I’ve always known that God uses apparent obstacles as a platforms for birthing something new. Yet, for some reason, I’m constantly amazed every time He does it, especially when I’m involved.
About two years ago, the leadership of a large sister-church in our area made the decision to rebrand. They had chosen a name that had a strangely similar, sound-alike quality to the name “Kinetic” but had not moved forward with rebranding. In fact, the names sounded so similar that I felt moved to oppose their new name – sighting our federal trademark and the likelihood of confusion.
Over the next two years conversations evaporated, so it appeared the conflict had resolved itself. Then I received news this spring that, our sister-church had ignored our past and recent objections, and instead moved forward with their new sound-alike name in spite of our requests.
About four weeks ago, I met with my coach, Carl George, and lamented my woeful story of hurt, anger and bitterness over the sound-alike name conflict. Carl has been studying church growth longer than I’ve been alive and has served as my consultant, friend and spiritual Yoda for the past seven months. And as difficult as it may be sometimes, he always tells me the hard and painful truth.
This became one of those moments.
So I finished my blubbering story, then Carl paused dramatically and said, “You should change the name of your church.” (I hadn’t expected this Jedi move)
“No!” I replied as I stared at a brand new Kinetic Coffee Mug and the just out Kinetic Worship CD, “We’ve invested too much in the Kinetic Church brand. We can’t just walk away.”
I sat in a daze as I heard how the name “Kinetic Church” might work with a younger, edgy, urban professional church in Charlotte. But for Cabarrus County…our name (or any name like ours) might struggle to gain traction.
In the words of Carl, “Dave, I know that Kinetic is your baby and you love your baby…but your baby is ugly and has warts.”
I left lunch with Carl numbly agreeing to present this hair-brained name-change idea to our leadership the next day. I was confident that they would see it my way.
I presented the scenario to our elders, fully expecting to be kicked in the shin for even suggesting the idea. Instead, they unanimously responded, in agreement with Carl. Searching for one last Hail-Mary chance to save my beloved name, I asked the elders to solicit their wive’s opinion. Unanimously, they also agreed.
So, after a short “cooling-off period” for prayer, the official decision was made to change our church’s name with 100% leadership consensus; I even eventually came around.
Six days latter, I told our members at a church-wide meeting about our dream to change names and the plan was met with excitement and complete unity. (That kinda support rarely happens in the church world!)
The final confirmation came through a spirited older lady who been attending our church for several weeks. We affectionately call her “Mimi.”
On the Sunday morning, following the big name change announcement to the rest of the church, I was shaking hands as people left when I saw Mimi. I could tell by her watery eyes that she was obviously moved by the service.
Without hesitation she said, “You have no idea what just happened.”
“Well, I’d love to know.” I responded.
She answered, “The first day I came to this church, I had a deep sense that ‘Kinetic’ was not the right name for this place. Ever since that day, I have been conflicted by the name. Yesterday, for some reason, I felt burdened and begin praying for this church and the name again. I couldn’t get it out of my mind.”
She continued, “Then, this morning, when I was about a mile away from the church I prayed , ‘God, I don’t know if I can keep coming to this church with that name. Somehow, You’re going to need to do something soon. I just can’t get past that name.‘ Then today…God answered my prayer when you announced the plan for a new name.”
I stood speechless as I became aware that God had been moving; that God had used an apparent obstacle as a platform for birthing something new in our church: a new name.
You may be wondering what our new name is…and so are we. Honestly, we don’t know, but we’re on the journey to discover the name God has chosen for us. If you’d like more details on how we plan to move forward, read my post entitled “How to Rename a Church.”
Finally, rebranding is expensive. We have taken an enormous step of faith to answer a call to rebrand over the summer. We know that God will provide, but are unsure how. Please pray for our church and her leadership.