“The Fastidious Temple of the Illuminated Irrational Saints”— Or, On Naming a New Church

Naming a new church requires creativity, foresight, imagination, collaboration, and prayer.

In other words, it takes a lot of work.

After a lot of deliberation I think I’ve landed on the name of a new church I hope to plant in Minneapolis next year. I can’t disclose the name yet, until it’s a bit more official. But it’s the clear frontrunner—so much so that I’ve reserved the domain name for .org and .com.

Meanwhile, here are five random, yet not infallible or exhaustive, thoughts on naming a new church:

  1. Beware of the trendy: Aim for a name with a potential for a long shelf life. Today, “city” is the new “community.” Avoid uber-hip Latin words, or church names which are ambiguous, especially names that don’t include the word “church.” Are you a church? Let people know it, otherwise you risk inadvertently duping someone: “What?!? I thought you were a local coffee shop!” What’s trendy today will likely be stale in 3-5 years. That said, go with a memorable name that’s easy on both the ears and eyes.
  2. Not one size fits all: Know your community where you intend to plant. Certain church names in one community might not translate well in a neighboring community, even though both communities are in the same city. Church names aren’t universal or one size fits all.
  3. Collaborate: Seek as much varied collaboration as possible, not only Christians but people who aren’t Christians. Ask a lot of creative people–but not too creative. Sometimes supposed boring, staid people have better ideas. And don’t go rogue. Vet the name to ensure you’re on the right track.
  4. Practical matters: After all of your labors, you’d hate to discover that the web domain you envisioned is already taken. Bookmark  www.checkdomain.com and explore your options. Then lock in the name(s) with a website that sells domains.
  5. Go with your gut: In the end, it has to be a name that sits well with you (and with “you” I’m referring to the lead church planter). If everyone else is crazy about a name yet you aren’t, don’t go with it. You’ll likely regret it.
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