Friday, July 23, 2010

What's in a church name?

You've seen them, you may attend one on Sunday mornings. The latest trend is to have a really cool name for your church. After being in and around different types of ministries over the last 15 years it gets more noticeable the way we follow trends. Even the trends of not following trends. This has even affected the way we name our gathering places or the name of the group of people congregating in the name of Jesus. I think maybe these groovy names for churches came about as a reaction to to the folks outside the church walls who had become indifferent to names like 1st Baptist, or ST John's or Antioch Methodist. Maybe the new church name movement came about as a way of assigning identity to that particular group of people. It may have been as well a breaking away of religious typology. Whatever the reason now the hottest thing going that I have noticed is to name your church with one word. Not two, just one word. Something that is catchy on a bumper sticker and you have to have Macbook generated graphics as well. The names usually have to do with looking or lifting up, or where we are going or it may be some cool Latin word that you have to look up to find out what it means.

Tammy and I were driving through a small town here in NC and we spotted another one today. I got to thinking about what I would name my church. I told Tammy that Fire Hydrant church might be good with the obvious hell quenching motif, but then realized that wouldn't work because it is two words. She agreed.

So I got brainstorming so here is my list for my fictional hipster groovy community fellowship.

  1. ichurch- But we all know there is no I in church and I'd hate to get sued by Steve Jobs
  2. Tree Church- Sounds kind of cool and if it was a Walnut tree would account for all the nuts I'd probably attract
  3. Up Church- But that sounds too much like Up-Chuck and would not be good for obvious reasons
  4. Shrute Church- This would be a place that all lovers of The Office could come and worship and then tend the community beet farm, plus it would be a really cool bumper sticker
  5. Gomorrah Church- Hmmmmm? Nope, attendance would be a problem
  6. Reaction Church- Obviously we'd have political sermons every week and there would be all kinds of classes on how to make placards for all the protests that we'd go to.
  7. Oatmeal Church- No brown sugar, no butter....just oatmeal
  8. Crossfit Church- Now we are getting somewhere....the workouts would crush the devil out of people
  9. Airborne Church- This would be held in the back of a c-130 every week, we'd pray and then jump....the leap of faith illustrations would be awesome!
  10. Mossy Oak Church- I know its two words, but having everyone wearing mossy oak camo each week would be very cool. 
I guess my favorite name for church would be the one that Jesus said, he said it was His church. We belong to Him; all of us in these fragmented bodies, some that are mega and some that are minuscule. Whether we come together We are His. In spite of all of our deficiencies, Jesus has seen fit to include people in His Kingdom and meeting together and expressing love for and enjoying fellowship with each other is a good thing. Church means ones who are called out, out of darkness into light, out of slavery into freedom, and out of death into life. No matter what you call it that is a good thing.

Till next time

Thursday, July 01, 2010



I cannot overestimate the value of getting away. Jack and I just returned from a great trip to Alaska with my brother Steve and my dad. We spent 8 days exploring the Kenai penninsula, angling for trout and salmon, panning for gold, hiking on snow covered trails, wondering at glaciers and just plain having fun. I just got through reading a book that my friend Pete gave me called, "The mission, the men and me". Its by a fomer Delta Force commnder. I was expecting a war story book, but its so much more than that. Its a valuable book on leadership. One of the points that the auther, Pete Blaber, makes is that all good leadership and problem solving requires those "eureka" moments of discovery. But those moments are impossible without a process of discovery. The process he calls the saturate, incubate and illuminate cycle. You have to be able to saturate yourself with context and information about your mission, you've got to allow time to incubate or think about what the issue is and only through the first two steps do you reach the illuminate or the "eureka!" stage. This is remarkably similar to our walk with Jesus, time spent just being is so importnat yet so much of the church is characterized by busyness, with lots of activity but so little "Eureka!" momnets. Sometimes it takes an investment of time and money on a trip to a far out place like Alaska, to sit by a river, to have no agenda, to cut the chords of the electronic world...all with the goal of the "eureka!" moment that provides context for the rest of life.

And personally this was a reconnecting trip. This was the first time that my dad, my brother and I had done anything like this since I was a kid. It was a special time getting three generations together. My son, Jack landed his first salmon which put a permanent grin on his face.

One thing a trip to Alaska does for me, it makes me want to go back, the beauty, the wildness, the tranquility definitely stirs the soul and makes you long for more.

I suspect there is a part of heaven that will look alot like Alaska, more glorious than what we have here, but it sure is a good preview.

Oh...what was my "eureka" moment, well its hard to say, but I think that I realized what I knew all along is that I have a great dad, brother and son and that is a blessing.

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...