For anyone who has ever had to name anything you will get what I am about to say, choosing a name is not easy.
Whether it is for your children, a pet, a business or even a church. What you name them not only sticks but also it sends a message.
My daughter is called Evangeline, not just because my wife and I liked it, but because it means something – “bearer of good news.”
We live in the town of Chesterfield, famous for the crooked spire.
As you walk around Chesterfield it isn’t long before you see Spire Estate Agents, inspire photography, spire this, spire that. It’s funny no-one has gone for crooked at the start of their name yet. Names are important.
Now when it comes to naming a church, how does that work? Where do you even start?
The first thing to say is that your name will come out of what is important to you, whether it be maintaining traditions, your theological vision and values or tied into a specific location.
I think for any church it is important to think ‘missionally’. Carl Beech and I had many a long discussion throwing out ideas for what the church could be named. We would always come back to: “What would Jeff down at the local pub think of that name?” “Is it in Christian jargon?” “What message does it convey to the everyday person?”
If you’re planting a church think about the culture of the city/town/village that you are planting into, think of the people you want to reach with the gospel. Will your name and identity get in the way of that?
So immediately many of our really cool ideas just didn’t work out.
The second thing we took into consideration was could this brand/identity be replicated elsewhere?
If we as a church are committed to planting other churches, then we needed something that could grow with us. Now each place will have distincitves, but would the name work in different cultures and locations. We had an initial idea to be King’s Grace Chesterfield; it sounds cool, and said the right things.
We encountered a problem though, today it is all about abbreviations, no-one calls a Church by it’s full title, KGC sounded awesome but what about if you plant a Church in Birmingham, Bristol or anywhere that begins with a B…. to be KGB sends all the wrong signals (think Russian military service).
The lesson, always have a big vision, we have a big God, so why not have a big vision to plant hundreds of churches, to see thousands of people transformed by meeting Jesus… so make sure your identity and name is one that can grow with you.
Thirdly, we wanted something that spoke of our vision and values, that was recognisable and easy to understand. You shouldn’t just name your church anything; it needs to convey a message to your community and beyond.
Once you have worked out what you are looking for the real fun begins, mind maps, hundreds of texts/emails, countless meetings. I even resorted to random word generators on Google that produced all sorts, “total revival Church” “anointed victory Church”. What do they even mean….
So after weeks of processing, wrestling with words and ideas, we kind of stumbled upon Redeemer King. We loved the word Redeemer, it’s strong and has a lot of history attached to it, and we loved King, and somehow throwing them together just clicked.
Redeemer is defined as: to recover possession or ownership of by payment of a price or service.
Jesus redeemed us by his death upon the cross and his victory over death, confirmed by his resurrection, meant we could become the children of God,
Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
It has further meaning; we believe that by God’s grace everything is redeemable. People who seem far from God can be rescued, whole towns can be redeemed, communities transformed as people encounter Jesus- so we want to be a people who are sold out for the redeemer, but also practically believing that everything is redeemable. We coupled it with King.
In order for transformation to take place, people need to surrender to the King who brings his good news.
Matthew 4:23, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
Jesus was a king who brought a new kingdom and a message of hope, the gospel, lives were changed, the dead raised, sick healed, those walking in death given new life through Christ. We want to be people who submit to King Jesus and pray that his Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven, to see change in our communities, towns and cities.
To sum up we are people of the Redeemer King.
So what’s in a name? A massive amount….