define your exhortations

One of the most important teaching steps we can take as college ministers is to define our terms. Especially when it comes to exhorting our students to “be” and “do” like Jesus, we’ve got to make sure they actually know what we’re saying.

Of course, that means we’ve got to know, too.

Here are 16 examples of terms that defy easy definition, either because it’s hard or because we (wrongly) think the meaning and application are “obvious”:

  1. “Gossip”
  2. “Judge” (as in, “Judge not…”)
  3. “Gospel”
  4. “Lust”
  5. “Self-Control”
  6. “Humility”
  7. “Sexual Purity”
  8. “Repenting”
  9. “Church Involvement” (see yesterday’s post)
  10. “Confront” / “Hold accountable”
  11. “Commit” (as in, what it means to commit to do something)
  12. “Dying to yourself”
  13. “Accepting Jesus” / Converting / Becoming a Christian
  14. “Honoring your parents”
  15. “Being a good steward”
  16. “Shame” (as in, the difference between “good guilt” and “bad guilt”)

That’s just off the top of my head, although a couple of them stick out for me. In high school, a youth pastor hurtfully brushed me aside when I expressed that some people don’t know exactly what “gossip” consists of. And in college, it was really helpful (and guilt-relieving) to hear a speaker and a pastor (two different guys) share what “lust” really is – and what it isn’t.

Think about the most recent message your students heard: Was every exhortation fully defined?

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  1. Pingback: define your praise « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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