Sometimes, aspiring or new church planters will ask me for advice or critique. Here are two points concerning their use of language, including a list of bad words for church planters:

Be intentional about language you use.

You’ll find it more difficult to connect with people if you’re using words that they associate with being fake. No one is accusing you of being fake, but I am accusing you of sounding like it.

There’s no use in explaining that you don’t mean it that way. You want to communicate in a way that people understand, therefore, all that matters is how it lands.

Develop a filter in your head for churchy language.

Note buzzwords that seminary-type people are using and stay away from those.

This includes words and phrases like:



Pressing in

Coming alongside


Loving ____ well

And worst of all, over-using the word “just” in prayer in an attempt to convey sincerity. Praying that you “just” want to thank Jesus for something, but then continuing with more prayer is like a broken promise to everyone listening.

These words and phrases are used as signals more than communication. They are often used as ways to verbally flash evangelical or spiritual credentials. Sadly, those credentials are neither accepted nor recognized by the people we want to tell about Jesus. It doesn’t cause them to listen to us or to not listen to us, it simply sounds out of place.

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman is the pastor of Valley Life | Tramonto, the first Valley Life Church planted in 2012. He planted his first NAMB church in 2004 in Portland, OR. Brian also writes for the Send Network Blog and Acts 29.