Friday, May 25, 2007

What’s in a Name?

Our Leadership Council (deacons and pastors) have been kicking around the idea of a name change for our church. The circumstances of founding our church were so unique that we didn’t really give the name a great deal of thought at first. Since we were so blessed to have so much in place for us, due to our partnership with Cedar Park, we were able to go from idea to implementation in just a few short months. Who had time to think about a name?

Now in our sixth year of existence, The Chapel at Cedar Park wonders if the name of our church should be a bit more than the name of the building in which we worship.

Every so often you hear about parents who wait a while to name their children. The rationale is simple: they want to get to know the kid before affixing a moniker. In like manner, our church has grown up and we have gotten to know it… maybe it is time for a better name.

As we’ve been thinking about characteristics that might be reflected in a name, several things have come up in conversation: warm hospitality and fellowship; appreciation for tradition; reverence for scripture and value for biblical, even exegetical, preaching; and commitment to God’s mission to save people in our families, communities, and around the world.

We’ve even talked about recent trends that produce clever names for churches… names that sometimes don’t even reveal that the place/organization is even a church at all. The motive seems to be a good one; this kind of approach indicates a bias for outreach. It is a good approach, but it doesn’t seem to suit us. Those who seem to find our church most helpful are specifically looking for a church.

The name that the Leadership Council keeps coming back to is Redeemer’s Fellowship. One of our deacons brought a verse of Scripture that provides a good basis for this name: God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:9). He also referenced 1 John 1:3 and Hebrews 10:24,25.

We like the word Fellowship as it reflects our commitment of care to one another. Our church has distinguished itself as a warm, inviting, community in which people genuinely love each other… and even really like each other. It expresses our understanding that we are called to serve together, that God calls us to be members of one body; more than merely a gathering of persons, we are a people.

Redeemer’s seems to suit us well too. It could be that the most important part of that word is the apostrophe, that little punctuation mark that indicates that our fellowship is in the possession of our Savior. We understand that we are His… that any right standing that we have before God and creation is only because we have been redeemed by Jesus.

So these days we’re looking for feedback. Nobody feels that change is absolutely necessary; The Chapel at Cedar Park has served us well. But it could be time for change. Do you like that idea? Do you have a better idea? Should we just keep The Chapel as is? Let us know what you think.


Anonymous said...

I am not big on change, so I think I am biased in my opinion. I like the Chapel at Cedar Park and have never actually thought of it as the building. The building I think of as the mausoleum, my church I think of as The Chapel at Cedar Park. I think it fits us and I like it, but I am not in leadership, so I don't know all the reason's for a change, or the meanings of the various names, nor have I ever really reflected on a need for change. I was scared to death to name my child because I didn't know my child. Same exact reasoning and I just knew I was going to make a mistake in it. I prayed a lot about it and when push came to shove we settled on one name that seemed to fit and was comfortable, one that I believe God gave us. I would never think of changing it now that I know my child better. It seems weird to change the name, but of course that is just me. My vote is to keep it the way it is.

Anonymous said...

I read your rationale and it was interesting. If you are serious about a name change this becomes a very unique opportunity. It seems that the name would somehow relate to who you are trying to impress (reach). As you point out perhaps your current name continues to serve you well. When the “mother” church has a solid reputation why not ride on that? A further question … are you endeavoring to attract those who are already Christ-followers. If so, “Redeemer’s” is a good name, but to the totally unchurched I wonder if it has any connection. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

A distinct name could be an advantage for you down the line. I like Redeemer. It fits your culture. What about the word community instead of fellowship. I mention this for two reasons:
1. Fellowship is a Christian word today. It is rarely used by non-Christians
2. Community is a deeper word with more aspects.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

my 2 cents...Redeemers Fellowship sounds Lutheran to me. What about Cedar Park Community Church? - not much thought given to it, just off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

Fellowship is churchy; unknown to the unchurched - makes it an insider place. Redeemer same. Redeemed from what? or to what? Unknown to unchurched.

the Chapel is a good name; simple, elegant, easy to remember, assoc with mother church, etc.

Dan Neary said...

What is so bad about "churchy"? The churchy church has done pretty well for 2,000 years... why now are there so many of us convinced that the only way for the church to do well in the future is to pretend we are something else? I'm not troubled by those who want to try something new; why are so many troubled that I'm happy to stick with something old?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you. I think the old is good when it's working. The point initially doesn't seem to be coming up with a catchy name (big caution from "Happy Church" near yours!) but if and why you feel a need to change. The Chapel pretty much says what you are and do. I'd stay with it. that's my humble 2c worth.

GJ Gillespie Artist said...

How about:

Classic Christian Chapel

A fellowship of believers affirming a life of community and traditional faith

Jamie Smith says that the best way to be a post modern church is to be ancient. Perhaps we should feature our "classic" approach.

Anonymous said...

I'm content with "the Chapel" or the "Chapel at Cedar Park" NO Frills. Just plain and simple. That's what and who we are. Just another word for church. I agree with Dan. Why hide or candy coat church. Church is Church. Everbody gets it.But "Redeemers Fellowship" -definately Lutheran.