Our church relaunched on January 8th, 2012. Leading up to this relaunch, we voted to change our church government from congregational to elder led, we moved our church structure to include a formal membership process that included the signing of a covenant, and we changed our name. This vote was in October of last year and was unanimously voted into place.
What I want to do today is clarify why we changed our name because some of our members have been asked by other people why our church changed our name from Grace Baptist Church to Redemption Church. We have explained this several times from the pulpit, but I think it will benefit everyone much more to put it in writing.
Let me just say a word or two before I get into the exact reasons why we changed our name. The name change was not my original idea. In fact, before I got here in 2006, they were already talking about the possibility of changing the name of the church. If you have been around our church over the last few years, you know that we have NOT changed the message of the Gospel that God has given us, but almost everything we do methodologically has changed. One of the changes happens to be the name change.
That being said, the following are the main reasons we decided to change our name:
- Our former name was Grace Baptist Church. There are at least five churches in Odessa with "Grace" in their name (Grace Fellowship, Grace Christian Fellowship - yes #1 is different than #2, Grace Point, Life in Grace Lutheran, and ours). Our church was constantly confused with all of these churches.
- Our church is an independent, fundamental baptist church by affiliation. However, we do not function like an independent, fundamental baptist church. I am not saying we are right, and they are wrong. I am saying we are different. When people look up independent, fundamental churches they have a certain idea in mind. They are looking not just for beliefs, but for certain church methods as well. Many times this includes using the KJV only, wearing a suit and a tie, music being led by piano and organ alone, and church structure that includes Sunday school. None of these things are right or wrong, but we don't do any of them. In the past, we have had people find our church because it is independent, fundamental baptist who walk into the front door and see the drums on the stage, and kindly turn their entire family around to walk back out the door. Once again, I am not saying that they are wrong and we are right. I am saying we are different. We were actually falsely advertising who we were by the name of our church because our church sign said something that was completely different inside.
Because of these problems, we changed our name to Redemption Church. We felt like the problems presented above were significant enough for us to change our name. We also believed that we were entering a new chapter in the life of this church with the relaunch in January.
The following is why we decided to change it to Redemption Church:
- There is no other church in Odessa or Midland that has the name "Redemption" in the title. There are a couple of "Redeemer" churches, but there is no "Redemption." Therefore, we can be much more unique and hopefully avoid confusion related to other church names.
- The idea of Redemption is a theme that runs throughout every page of the Word of God. The plan of the Gospel is that God would redeem those that are far from him. Not only that, but God also sends his church as his tools to be a force of redemption to people, communities, and to the world. That is who we want to be.
- Changing the name is an outward sign to the city that something different is happening in this church that has stood for decades. Many of our members can tell you stories about them inviting their friends to church and their friends responding by saying, "I have been to Grace before. I do not plan on going back." Their reasons are as different as the people themselves. Changing the name says, "This is not the same place it has always been."
Hopefully that helps clarify for our people and those who are outside our church who are wondering. If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.Josh GreenLead PastorRedemption Church