This story continues a series started from the 5 Strategic Reasons to Change Your Church's Name.

The first reason to change your name is when the scope of a church's ministry grows beyond a name that is geographically limited.

This reason has occurred for many churches venturing into a multisite strategy. For example, as First Baptist Church of Springdale prepares to launch its third campus, they recently navigated a change to become Cross Church.

At the dawn of the multisite era, First Baptist Church of Springdale made a bold move to launch a second campus called The Church at Pinnacle Hills. It was a prime location along a north-bound growth corridor from its original campus in Northwest Arkansas. With tremendous success and the opening of a beautiful Pinnacle Hills campus in 2005, the church looked ahead toward a third campus launch. Prior to their campus opening, the churched hired our team to guide a vision clarity process and brand development work that included primary research for name options and rationale for geographic strategy for new campuses.

Research Provided Critical Insight for Decision-Making

The primary research also provided priority geographic targets based on variable criteria. Most multisite churches emphasis only the existing geography of the membership base. But First Baptist Springdale was able to look at other specific factors like:

  • Where small pockets of the community are growing the most
  • Where the highest percentage of younger adults are living and moving
  • Where the highest unchurched population lives

In the end, they chose to launch their third campus in Fayetteville, which is the most unchurched city in their region of Northwest Arkansas.

And they recently rolled out their new name: Cross Church.

Cross Church needed to simplify in order to multiply. @willmancini

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This naming strategy is a great example of strengthening identity and removing the limitations of their geographic based names. For now, the church’s logo design can exist with one simple and strong name (two syllables) with a secondary emphasis on all three locations. In addition, the church is able to emphasize the centrality of the cross and the Gospel, rather than denominational affiliation. (The church strongly affirms it's connection with the Southern Baptist denomination.)

Here is the church's 4 point explanation of the change:

Why are we moving to a centralized identity? To strengthen our identity in four key ways: Greater CLARITY in our communication, our cause, and our convictions. Greater UNITY in our fellowship. Greater VISION about who we are and where we want to go. Greater SYNERGY which leads to greater effectiveness, partnerships, and results.

The timing of the name change was also strategic as the senior pastor, Ronnie Floyd, conducted the survey several years in advance. Why did he wait? In the early excitement to launch a new campus it's sometimes hard to appreciate the “identity frustration” that grows from the complexity and inefficiency of two locations with two totally different names.

Names like “First Baptist Springdale” and “The Church at Pinnacle Hills” are so different, that the names themselves may tend to promote a cultural disconnect. At the very least, it requires extra work from the communication team with every element of execution, from web to business cards. When the escalating complexity of communication co-mingled with the anticipation of a third campus, the name change became a no-brainer. The church had to simplify in order to multiply.

[This article was originally posted on October 26, 2010.]