When traveling along Highway 40 to see my folks for Thanksgiving (over the mountains and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go), we saw a church called something like “Unified Penticostal Fellowship of Holiness.” That church seems to be working too hard to specifically define itself, isn’t it? We also had fun going through a section of Oklahoma where they called the river going through it the North Canadian River. I checked a map later and found that it doesn’t even originate in Canada! My guess is that someone directionally challenged named it :-). Our old church changed it's name from Vineyard Community Church to Trinity Community Church while we attended because it broke off from the fellowhip of Vineyard Churches.
We gave careful thought to each of our children’s names. With our first born, we started looking at the brothers of Joseph for a boy’s name. We wanted to skip Judah because it is more common, but the problem was that most of the other brothers had horrible blessings or horrible names. Friends and relatives alike were relieved that we had a girl because they all like her name, which means “Oath of God”. Jesus changed people’s names a lot. Simon became Peter (The Rock), Saul became Paul, and he promised to those who persevere in Revelation 2:17 that he will give them a new name written on a white stone. I think God wants to show in a very tangible way that He never leaves us the same when we invite Him into our lives. I like that and I can't wait to see what my new name will be.
A few months ago, our church, to which we recently became committed as members, announced that it was merging with another church in the area. It is a merger and not a corporate takeover because both churches changed their names. Our church which was known as “East Valley Bible Church” and their church, formerly known as “Praxis” became “Redemption Church” on January 1st. During the announcement, the leaders basically admitted that, other than God’s leading, there seems to be no earthly reason for these two rather large churches to combine into a mega church. Since we decided that we trusted the leadership enough to become members, I have to trust that they know what God's will for our church is. Besides, I really like the name. East Valley Bible Church is pretty long and usually referred to as evbc. However, “Redemption Church” will help me remember the purpose of Jesus Christ coming to the earth, dying on the cross and being resurrected. It is like a name and a mission statement all in one. I really like it even if I will have to work at remembering a new church name!