Community Churches

Community Churches and Generic Names

by David Sain

Some churches of Christ are changing their names from names like FIRST STREET CHURCH OF CHRIST to generic names, such as THE COMMUNITY CHURCH or THE FAMILY OF GOD. Proponents of such a change, with whom I have discussed the matter, say that the traditional name, CHURCH OF CHRIST, has “too much baggage” attached to it, and that “it has a negative effect when people see that name on a sign in front of the church building.” It is argued that a generic name will not “turn people off” and will be more ef­fective in reaching people.

I find this to be so ironic because of something that took place recently in Flor­ence. After worship one Sunday morning, I met a young couple who was visiting us for the first time. Sean and Candice had just moved here from Oregon, after he accepted a position with Big River Broadcasting Com­pany. He was Catholic and she was a Mor­mon.

Rarely have I studied with anyone so hun­gry to know the Truth as they were, so I was not surprised when they were baptized for the remission of sins and became Christians three weeks later.

Now, here is the ironical part. Sean told me that, before they came to worship that first Sunday, they were walking in downtown Florence and saw our sign which reads, WOOD AVENUE CHURCH OF CHRIST. They did not know anything about us – had never even seen “a church of Christ building.” But, Sean said they decided to come to Wood Avenue because they wanted to be a part of a church that unashamedly identifies them­selves as a church that belongs to Christ!

How ironic. That which initially attracted Sean and Candice is the very thing that some want to change!

My SOURCE: The Pilot Oak Flier