New Name

Names are important. What's in a name?, some may ask. Names identify who we are. They also describe who we are. My name, Brian, means "strong one." I guess I can live with that. Find out what your names means by going here.

For the last 50 years our church has gone by the name Tigard First Baptist Church. For a long time that name did a good job of describing who we are. In recent years we have taken on sort of a nickname if you will, that being The Grace Place; a better description of who we really are. With these two names it has left us in a bit of an identity crisis. While we no longer completely identified with the title Baptist, we also felt as if The Grace Place was a bit on the gimmicky side or perhaps just too cute sounding.

After quite a long and arduous process God has led us to our new identity. As of Sunday, September 16, we are now known as Grace Point Community Church. Many have asked are we distancing or disassociating ourselves from the association of churches we belong to? Or are we no longer a baptist church? The simple answer is, our name is changing but our affiliation is not. So why the change and why the name Grace Point Community Church? The why can be answered quite simply. We feel we can do a better job of reaching our community without the title baptist in our name. We have found that in recent years that that title has done a better job of repelling people than attracting them. Case in point, this last spring we had our annual high school beach retreat. One student shared with me that they had invited an a friend to join us. The girl was told by her mother that she could not attend because, "it's a baptist church, and all baptists are psycho." How tragic. I can't help but wonder if our name had been something else, if she would have joined us, and perhaps be walking with Jesus today. While we are a church community known for our love, grace and acceptance of people, many can't even get past the name to find that out.


Pastor Steve did a great job laying out the the thinking and the heart behind our new name.

• We want people to know that the point of our church is grace. (not doctrinal issues, programs, buildings etc.)

• We believe that the entry point of salvation is grace.

• We point people in grace to "live for an audience of One." (one of our core values)

• We are committed to grace and truth. This is the point of our approach. (one of our core values)

• Grace Point has a focusing effect on all we do/are.

• Unlike the name Baptist, Grace Point is consistent with who we are and is a description of what folks will find at our church.

• We seek for our church to be the central point of our community.

• Grace Point Community Church tells who we are (a church focused on the grace of God) and who we're here for (the community).

• Grace Point Community Church describes a sweet dynamic of Body Life in our church. We are a community!

One of our people shared today a sad truth ... baptist have become known for what they hate, not what they love. May that never be said of us. May the world see that we are living out the stated purpose of Grace Point Community Church, "to love God and love others to God."

We are excited to see where this new chapter in our life takes us.

Along with out new name also comes a new domain name for our web site and email. Our new site is yet to launch, but our email has now been changed. If you have previously emailed me at brianeberly(at)tigardfirstbaptist.com, please change your address to book to reflect my new address, brian(at)gracepointfamily.com.

5 comments:

Tim said...

I love it! I'd love to see something similar take place at my church. Just out of curiosity, how much of a hassle is it to change your church's name on all the legal documents and everything?

Brian Eberly said...

It really isn't too much of a hassle Tim. It is just a matter of filing papers to change your DBA (Doing Business As) name. Our legal name still remains Tigard First Baptist Church. We may or may not change that sometime down the line.

The greater work is helping your people understand and grab the vision for what you are trying to accomplish.

Heather G. said...

I'm going to miss our old name :(
The old name had a family feeling to it... but I guess community works too.

muzik said...

Beautiful Brian. It must have been very difficult for such a change to take place.

Anonymous said...

"Tigard First Baptist Church" had a family feel to it? You've got to be deluding yourself!!!

Maybe it does, but it's not a family that I'd ever feel welcome in. But Grace Point Community Church... now that sounds like somewhere that things are happening.

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