Why dropping denominational labels may not be important
I’ve had this conversation a couple of times recently. I’ll be curious to know if you think I’m making any sense.
There was a trend in the 90s up until today to drop denominational labels from church names. A church would become a community church or just church period. So, in our case, we would drop Baptist and become Richview Community Church or just Richview Church.
The thinking behind this is that Baptist is a bit of a turnoff. So is Presbyterian, Alliance, Anglican, or whatever.
The problem today is that people aren’t turned off by the type of church. They aren’t staying away because it’s a particular type of church. It’s more that church isn’t on their radar. As Reggie McNeal said, you can build the perfect church and they still won’t come.
In fact, the labels are increasingly meaningless. They used to carry baggage; now people just aren’t sure what they even mean.
The example I use is of a vegan passing by a fast food joint. Inside the restaurant, they’re very concerned that everyone know they’re McDonalds and not Burger King. But to the vegan walking by, McDonalds is the same as Burger King. There may be differences, but the differences don’t matter to a vegan. He’s simply not interested.
So, there are many outward focused churches that have dropped their denominational names. But it really doesn’t matter as much as we think. There are also many outward focused churches that keep their denominational names. In a post-Christian world, it matters less and less. It just might not be as important as we think.
Am I right? Thoughts?
(By the way, community church has probably become the equivalent of a denomination or flavor in some ways.)