Our Church Restart: Name Change

Doxa fellowship BESTIn April of 2004 we came to Calvary Baptist Church of Woodstock, Illinois. It was a small church that had serious issues.  I told the Pastor Search Committee before the church called me here that it sounded like a dead church that needed to restart.  They called me here and it's been an uphill battle ever since. But we are finally in the place of working through the transitions we know we need.

A little more background.  Just under a year ago our church chose to start heading in a new direction: adopting a new name, constitution, and leadership structure, possibly selling our property and more.  The church then chose an Interim Leadership Team (ILT) to replace the "church council," which was the leadership group the church had for several years before I came.  The ILT has been put in place to work through the transitions above and lead the church until eldership can be adopted in our constitution and elders are installed.

The first of the changes the ILT is working through is adopting a new church name.  We chose "Doxa Fellowship" on Sunday.  Doxa is the Greek word for "glory" and is found in words like "orthodoxy" and "doxology."  "Doxa Fellowship" won't be officially/legally adopted until we adopt a new constitution and choose a restart date and do all the crap needed to make it legal, but we are going to start using it immediately.

The ILT came up with this name after working through the following criteria.  I said more about each point during our discussion, and some points overlap and fit in similar categories, but these are the points I made to explain why the leadership chose "Doxa Fellowship."

1. Identity, Calling, & Mission – We want our name to have meaning, to help identify us by our calling & mission. To mention our church is to mention our mission.

2. Unique in McHenry County – It’s best if people outside our church hear our name and have no other church in mind.

3. Not Location Focused – We are a church for McHenry County, not just Woodstock. A name describing us in Woodstock will be too narrow. A name describing us in McHenry County may make people think of the city of McHenry. So a non-location specific name will work best.

4. A Brief Identifier – For both church members and folks who live in McHenry County, it’s helpful to have a name they can say in 1 word, though our official name will be longer.

5. Web Domain Options – Most visitors first find us on the internet. A more unique church name leads to a better domain name and easier web discovery.

6. Creativity in Branding – Church branding is often based on name & mission and we want a name that gives some freedom for creatively branding our church.

7. A Name Worth Discussing – When people hear of our church we want the name to peak their interests, draw out questions about the name and/or church. A typical church name often leads to no response from people. A more unique name, based on identity, calling, & mission, opens doors for conversation.