Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Naming Your Church, Part 5

Why is a name such a big deal?

A Name identifies a person, place or thing.

The obvious advantage of a name is to designate any person, place or thing that we are communicating about or with. This makes communication possible and grants meaning to our lives. When you are in a crowded room full of people all seemingly talking at the same time and suddenly someone across the room mentions your own name it gets your attention. It is your personal designation, so when someone uses it in conversation they are talking about you, and of course this is of interest to you.

A Name gives identity to a person, place or thing.

Beyond simply being useful in communication, a name does even more for us. It not only identifies us, but it becomes our identity. It becomes almost impossible to separate a person from their name in our minds. We put all our memories and feelings about a person in a file in our minds under a label with this person’s name on it. It becomes virtually impossible to separate the person from their name. A name becomes virtually synonymous with the person, place or thing.

Many couples have pet names for one another. This is actually a form of great intimacy. When you are identified in a special manner by only one other person on the planet it makes your relationship unique and intimate. It is just wrong when any other would use the pet name. In this manner, Jesus will have a special name for us that only He knows (Revelation 2:17). Can you imagine hearing him call you by your new name and it will be the first time you’ve heard it; and you will know that it is you and only you that Jesus has in mind? Wow, that is a special thing. It is a powerful and intimate thing that is special to you and Jesus and no one else. How disappointing it would be if that name was simply a random series of numbers. That would take all the power, joy and intimacy from it, but such is not the case. Just think, even now at this very moment, in Jesus’ mind is a special name chosen just for you and no one else is to have it or even hear it…just you! When he calls out that name you and only you will be the one he wants to communicate with.

A Name carries a reputation.

Because of the previous idea, a name carries with it a reputation. When people hear your name do they think of good things, bad things or are they indifferent? A single movie star’s name at the front of the credits can mean instant millions of revenue for an entire industry.

A brand name can mean success or failure for any product. Some brand names are so well accepted that they become synonymous for the entire industry. A person may ask for Kleenex when what they really want is a tissue. When the boss sends you out to Xerox something she is actually sending you out for photocopying. When you ride a Jet Ski you are actually on a specific brand of personal watercraft made only by Kawasaki. In these cases, the name of a specific brand has become as big as the entire industry.

I believe it is this third reason that Jesus’ name is so important in our lives. Actually, the word denomination carries with it the idea of a name. When we choose a name for ourselves and that name gains a reputation we become identified by that name. Could it be that it is really just a name that separates us all? Baptist, Brethren, Methodist, Presbyterian, Foursquare, Assemblies of God, Christian Church, Adventist, Mennonite, Friends, Vineyard, Reformed Church of America, Christian Reformed Church, and so on, could it be that we are all just different names for the same thing?

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