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Several years ago, the church I serve changed its name from First Evangelical Church to Hope Church. It was a decision 10 years in the making, with much input from the congregation and much prayer.

The following is a list of actual church names- perhaps they should consider a name change.

Accident Baptist Church is obviously not Calvinist.

First Church of the Last Chance World on Fire Revival and Military Academy (in Dade City FL). These folks have the first and last word on just about any subject. I don’t even want to ask what sort of military they are training.

Greater Second Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN, stands in contrast, I guess, to the not so great second Baptist church around the corner?

For those who do not want to commit all the way, you can go to the Halfway Baptist Church.

On the other hand, Hell Hole Swamp Baptist Church in South Carolina is not a seeker sensitive church by any stretch of the imagination. You have to be really committed to attend this church; none of those “Halfway Baptists” will be found here.

Of course everyone is welcome at Faith Free Lutheran. Like “sugar free” this is a church that contains no calories, convictions…or miracles.

Little Hope Baptist Church sounds a tad better than another church called No Hope United Methodist Church. Kind of makes you sad just saying it.

My personal favorite church name: Original Church of God, Number 2. I really can’t think of anything to add that could possibly be funnier than the name itself…except for perhaps number 3.

Boring Seventh Day Adventist Church is another one of those “truth in advertising” names, but this church goes the extra mile because the name of their pastor is Elder Dull. Perhaps there are more exciting ways to spend your Saturday?

Harmony Baptist Church in East Texas is a name that doesn’t sound so bad. The funny thing is that it is only a half-mile away from Harmony Baptist Church #2. I guess they are not so harmonious after all.

Battle Ground Baptist Church…aren’t they all?

Waterproof Baptist Church in Louisiana begs the question: does the baptism count if you’re water repellant?

Country Club Christian Church is in Kansas City, but you’re actually likely to find some of these in every city. This may be the fastest growing model of church in America.

James Bond United Community Church in Toronto, is of course “shaken, not stirred.”

St. Martini Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, WI, is also shaken, and not stirred and comes with an olive or a twist of lemon if you prefer. Of course the Lutherans can actually drink a Martini so I guess it isn’t such a stretch to name your church after one, or is it.

When Paul spoke of being all things to all people I doubt that he had this in mind: First United Separated Baptist Church. This church in Indiana needs to decide which it is, united or separated?

Hell For Certain is a church in Kentucky but for some reason they do not have too many visitors, no one wants to go there. Does their advertisement in the yellow pages read: Go to Hell For Certain, Sunday at 10 AM?

There is also Hell Seventh Day Adventist Church, which is in Hell, MI. You could say: people are dying to go there!

Lover’s Lane Episcopal Church is a very open church, but watch out if someone wants to show you the submarine races in the baptismal pool…their Episcopal, they sprinkle.

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4 Comments

  1. “Boring Seventh Day Adventist Church” – Hey, Sam, you’re getting close to some sensitive areas here. When Cathy and I went on our honeymoon, Dad was the “Boring Pastor” of Orient Drive Baptist Church, Boring, Oregon. We always told him that he didn’t have to go to all the trouble of moving there because we had known it all our lives!

  2. Funny stuff Sam, thanks for a break in the day.

  3. How untrue this is. The name change was NEVER discussed among the membership, only the elders. When asked for input after the elder body had already decided to re-name the church, the majority of members did not like the name change idea. The membership actually found out about the name “hope” after the sign had already been erected. To say that the membership was in agreement is just a lie. It is very disingenous of you to use this as an analogy to talk about church names. At least speak the truth, sam. To this day cannot understand why we had to change the name – because Evangelical denotes that that’s what we were suppose to be?

    • Good evening. Thanks for reading my blog, and for responding.

      You obviously care very much for the church and feel deeply about the change of the name. I respect and appreciate that.

      To be accurate, I did not write that the membership was in agreement. To have done so would, indeed, have been untrue and disingenuous. I don’t think I even implied that. Nor did I write that the decision was without disagreement. What I wrote was the following:

      “Several years ago, the church I serve changed its name from First Evangelical Church to Hope Church. It was a decision 10 years in the making, with much input from the congregation and much prayer.”

      I was not here when the idea of changing the name was first introduced to the church. I was told by Kevin – the only remaining staff member – and the elders who were serving when I became pastor (Danny Sheffield, Steve Tybor, Jim Spencer, Rick White, Jeff Fikes and one other) that the name change had been discussed by the elders for about 10 years, and the congregation was both informed during the process, and invited to submit possible names. I was also informed that a committee was appointed, consisting of both elders and non-elders, and charged with the task of recommending a new name. In other words, my impression was that the name had been discussed among the congregation. If there was not input from the congregation, this is the first I’ve heard of it.

      When I came to the church, several names had recently been submitted to the elders – and there was not agreement on any one name.

      As a candidate for the pastorate, I was asked by Danny S. how I felt about coming to a church that was considering a name change. I remarked that it showed real courage, since a name change is a very significant event. I inquired about reasons for the name change, and was given a bulletin that had been presented to the church at a previous time (not sure when). It listed a number of reasons. I was also assured that this was not a snap decision and that the congregation had been kept informed – especially over the last few years.

      In my first few months as pastor, I was in several meetings – with both elders and non-elders – in which prayer was directed to the Lord for wisdom regarding the new name. That a church leadership team would pray – repeatedly and fervently – about a name change impressed me. The fact that the church members were recommending possible names also impressed me.

      You can read the blog I wrote on June 16, 2007. It lists some of the reasons behind the name change.

      In retrospect, I think it might have been better to share the name, Hope Church, with the congregation before unveiling the sign. My only “excuse” is that I was 6 months into working with the elder system, and was still learning how it worked.

      To be honest, I like the name we had – and I like the name we now have. Obviously, I do not have the time and service invested in the name First Evan, as you do. I respect that and I respect your frustration over the name change.

      Before I received your note, I had only heard two others speak with regret about the name change – and one of them said they liked the new name. That is sad, if the majority of the congregation was against it.

      I am very aware that the elders, including myself, need to do a* better job*communicating (both receiving input from and giving input to the congregation.) We really do want to hear from the congregation – and at times, we hear a great deal.

      This is a long response to your email. I apologize for the length, but felt it necessary, given the force and implication of your note.

      Again, thanks for writing directly to me. May our Lord richly bless you!

      Sam


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