Phrases You Should Never Use Around Church Members

Phrases You Should Never Use Around Church Members

May 13, 2019—We all have that painful memory of a moment when our emotions got the better of us during a moment of reactivity. As soon as we said those words we regretted them, or, if not immediately, then eventually, as the full brunt of the consequences of impulsivity and lack of self control came around to pay us back. Experience is a good teacher and along the way we may carry within us a mental list of things we should never say in the presence of certain others.

In the book A Christian Educator’s Book of Lists I shared “Phrases You Should Never Use Around Church Members.” It still seems like good advice. A companion list may be one about the things we should constantly repeat, like, “Thank you,” “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” “I appreciate you,” etc. You know, that list your parents tried to instill in you before the capacity for the sentiment matched the words.

Here’s the list:

  1. “That’s not my job.”
  2. “I don’t care.”
  3. “You know, your kid’s a real brat!”
  4. “Yes, I have a chauffeur’s license.”
  5. “Yes, I know how to program the thermostat (work the copy machine, the fax, the printer, etc.).”
  6. “Yes, my spouse would be happy to play the piano for your program.”
  7. “I wish (staff member) would get his/her act together!”

I’m certain your experience has taught you others (share those, won’t you?)

Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer & Don Reagan, and Leadership in Ministry: Bowen Theory in the Congregational Context.

His books on Christian education include Mastering the Art of Instruction,The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice Press).

Galindo contributes to the Wabash Center’s blog for theological school deans.


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