What’s in a name?
It’s an old adage.
It flows from Shakespeare’s famed play, Romeo and Juliet. The actual line is,
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Most are familiar with Shakespeare’s tale of “star-cross’d” lovers. Though members of two warring families, Juliet tells Romeo that names are meaningless, and shouldn’t stand in the way of their love. After all, she loves the man who is Romeo Montague—not the Montague name. Such titles are irrelevant.
It is the substance of the person that matters.
Apparently, some church leaders aren’t so sure.
I’ve noticed a growing trend, at least in my own city, of churches renaming themselves in an apparent effort to invigorate a plateaued or even declining situation. Usually, it is a church start that has been going at it for a few years, hasn’t caught fire, so the thinking is that it’s best to reboot.
Two churches in our area are on their third name.
I wish them well. I really do. There’s not a snarky bone in my body toward their situation.
But I hope they are doing more than rebranding.
I hope they are doing more than a new logo, new website or new location. I hope they are not simply renaming the church, but rethinking it. Because a new name—actually, any name—is not substantive.