting and fruitful afterwards.

Finally, and with respect to intentionality, I’m not sure that folks running around telling others “you need to be intentional” actually helps.  I’m also not sure that total intentionality is the goal.  It seems to squeeze out the accidental, the random, the risky and wild preparedness that meshes with people where they are at in their un-intentionality. Just a thought…

A few Questions;

  1. What’s your current ‘favorite’ (sarcasm), buzz word? Why?
  2. If new words, or old words rehashed shall be known by their fruit, then what is that fruit?
  3. If we’re not going to use buzz-words, then what replaces them?

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