Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Naming Your Church, Part 1

“What’s in a name? A rose is a rose by any other name.”
—William Shakespeare

My friend and mentor, Bob Logan has an unusual collection. He collects church names he has come across in his travels over the years. Here are some actual names of churches he has encountered in his journey (with some commentary from yours truly):

  • Accident Baptist Church is obviously not Calvinist.
  • First Church of the Last Chance World on Fire Revival and Military Academy (in Dade City FL). These folks have the first and last word on just about any subject. I don’t even want to ask what sort of military they are training.
  • Greater Second Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN, stands in contrast, I guess, to the not so great second Baptist church around the corner?
  • For those who do not want to commit all the way, you can go to the Halfway Baptist Church. On the other hand, Hell Hole Swamp Baptist Church in South Carolina is not a seeker sensitive church by any stretch of the imagination. You have to be really committed to attend this church; none of those “Halfway Baptists” will be found here. Of course everyone is welcome at Faith Free Lutheran. Like “sugar free” this is a church that contains no calories, convictions…or miracles.
  • Little Hope Baptist Church sounds a tad better than another church called No Hope United Methodist Church. Kind of makes you sad just saying it.
  • My personal favorite church name: Original Church of God, Number 2. I really can’t think of anything to add that could possibly be funnier than the name itself…except for perhaps number 3.
  • Boring Seventh Day Adventist Church is another one of those “truth in advertising” names, but this church goes the extra mile because the name of their pastor is Elder Dull. Perhaps there are more exciting ways to spend your Saturday?
  • Harmony Baptist Church in East Texas is a name that doesn’t sound so bad. The funny thing is that it is only a half-mile away from Harmony Baptist Church #2. I guess they are not so harmonious after all.
  • Battle Ground Baptist Church…aren’t they all?
  • Waterproof Baptist Church in Louisiana begs the question: does the baptism count if you’re water repellant?
  • Country Club Christian Church is in Kansas City, but you’re actually likely to find some of these in every city. This may be the fastest growing model of church in America.
  • James Bond United Community Church in Toronto, is of course “shaken, not stirred.” St. Martini Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, WI, is also shaken, and not stirred and comes with an olive or a twist of lemon if you prefer. Of course the Lutherans can actually drink a Martini so I guess it isn’t such a stretch to name your church after one, or is it.
  • When Paul spoke of being all things to all people I doubt that he had this in mind: First United Separated Baptist Church. This church in Indiana needs to decide which it is, united or separated?
  • Hell For Certain is a church in Kentucky but for some reason they do not have too many visitors, no one wants to go there. Does their advertisement in the yellow pages read: Go to Hell For Certain, Sunday at 10 AM? There is also Hell Seventh Day Adventist Church, which is in Hell, MI. You could say: people are dying to go there!
  • Lover's Lane Episcopal Church is a very open church, but watch out if someone wants to show you the submarine races in the baptismal pool…their Episcopal, they sprinkle.

Truth in advertising aside, one has to wonder what people were thinking when they decided upon names like these. We do not often think about names unless we hear of one that is strange or comical. I can’t tell you how many times someone has introduced him/herself to me and the name simply went in one ear and flew right out the other leaving me embarrassed to have to ask a second time what their name is. To my shame there have even been times I have had to ask a third time. If only there was something between the two ears to catch the names as they passed through. For the net few blog posts I will take a look at the idea of giving a name to our churches.


Mark Winstead said...

Little country church near Day, Florida -- Corinth Baptist Church. Like you really want to be named after the Corinthians?

Anonymous said...

I went to college in Elizabeth City, NC. There was a Corinth Baptist there, too. I got my start preaching at a little country church in the swamps of eastern NC called Holly Neck Church of Christ. Not so funny... until you know that we'd occasionally get mail addressed to the Holy Heck Church of Christ. And yep, there were Sundays I left asking myself, "Holy Heck, what have I gotten myself into?"

Stan53 said...

Thanks Neil, I needed a good laugh.

tbedo04 said...

Hey, my parents were married at Country Club Christian Church, which is, without a doubt, located where many of the wealtiest people in the Kansas City area live, the Country Club Plaza area.

Chad McCallum said...

church in Milwaukee...inner city..."Church of the Open Door"...the pastor shared that they keep the door locked (even on weekends) due to crime...I suggested a name change!

Cresanna said...

In Forsyth, GA, you can visit the Laodicea Baptist Church. And I recently saw a van advertising this very inclusive gathering: Saint Paul's Full Gospel Baptist Church

Casey Sabella said...

Spoke with a church planter who named his new group Hole in the Roof Christian Church but complained no one came to church. I suggested that they might not get the biblical reference to Jesus's healing of a paralytic man and instead be worried about getting wet from rain. The planter became indignant and told me God had given him the name and that was that. Indeed.

Anonymous said...

I saw a sign for The Red Dam Baptist church in South Carolina.

Eric Partin said...

I saw a bus broke down on the side of the Florida Turnpike with the hood open. The name on the bus was The Holiness Pentecostal Church of Healing and Deliverance. I wondered why they just didn't lay hands of that bus and heal it or deliver it. Not good advertising on the side of the freeway like that.

Brett Barner said...

Wow, these are hilarious! And I thought my church name was bad (Quackenbush Hill Baptist Church). That makes me happy because nothing makes a Christian feel better when he finds something (or someone) who is worse than they are. (just kidding, but kind of not really) :P

Anonymous said...

Hades Church of the Brethren, near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

TJ said...

By they way, I found this post very amusing!!

TJ said...

@ Cresanna: The Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship is a denomination of churches (mostly African-American congregations) who embrace the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (tongues, etc.) but maintain the Baptist model of leadership and church autonomy.


C.J. Adkins said...

There is an area of Lincoln County, West Virginia called "Big Ugly". There, exists my all time favorite church name - the "Big Ugly Free Will Baptist Church". A visiting evangelist once famously replied on the first night of a revival how thrilled he was to be with "you Big Ugly people" for the coming week.

Unknown said...

So we used to love going to Committed Calvary Chapel in SO. CAL. but I don't think we meant to say that the other Calvary's weren't, only that we were! :–)

Anonymous said...

God's Filling Station is just down the street from me here in Asheville, NC.