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Growing Edge

Why do some sermons with solid biblical content fail to connect with the listener?

According to Calvin Miller, the problem boils down to a language barrier: Although Scripture is communicated in friendly street language, the church through the centuries has picked up a distinct "worship language." Even sermons that ooze with Scripture lose vitality when preached in a worship language unfamiliar to today's listeners.

I recently visited with Calvin Miller, professor of communication and ministry studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, about his "Marketplace Preaching" (Baker; 188 pages, $12.99).

HOW CAN PREACHERS MOVE FROM "WORSHIP LANGUAGE" TO "STREET LANGUAGE"? Miller: Spend time with people in their marketplace. Join them for lunch. Watch how they greet people and relate to them. Preachers who don't do this fall into a church lingo unlike the friendly street language the gospel of Christ was written in.


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