>"A Church By Any Other Name" — Church Names

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I pastor Girdwood Chapel.  Now, technically, we could be called “Girdwood Chapel United Methodist Church.”  However, when I got here in 2000 and needed to come up with letterhead and business cards, it was clear that most people in the community called us “Girdwood Chapel.”  After all, only about one half of the people that show up on a Sunday morning seem to be Methodists.  The rest are…well…something else.  And so, “Girdwood Chapel” it was.  That’s what’s on our logo.  That’s what I refer to it as.  It seemed a natural name.

This got me to thinking about the names of churches…really cool names that are out there.  I don’t mean to put any of them down.  A lot of these churches are really reaching out to new people.  They are going on mission trips.  They are changing communities.  They are immersing people in the Word of God.  All good stuff.  But it seems like we’ve moved away from names like “First United Methodist Church” that I attended in high school.   The move from denominational affiliation can be a good thing.  However, it can also be that we’re being disingenuous in how we present ourselves to the world.  What does it say that, in our post-modern world, the names of many of our churches have changed?

The following is a list from Ur Scaramanga’s blog.  He got it from Dennis Baker and then added his own comments in parentheses.   I’m familiar with some of the ministries listed and respect them.  But the list made me think about all the reasons why “Girdwood Chapel” is our name in our community.

Have you noticed that church names are getting increasingly strange? Our friend Dennis Baker has. He’s been keeping a list of church names in order to document how far we’ve come from the days of “First Presbyterian” and “Springfield Baptist.” He sent us the following list of 129 church names. I’ve added my reactions in parentheses.

