Thursday, February 09, 2006

The hardest part of church planting

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill fame notes, on the verge of his organization's church planting boot camp, the trials of planting a new church:

One of the toughest parts of planting a church is coming up with a good name. In hindsight, my choice was not very good since for most people it conjures up images of lots of people in matching white sneakers drinking Kool Aid. So, in an effort to help young church planters find the perfect name for their church I have composed the simple chart below.

Meanwhile, Brian @ Sycamore seems like he'd be happy if he could steal the name of Driscoll's blog, Resurgence.

I can think of a lot worse blog names, Brian. Most GodBlogs should be called Regurgitation or My Brain Is Ginormous or I Threw Grace Out With The Baptismal Water or something like that ... but so much for truth in advertising. The image of a Resurgent Sycamore is an interesting one.

Back to church names ...

This reminds me of the time my father was (re)planting his last church for the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) in 1978. We were moving away from the impoverished area of south Phoenix, so everyone felt it was vital we change the name from South Phoenix COG to something else. You should've seen some of the suggestions:

  • Holy Fire From Heaven COG (Probably wouldn't get by the building inspector)
  • Baseline Revival Center (A little too close to the Baseline Massage Center, 2 blocks down the street)
  • Blood of the Lamb COG (Yes, it's Biblical, but we didn't want to be confused with Santeria, either)
  • The Good Music Church COG (Not kidding, unfortunately)
  • Does Someone Smell Sulfur? COG

    OK, I was kidding about that last one, but that's a good summary of the kind of church name suggestions you get from 150 charismatic revivalists.

    I remember my father complaining about not finding a church name when I, all of 9-years-old, asked him why it was so hard. I said, "Just make the name to match what we're all about."

    He rolled his eyes or something, I can't remember, but there was a pregnant pause while the tiny little wheels in my head (and they're still fairly tiny) spun until smoke came out of my ears. An idea popped into my head right before a brain fire started.

    "Why don't we call it Risen Savior COG?"

    You'd think I'd just given a prophetic word that Jesus was coming later that evening, because the issue was settled there in my father's car.

    So there you go. My life's legacy. As you can see, I haven't had much to live for the last 27 years, having accomplished so much at an early age.

    Update: I just checked and some joker changed the name to Desert Valley COG. So, Brian, it looks like Risen Savior is up for grabs if you ever rename your church. Don't ever forget who sends you at least three visitors a month in blog traffic.
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