What's in a name? Churches trade old names for new, younger members

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Bert Perry's picture

Given that the church profiled is now on its fourth name, I'd have to suggest that this isn't quite new.  Now sometimes a church name change can make sense--say when the "1st Swedish Baptist Church" has not only started services in English, but also reached out and become a majority-non-Swedish church--but at other times, part of me wonders--perhaps an uncharitable part of me--whether the name change is a way of hiding the fact that they're going to be doing the same old thing, but they're hoping to hide that fact with a new name.  The flip side is that the name can reinforce a change of direction, of course.

It strikes me also that if we believe that some of the old ways were wrong or even sinful, then the first thing we do is correct and repent, no--and while Saul became Paul and the like, it's not always the case that a name change is needed.  To me it seems like keeping the name with real repentance can be even more powerful than rebadging.  Not a gimme, but a can be.

Ron Bean's picture

I can understand some reasons for rebranding but when churches start dropping "church" from their name I can imagine some possible confusion. Imagine visitors discovering that "New Day" and "New Morning" are coffee shops, "Rejuvenation" is really a spa, "New Life" is a birthing center, or "My Name is Written on His Hands" is a tattoo parlor.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Larry Nelson's picture

 

1. Just this morning while visiting the website of a prominent, local IFB church, I noticed mention made of its upcoming church plant.  The word "Baptist" is not part of the church plant's name. 

2. A small Minnesota Baptist Association church announced a few months ago a "rebranding initiative"---i.e. they were considering removing the word "Baptist" from their name.  They formed a committee to discuss this possibility, which per their weekly bulletins (published online) met on a couple of occasions.  I haven't seen any mention made recently of the initiative.  Perhaps they have given it up.  I heard second-hand that other members of the MBA wondered aloud if the church could or should be allowed to retain its membership in the MBA, in the event it did remove the word "Baptist" from its name.  If in fact such external pressure did lead them to drop their rebranding initiative (rather than it being purely an internal decision), it makes me question (even moreso than at times I already do) if the word "independent" really belongs in "independent fundamental Baptist".