Your name is always your first opportunity to cast vision. Your name says something and means something to everyone who hears it or sees it. A wise leader understands the importance of a ministry's name and maintaining continuity with a name for people inside and outside the organization. Yet, there are some strategic seasons when a name change can be a powerful decision for the vision of the church.

#1 When the scope of a church's ministry grows beyond a name that is geographically limited. Many churches venturing into multisite engage this strategy. In this series I will share the story Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas led by Ronnie Floyd, formerly First Baptist Springdale and the Church at Pinnacle Hills.

#2 When a name is the barrier to the people that a church is trying to reach. Churches serious about reaching people far from God have taken great strides to "remove all barriers" to fulfilling the mission. A great illustration we will explore is why Origins Church, led by John Tyson in New York City became Trinity Grace Church. Another case study I will reference will explain why Sugar Creek Baptist kept “Baptist” in their name for good reason, countering the trend to remove a denominational label.

#3 When the name re-clarifies a church's identity during a relaunch, an organizational right of passage or a new strategic direction. This third reason brings many great stories, and as this series unfolds, I will share three examples from a radical change to a subtle shift in name.

#4 When a name streamlines communication by shortening or modifying to reflect common usage.  My friends at Metropolitan Church in Houston, decided to align their brand and lean into what become a useful, and sticky name as “The MET.” Churches should be careful when making a change like this and I will share some key principles of executing this kind of change.

#5 When an original name works against building awareness. Sometimes a name is just bad. A golden rule of naming is that a bad name gets worse and a good name gets better. I can’t wait to tell the story of what Life Church in Portland was called before it’s name change, as well as one of the most strategic awareness building campaigns our team has ever designed.

It was really fun writing these stories so stayed tuned for more. What's your name change story? I would love to hear it. What other reasons should I include on this list?