What’s in a Name?

Name TagWhen I first became pastor of a church in Springfield, Missouri, I knew there were a lot of challenges ahead of us: a new location, a new time to meet, a complete reimagining of how we do ministry, etc. One of the tasks that I was actually looking forward to, however, was changing our church’s name. I figured that it would be somewhat simple and relatively exciting.

I was wrong.

It’s a nightmare.

For the last several weeks we’ve been asking for suggestions, ideas, and prayer. We’ve had a pretty good response and quite a few solid suggestions. But we’re also facing some formidable challenges.

One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the churches around Springfield sound more like country clubs than communities on a mission: Timbercreek (our old name), James River, Scenic Drive Church (no, I’m not making that up), Ridgecrest Baptist, Glendale, Parkview, etc., etc. It’s not that these are inherently bad names; they just seem more like places you’d go to play 18 holes than commune with Christ and live life with fellow believers.

And this has been part of our challenge: to come up with a name that actually symbolizes what we feel called to do. It’s harder than you’d think.

We’ve thought of LOTS of great names. The problem is that it’s very difficult to find an internet domain name for a church that’s not already taken. Or to think of a church name that isn’t already prominently known.1

Journey Church? Taken. The Way? Gone. The Gathering Place? Don’t even think about it; that domain’s been taken for years: .com, .net, .org…you name it, it’s not there. The sad thing is that most of these sites don’t even belong to churches; they’ve been bought up by squatters who are holding them ransom and trying to get churches like us to pay an exorbitant amount of money to buy them back.

And we could always add a hyphen or the word “Springfield” to the URL, but that seems confusing and overly long (ex: www.JourneySpringfield.com).

So we’re still thinking, but we need to get this nailed down pretty soon. If you feel like you have any great ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments section.


1 We love names like Mars Hill, Mosaic, Imago Dei, etc. We’re working toward that kind of mission-minded name, but every time we think we’ve landed on one we find that it’s already being prominently used.

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