Names and branding have never been more important than in our day. You see images of cows with misspelled words on signs and immediately know what food chain is being referred to. You can hear the beginning of a song and know what place of business that jingle represents.
The changing of a name signifies something significant as well. Scripturally speaking, we see Abram changed to Abraham, Saul to Paul, Simon changed to Peter. The changing of a name signifies that something new is happening there is a new direction that a person or group is headed towards. The changing of a name can unite groups of people as well. You think of the word church. Belonging to the gathering of the body of Christ. And we all remember in Acts when the church in Antioch was first called Christians. We also know that the early gospel spread in Jerusalem and beyond found the church being called “the Way.” It was a way of knowing that followers of Chrsit belonged to the same group, the church.
We also know that names can have a negative meaning to them. When we think of the Cubs in St. Louis we don’t necessarily have a good taste in our mouths. Often when a restaurant like McDonald’s is mentioned it is not associated with healthy food. And many more examples can be thought of by each of us. We can mention names of different local businesses or people and get very adverse reactions to them.
So what do people think of when they hear of a church? Think of the local churches around you and as soon as you say the church name in your head say the first thing that comes to your mind. What are they known for? How do you view that local church? Names are important, it says more than we realize.
In thinking of a name change for a church there are several factors that come to mind. First, what is the view of the church by the community it is trying to reach, especially given the long history FBC Ferguson has in this city. Second, does the name communicate clearly that God is doing something new through this replanting process? Thirdly, are there aspects of the name that will keep people from interacting with the church at large? Fourth, unity between the two replanting churches would be aided by having a new name.
We have not brought up the name change in a while but I thought this would be a good time to remind us that we desire to move that direction. God is moving in our midst and with all that is being done we want to tell the community that we are not who they think we are. We want them to see something new is happening so that they might come and experience what God is doing in our midst.
Begin praying for what God would want His Church called.