What's in a (church) name?

Early in our dreaming and visioning stage we spent much more time figuring out the name of our church. It seemed so unimportant. What does it matter if your name is Redemption, Redeemer, Bethany, Calvary, Trinity or Harvest? What really matters is the doctrine, the ministry, the people!

But our vision drove us to come up with a name that communicates who we are and what we are aiming toward. "Redemption" reminds us that this world and the Bible are not about us, but it is God's story of redeeming the world from sin to return us to paradise. We enter into a small chapter of that story to join God in that work. Instead of saying "Community Church" or "Baptist Church" we chose "City Church" to emphasize people and the culture they make in the city. The new creation will be a garden city. What makes a city other than a lot of people and the culture they create together giving that city its unique identity? We want to embrace the people of the city and help shape its culture, not move to the edge of the city and invite people out of it.

What I found especially interesting during our research for a church name was the more recent (last 20-30 years) trend of naming churches after some scenic vista. It really struck me as I was driving past a golf course and remarked that it would make a great name for a mega church. And then I searched the internet for golf course names and looked at the lists of America's newest, largest churches. Sure enough, it is often difficult to discern the difference.

So I made this quiz to test it out. Can you guess which of the following names are golf courses and which are mega churches? 

Golf Course or Mega Church?

I wonder what they are trying to communicate when they chose those church names. I really don't know what those names are supposed to teach me about who they are and what they believe. If you have any insight let me know. I really would like to know.

I'm thankful that God led us to the name Redemption City Church. It sounds current. It has historical roots. It teaches something about who we are and what we believe. And I'm thankful for the people God has shaped in this community.