TO NAME A CHURCH
As you have heard, I’m planting a new church.
Over the past few months, I’ve been working to articulate the vision for the people we hope to become, the kind of community we hope to build. Piece by piece as the ideas come together the picture is becoming clearer.
Today, I’m excited to share one more piece of the picture with you. I’ve given our baby a name.
Giving something a name is kind of a big deal in our culture. It was kind of a big deal in Jesus culture, too. Jesus, gave Simon Peter a new name; Peter, meaning ‘the rock” (check out the story in Matthew 16 and notice how Jesus drops the “Simon” from “Simon Peter”). This name provided a sense of clarity of identity and purpose for Peter. He took his name seriously and followed his calling to build the church as Jesus instructed him to do. His name provided a solid foundation for the work that was to come. (see Matthew 16:13-20)
I hope that the name of our church also offers some clarity and helps guide us to stay connected to our purpose as well.
So here goes. The name of our new church is…
There are a few reasons behind why I’ve settled on this name:
- Dwellings represent the places we inhabit. Our homes, our work places, and even our third places. I hope to be a church that exists in places where people actually live their lives, in places where people dwell.
- I believe that God is at work in all people, making each of us dwellings for God. I hope that through learning to see where God is already at work in and around us we will re-tune our lives to really pay attention to what He’s up to. (This speaks to the theological idea of prevenient grace, that is God’s going before us, working in us even when we don’t realize it.)
- “Dwellings” is plural since the church is not just a building or an organization but a people setting out to live in relationship to Jesus and the ways of his kingdom.
- One of the greatest examples of God’s love for his creation is found in the incarnation of Christ. Referring to Jesus, John wrote that “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Jesus set aside his position to live among us on Earth.
Here’s a few of the key scripture that have give this name its shape:
John 1:14 (NIV)
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Revelation 21:3 (NIV)
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (NIV)
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Here’s she is, Dwellings Church, I hope you have the chance to get to know her. I think she’s pretty special.