In a recent article in USA Today, Rita Rubin wrote an article concerning the communication gap between physicians and patients. She writes of Barry Weiss, a professor of clinical and community medicine at the University of Arizona, who remembered a time when he consulted with a colleague about a diabetic patient. The consulting physician looked at the patients infected foot and determined it must be amputated. He said, "I don't think we're going to be able to deal with this with local treatments." The patient responded, "Does that mean I'm going to have to go to Los Angeles for treatment?"

Weiss likes to remind physicians they need to speak so that the patient can understand. The same admonition could be given to people involved with evangelism. We should be careful not to speak in theological code or "church lingo" and assume the listeners can break the code.

J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.