remember when it was all so clear. Mom would say, “How about Kentucky Fried
Chicken tonight?” and the kids would all say, “Hallelujah!” (Or

the Kentucky Fried Chicken people, apparently concerned about their roots, decided
to abbreviate the name to KFC. That was OK, since many of us already abbreviated
it to KFC. (That, or occasionally we’d alternate it with TGCP, which stood for
“The Greasy Chicken Place.” Abbreviations can be remarkably helpful.)

however, it’s getting a bit too postmodern for me. Those advertising wizards
at KFC have started producing commercials that refer to “kitchen fresh
chicken.” I may not be all that quick, but even I am beginning to see a
transition taking place. Fried chicken is now health food – pass the bucket!

the thing about postmodernism: words mean what you want them to mean. Throw
away those old-fashioned ideas about truth and you end up with health-food chicken
legs, submarine-sandwich diets, and airlines that will get you there on time.

back to those abbreviations. Apparently other companies also are getting rid
of their names and living off letters. ESPN started out as the Entertainment
and Sports Programming Network; of course, that’s also when they ran 12-hour
curling marathons. Today it’s just ESPN. Perhaps they had to shorten the name
to save money so they could pay for those NFL games.

here in my backyard, there used to be The Nashville Network, or TNN. Then they
sold out to another company, and it became The National Network. (Someone didn’t
want to throw away all those T-shirts with the TNN logos.) Then someone else
bought it – are you still with me? – and they just went with TNN. (Also known
affectionately as “The KFC of TV.”) Alas, one final sale and TNN lost
out to “Spike TV,” which is known as “The Network for Men”
(or TNFM).

from the age of 12 to 25 now communicates more through online Instant Messaging
(IM) than by phone (though fathers of teenage daughters may find that hard to
believe). And the IM folks have their own set of acronyms, from LOL (Laughing
Out Loud) to ROTFL (Rolling on the Floor Laughing) to IMHO (In my Humble Opinion).
Even us old coots can find the value of shorthand like THX (thanks), K (Okay),
and CID (Consider It Done).

marketing people don’t have it all to themselves, though. Denominations have
been in the abbreviation business for a long time. Use the term “SBC”
around these parts and everyone knows you’re talking about the Southern Baptist
Convention. A bit less populous – but definitely on the rise – is the AOG, or
Assemblies of God. Move a bit to the left and you can connect with the UCC (United
Church of Christ) or even the UU’s (Unitarian-Universalist). One could make
the case that some of the mainline churches are declining in size because their
abbreviations are too unwieldy. Think about it: PC-USA just doesn’t have the
same zing as PCA.

it’s time for local churches to get in on the act. As a public service to church
leaders everywhere, allow me to suggest a potential glossary of abbreviations
that will help you get right to the point in your congregation:

FBC = First Baptist
SOFBC = Split Off First Baptist Church
PYWHLWTS – People You Wish Had Left With the Split

UMC = United
Methodist Church
UMCPGM = United Methodist Church Pro-Gay Ministers
UMCAGM = United Methodist Church Anti-Gay Ministers

PWM = Praise
& Worship Music
BW = Blended Worship
HHW = Hip-Hop Worship
TOIPTLA = The Organist is Playing Too Loud Again

TP = Topical
EP = Expository Preaching
ACP = Application-Centered Preaching
WTSNE? = Will This Sermon Never End?

Duduit is Editor of Preaching magazine and President of American Ministry
Resources. You can write to him at michael@preaching.com, or visit his website
at www.michaelduduit.com.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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