In act 2, scene 2, of Romeo & Juliet, Juliet laments over the fact that she is forbidden to fall in love with Romeo because he is a Montegue. She says, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet complains that Romeo’s name is meaningless in the same way that if the rose had any other name it would still be the same. So with Romeo; he would still be the same beautiful young man even if he had a different name. What someone or something is called or labeled is arbitrary compared to his or its intrinsic qualities.
On the other hand, a name has great significance. In Scripture we see that one’s name is an essential part of his identity. When God named people, it was always attached to their purpose. All of the patriarchs had significant names that reflected God’s favor and purpose. Jesus gave his disciples new names. When Saul was saved, Jesus gave him a new name as well. A new name is an expression of our redemption.
When I came to First EV Free Church, I was impressed at the work that had been done here to prepare the church and set it up for success. I was shocked at the very first interaction I had with the leadership during our first visit to Las Cruces when someone mentioned that the church is looking forward to changing its name. A name change is no small deal! It is exciting!
We have received several wonderful ideas for potential names for our church. In a certain sense, we have to understand we don’t just pick a name for ourselves. A new name is something that I believe God is preparing for us. God has a unique purpose for our congregation that is essential to the work he wants to accomplish through us in this time in history. I believe he has a name already picked out for us that he will reveal to us in due time.
The irony is that his revelation will come through the hard work of prayer and intentionally seeking God as he reveals to us the core values of our church and helps show us our identity. All of these will align together in harmony.
Some of the desires that I am praying toward for our name and identity as a congregation is that we would be called by a name that is meaningful to our core calling and identity as believers; that our name would be a expression that challenges and inspires us toward faithfulness; that our name would be compelling to outsiders and generate curiosity to seek Christ with us; that we wouldn’t settle for what might seem to be the most obvious in a name.
We have a unique opportunity to rebrand and refocus the identity of our congregation to reach the next spiritual generation. People of all ages. Friends, family, coworkers. People of the highways and byways, the outsiders Jesus talked about in Luke 14. The dead-churched, de-churched, unchurched, unreached and uninspired. So many possibilities. So many opportunities. Will you pray earnestly with me and the leadership team for the name God has for us?