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What’s in a name?

We’re holding some church leadership strategy meetings this summer, and one of the big topics is the proposal that we change the name of our church. It’s a big step – we’ve been Noelridge Baptist Church for almost 50 years. But the times, they are a-changin’. The denomination with which we’re loosely affiliated (Conservative Baptist Int’l, ‘CBI’) has mulled over a name change for the last year or so and settled on WorldVenture. The rationale for the name change is that when you poll the population at large and ask for church-name-type words with bad connotations, right at the top of the list are both “conservative” and “baptist”. Two strikes against you before you even get started. We have discussed it for a while and decided that Baptist has got to go. But what will we change it to?

Our leadership group at these meetings is comprised of eight of us: our four elders (two of whom are the staff pastors), two elder apprentices (of which I am one), the chair of the deacons (my friend Steve), and the chair of the deaconesses (my wife). (Did I mention we’re a little bit involved in our church? 🙂 ) Anyhow, our group is pretty well split on naming philosophies right now. Our senior pastor (by far the dynamic leader of the group) is in favor of something more seeker-friendly, and is a big fan of something perhaps in Latin that will pique the interest of seekers. (Think of Imago Dei in Portland, for an example.) I think that both of us apprentices and probably the elder chair would go for that.

But then there’s the other side. Steve and John (the youth pastor) and Becky are all on the opposite side, thinking that a “foriegn-sounding” name will just turn people off; that they’ll go “huh? what’s that? can’t even pronounce it!” and that’ll be it. John (I love ya’, bro) likes to play the stupid card: “well you guys may be rocket scientists, but I’m just a simple guy and I wouldn’t even know how to spell it if you told it to me…” It drives me nuts sometimes. He’s not that simple. 🙂 Anyway, their vote would be for something simpler, like “Peace Church” or “Potter’s Clay Community”. Sure, the names are simpler, but to me they don’t inspire the awe or interest that some other type of name would.

So there’s our dilemma. We will be making a change, but to what? Do you, the reader, have any ideas? Here’s the list of everything that was proposed yesterday at our meeting.

Peace Church
Peace Community
All Souls Church
All Souls Community Church
Last Baptist Church
Community of Faith
Glory of God Community
Image of God Community
Potter’s Clay Community
Last Chance Church
Last Stop Church
Noelridge Church
Gratia Dei Church
Charis Deo Church
Pax Dei Community
Imago Christi Community

Do any of them strike you as good or bad? I’ll take all of the input I can get.

One Comment

  1. Amber Amber

    Ah yes, “minstrel”. That was the word i was looking for, thanks 🙂
    Hmm…i agree that a foreign sounding name is interesting and will draw people in, but i do see the point that it may turn people off also… well… i know it doesnt really matter but i’ll tell you my opinions ot the names you’ve come up with so far on a rating of 1 – 5, 5 being the best:
    Peace Church: 2. possible
    Peace Community: 1.5. again, possible. Similar to above.
    All Souls Church: 2. maybe..
    All Souls Community Church: 3 i like this better than just “All Souls Church”
    Last Baptist Church: 1 Thought the point was to get “Baptist” out..?
    Community of Faith: 3, that one is not bad
    Glory of God Community: 2 hmm.. well i like “glory of God community” better than “image of God community”
    Image of God Community
    Potter’s Clay Community: 3 or 4, interesting
    Last Chance Church: 1 hmm..this name makes me feel like if i dont feel the presence of God here then thats it. Last chance, too bad. lol..
    Last Stop Church: 0 or 1..
    Noelridge Church: 5
    Gratia Dei Church: 4
    Charis Deo Church: 5
    Pax Dei Community: 4
    Imago Christi Community: 4
    I dunno…thats just my impression on first reading them…one last suggestion?
    I like the phrase “community church” after the name. Well, gotta go. Have a wonderful day.

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