Picking an appropriate name for a new Christian community is very challenging and time consuming — it’s kinda like naming a baby! A name sends a message and you are pretty much stuck with it. This is not something you want to screw up as it is so foundational.
We strongly desire to connect with people who are unchurched and also to those who are actively looking for a church. After doing some surveying we found out that many people are confused by the names of churches and therefore felt excluded. We wanted a single word to be the name with the word “church” after it. We feel it’s important that people know we are a church. We wanted it to be simple and memorable. After an initial list of 156 names we reduced the options to 4 favorites and then surveyed our churched and unchurched friends. Here are the results:
Message Church: This name seemed really cool to churched people, having some strong theological meaning. However, those not used to being in a church felt that it was redundant. Of course the church has a message! If we need to say it in our name it means we REALLY have a message. The unchurched felt like this was preachy.
Crimson Church: This seemed very acceptable to churched people. It reflects the centrality of the sacrifice of Jesus and his blood shed on the cross. But, to the unchurched this either felt like a TV evangelist show (something we don’t want to be associated with) or they didn’t get the meaning which left them feeling excluded. They felt like they were missing some insider information which created a barrier to them being interested.
Celebration Church: To be honest this one was my least favorite. All the churched people we asked pretty much hated it. Surprisingly however, this was the number one pick among the unchurched. They felt that a church should be a positive experience and should celebrate life. I couldn’t agree more. However, we want to serve both the churched and the unchurched and putting off Christians who are looking for a new church would be unwise and uncaring.
Destination Church: We had all round positive feedback for this name. Both groups liked it and felt that it was interesting and different without being weird. The unchurched, and even those without faith, said they would be interested in attending a church with this name because it spoke of purpose and goals. Something they are searching for.
So that’s it. The new church in Chicago is called Destination Church … let’s journey together!