1. Resonate
2. Revolution (Where only senior pastors get beheaded.)
3. Radiance (Where the female vocalists all glitter like Mariah Carey.)
4. Elevation (U2 songs every bloody Sunday.)
5. Restoration
6. Renovation (You can do it! God can help.)
7. Mosaic
8. enCompass (Wii th-|-nk [outside] the box. We R crAtiVe.)
9. Epiphany Station (Next stop, Conjunction Junction!)
10. Soma (Our pastor knows Greek.)
11. Sanctuary
12. Rock Harbor (If your life hasn’t run aground yet, we can help.)
13. Journey (“Don’t Stop Believing” is our theme song.)
14. The Rock (If film producer Michael Bay ever created a church…the pyrotechnics are amazing.)
15. The River (The pastor ends every sentence with “… in a van down by the river.”)
16. The Flood (Natural disasters always provoke worship.)
17. The Bridge (William “the Fridge” Perry’s post-ordination nickname.)
18. Bridges
19. Real Life Ministries (Where reality TV stars come for healing.)
20. Mars Hill (Mars was the god of war … prepare for battle.)
21. Imago Dei (Our pastor knows Latin … well, one phrase anyway.)
22. Corem Deo (Our favorite movie is Dead Poets Society.)
23. Celebration Church (We don’t do funerals.)
24. Passion City (Not to be confused with the adult superstore on I-94.)
25. Oasis Church (Serenity Now! Serenity Now!)
26. Paradox (Modernity sucks.)
27. Renaissance Church (Are nude frescoes a distraction in worship?)
28. Origins (Home of the Young Earth Gospel. Darwin was a chump.)
29. Legacy (We’re scared to death we won’t have one.)
30. Tapestry (Our pastor really loves that “the threads don’t make sense until you turn the cloth over” illustration.)
31. Church w/ No Walls (And a never-ending building campaign.)
32. Sojourners (Wait. We didn’t know it was liberal Christian magazine too. Dang.)
33. Out Post (The parsonage is known as the “Out House.”)
34. Generation (which one? X? Y? Pepsi? I’m confused.)
35. Encounter (Sounds like a ride at Epcot. Where are the aliens?)
36. Warehouse (Where Christians are organized, packaged, and safely stored until the rapture.)
37. Warehouse 180 (If we can’t grow a church we’ll start a nightclub.)
38. Relevant (Our name is writing checks the preacher may not be able to cash.)
39. Radiant (Sounds like a line of makeup for pre-teens.)
40. Elevate (Our pastor’s pedestal is higher than yours.)
41. Illuminate (The lights are on but nobody’s home.)
42. Anthem (For God and country. Yee haw!)
43. TerraNova (Trekkies for Jesus. Live long and prosper.)
44. Crux (Ah Shux. How cute.)
45. True Spirit Ministries
46. The Well (The un-well best worship elsewhere.)
47. Jacob’s Well (Where bachelors hang out to find their future wives.)
48. Matthew’s Party (Where the tax collectors and thieves have been replaced by IRS agents and investment bankers.)
49. The Brook
50. Awakening (We do early services like nobody else.)
51. Mercy Street (Where Sesame Street characters go for rehab. Cookie Monster has checked in 7 times.)
52. Expedition (Anything with an “x” is cool.)
53. Carpenter’s Shed (Where church discipline happens the old fashioned way.)
54. Outcast Fellowship (The “Table 9” of churches.)
55. Flipside (If you don’t get the reference to vinyl records, you’re probably too young to attend.)
56. Harbor 316 (God so loved the world … that whoever believes in him might have a 30’ boat and reduced fee slip.)
57. True North (not like all those other North wannabes)
58. A Village Community (Ambiguity is the best way to avoid controversy.)
59. Refuge (Is this what we offer, or what we long for?)
60. Substance (Come for the substance, leave with the residue.)
61. Solomon’s Porch (The guy had 1,000 wives. He was a tough dog to keep on the porch.)
62. The Salvage Yard (Jesus loves white trash.)
63. The Upper Room (Where we cling to our guns and religion and hide from the authorities.)
64. Urban Refuge (AKA the suburbs.)
65. New Spring (We give away bottled tap water.)
66. New Song (Be the 10th caller if we play the same artist twice, and you’ll be entered to win a trip to Cancun.)
67. New Beginnings (Where we make new resolutions every Sunday and break them on Monday.)
68. New Life (Same baggage.)
69. The Church @ 514 (Man, that’s early.)
70. The Pursuit (Speed dating every Wednesday at 10 p.m.)
71. Crossings (We yield for pedestrians.)
72. FrontLine (No fleas or ticks for up to 3 months guaranteed.)
73. Depth (We’re so deep even the poets at the indie coffee shop can’t stand us.)
74. Haven (Some get Haven, others get Hail.)
75. Sandals (Church membership includes a timeshare in the Bahamas.)
76. Compass (Our sermons have four points.)
77. Paradox (See #26. Redundant is bad. Repetition is good. Ahh. Hmm.)
78. 2 Pillars Church (Islam has 5. Christianity is way easier. )
79. Standing Stones (No clapping, hand-raising, or swaying during worship, thank you.)
80. 12Stones Church
81. Vintage (We use real wine for communion.)
82. Vantage
83. Cross Culture (It was this or Empty Tomb Culture … )
84. Scum of The Earth (Finally some honesty in advertising.)
85. Guts Church (We’re here to pump [clap] you up!)
86. The Cause (Because our marketing consultant told us 20-somethings are activists.)
87. Healing Place
88. The Homeless Church
89. Overflow Church (For those who couldn’t find a seat at the megachurch down the street.)
90. NorthPointe (Adding an “e” tells everyone we’re sophisticated. We drink lattes.)
91. CenterPoint (We used to have a space in the middle, but we grew. Now even our name is crowded.)
92. OceanPoint
93. SouthPointe
94. WestPoint (Praise the Lord. Pass the ammunition.)
95. EastPoint
96. MidPoint Chapel
97. CrossPointe
98. GracePoint
99. LifePoint
100. FaithPoint
101. MercyPoint (Okay! Okay! I’ve got the point!)
102. The Point is to Serve (Where the whole service is announcements.)
103. BridgePoint
104. VantagePoint (Where we look down from our lofty perch.)
105. 7 San Diego (Stay classy San Diego.)
106. The Intersection (Where sermons can crash and burn.)
107. In-Between (A church for the undecided.)
108. Element 3 (Lithium. We worship Lithium.)
109. The Orchard (What we tore down to build this facility.)
110. The Fields (What we paved over to build the parking lot.)
111. Harvest
112. Life On The Vine (Even poop is organic.)
113. The Table
114. The Free Church (If something sounds too good to be true …)
115. Spread Church (Cream cheese, strawberry preserves, honey butter … communion is sweet.)
116. The Exchange (We give you religious goods and services in exchange for your tithe.)
117. The Encounter (There are two “n’s” in our name. How many in our mission statement?)
118. The Hub (Where the pastor spoke and the people never tire.)
119. Tribe
120. Enclave
121. Axis (For a generation raised to believe the world revolves around them.)
122. Praxis (We adapt whatever Willow does.)
123. Cool (All other churches drool.)
124. Synergy Church (At last, an energy source we will never deplete.)
125. Immersion (It sounds way cooler than “Baptist.”)
126. Impact
127. EpicLife Church (The space bar is for losers.)
128. Liquid (Where the meat of the Word is processed and blended into delicious and nutritious shakes for the busy Christian on the go.)
129. SoulSearch (We really thought StarSearch would be around a lot longer.)

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