The change has been slow, but determined. When I first became a Christian, I had a hard time figuring out where I should attend church. I had been brought up in a church that held a very significant prominence throughout our country. Naturally, I thought that I should go back to that church to grow in the grace of Christ. I was certain that it was probably my problem in not listening that made a difference. I attended for a while and decided to “move on” because I did not feel comfortable with what I was hearing.
I started attending another church with a strong evangelical outlook. I found that the Bible teaching was a high priority among those brethren, and the fellowship was more in keeping with what I felt I needed. Suddenly it dawned on me that the name of that church signified what it stood for. It was called The Evangelical Church and did not tie itself to any other group, but it did have fellowship with those of like faith!
After pastoring churches for these many years, I note that many of the churches have changed their name. Some are selecting new names that they feel is more descriptive of their ministry. Others have changed their name because they no longer adhere to the same doctrine that once identified their theological convictions, and that can be because of doctrinal differences, or changed emphasis on their methods of worship.
The name changing can indicate a new style of service, it can mean a much broader requirement for membership, it might even present the idea that you can believe what you want and still feel comfortable. We are all still in the same boat! Confusion abounds!
The name… “Christian Church” has lost its impact in our society and it requires our floundering attitudes to experience such association. We have been allowed of God to pastor bigger and smaller assemblies without having to change the name, the by-laws or doctrinal statements. I have said it before, and I repeat at this time: “In 30 years we will have churches on every corner, like Walgreens, and a significant number will be pastored by self appointed preachers.”
The early church had problems! Reading the New Testament you see how every effort was made by the Apostles primarily, and others, to correct those matters and establish procedures for the ongoing assemblies. If we stick with Scripture, and the churches function in accordance with those Scriptures, the Church will rise from its stagnation and the name will have little importance. Lone wolves and narrow minds about church growth may catch a fish here and there, but Christians aflame for Christ and living the Word of God is a God ordained strategy. (Acts 11:26) If you attend a church like that, it will rub off on others and growth will be evident and natural… spiritually and numerically.