We've been attending Lake Murray Evangelical Free Church since June of 1993 -- yep, that's over fourteen years. We've had only two senior pastors during that time, but the shift between the first and the second was rather traumatic. However, this week marks probably the second-biggest change in our church since we started attending: we voted on a new name for the church.
The idea of renaming the church started soon after we changed pastors. When Steve was moved from Interim to Senior Pastor a few years ago, one of the items at the top of his list was to change the name of the church. He and the secretary were getting questions about the "Evangelical Free" portion of the name, obviously from people who weren't familiar with the Evangelical Free denomination. Steve made the point that a few people had asked if the church was free of evangelicals, like Pepsi-Free, caffeine-free, and sugar-free advertising. Steve and the elders thought that confusion regarding the name could be keeping some people from trying out our church. So a committee was put together to research different church names and to come up with a short list of names which ended up toward the more modern side; I remember "Crosswalk" being one of the choices. There was enough opposition to halt the change and the idea was shelved for a couple of years while the church healed from the pastoral transition.
Recently, the elders discussed the topic again and on Sunday the congregation voted on a two-part ballot. The first part was whether we agreed to change the name of the church; the second gave us a list of three names to choose from: Lake Murray Christian Church, Lake Murray Bible Church, and Lake Murray Community Church. The first part passed 83-8-1, so the name change itself was agreed upon by the VAST majority of the church. Lake Murray Community Church passed by a wide margin (41 votes, versus 21 for "Christian" and 16 for "Bible." We'll still be listed under Evangelical Free churches in the Yellow Pages and San Diego Church directories, and we'll remain within our denomination, but the new name reflects our interest in making a difference in our community.
In fact, as the elders were researching the different church names, someone discovered an old photograph taken in the late 1950s (when the church was built) with the name "Lake Murray Community Church, Evangelical Free" on a sign. So, really, we're just returning to our original name when the church was first built on the present property on Lake Murray Boulevard. The large street sign will reflect the name change as it needs a bit of a face-lift anyway, and we'll also get a new web address, with the old one still up and redirecting people for the next year or so.
I'm pleased with the change; the main thing that concerned me was keeping the "Lake Murray" name intact as the church foes have a history and a reputation within the community of San Diego, and I wanted to keep our main name consistent.
So "Lake Murray Community Church" we are!