Starting a church has both joys and challenges. One recent challenge, which also brought incredible joy to our congregation, was adopting a new name.
We launched our church in early 2013 with the name Grace Baptist Church. While we are a people who love the grace of God, and while we love being historical Baptists, we ran into a couple of problems in “branding” over the last few years.
Our first problem was that multiple churches of different denominations, various ministries, and local schools in our region had the name “Grace” in their title. The other challenge was that people didn’t know what kind of baptist our church wanted to be. At community events, we often found ourselves introducing ourselves something like this, “Hi. We’re from Grace Baptist Church. Not Grace Methodist or Grace Catholic or Grace Assembly. And we’re Baptist but not that kind of Baptist. We’re a different kind of baptist.” (or something like that; you get the gist!)
We finally arrived at the point where we were tired of constantly telling people what we were not; rather, we wanted to let people know who we were and what kind of people we wanted to be!
As a result, we launched into a lengthy process in the latter part of 2015. As a church, we examined our history, identity, partnerships and values. We looked at case-studies and statistics related to denominational favorability, and we conducted our own surveys. Finally, we came to consensus as a church. The overwhelming choice was to adopt our new church name as:
Peace of Christ Church
A Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
The “Peace” points toward our contemplative nature, as well as conveying our desire to be a warm, safe and welcoming environment.
The “Christ” points toward the Christ-centeredness of our church body. We want to be a “centered set” where all may freely come to drink from the Living Water, rather than a “bounded set,” resulting in keeping out some categories of people.
The “Cooperative Baptist Fellowship” sub-name points toward the type of Baptists with whom we share commonalities in faith, mission and values.
Our naming experience was lengthy, challenging and exhaustive, but created joy through a sense of ownership, collaboration and excitement among our people.
If you ever decide to go through the process of changing your name, feel free to reach out to us. We’re part of CBF for many reasons, one of them being our desire to support others walking the same path as us.
Kyle is a co-missioned CBF Church Starter, CBF Fellow, Chair of the Austin/San Marcos regional board for CBF TX and a BJC Fellow. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Leadership Studies at Dallas Baptist University and Lead Pastor of Peace of Christ Church. Follow Kyle and Peace of Christ Church on Twitter @kyleleetubbs and @peacewilco. This post was originally published on the CBF Blog.