For some churches, a name change is a huge deal. It’s a new era, a new season, a goodbye to yesterday, a change in leadership. For us, the church formerly known as Christ’s Family, it wasn’t quite that emotionally intricate.
A few months ago our pastor, Don White, started a series of sermons on how we welcome guests to our services and into our family. As we spent time thinking about how guests feel when they visit our church, it seemed the perfect time to take a look at our image as a church. It’s not that we needed to change who we were as a church, it’s that we needed to accurately depict who we were visually, in all areas of print. Our sign, the fonts we use in flyers, our bulletin, our website, even the signs to direct you to the restrooms. We needed an overhaul so they all visually said the same thing, and so they all visually said “Us”. Our graphic designer friends tell us this is called branding. Ryan Long headed up a team of four designers to get this moving. In talking through this process, Don happened to casually mention he would even be open to a name change.
The branding team took that casual comment and said, “Sweet!” (Every artist loves a good dose of freedom, you know.)
A few ideas were thrown around. One of the funny favorites that got shot down like something crazy was Rock.Paper.Jesus. What?! Who doesn’t want to go to a church called Rock.Paper.Jesus.? It’s a good thing the discussion for a new name was a team effort. In the brainstorming for a new name, The Family Room was tossed in there. The branding team was pretty sure that name had originated from someone outside of the team, but couldn’t quite put their finger on who.
In the end, The Family Room kept rising to the top as the best choice. It held the core of who we were and sounded totally cool. (Yeah. I just said that.) After the branding team presented this name to the leadership team, there was confirmation from Jeanne Effrein. A few years ago she had been sitting in a church meeting, and the name “The Family Room” just popped into her head. She wrote it down in a notebook and then didn’t think much about it. Now here we are a few years later, and it’s actually happening. It’s so great when God gives us a thumbs up like that.
There was some concern that leaving out the word “church” would be confusing to people. After mulling it over for quite some time, the decision was that it worked. The intrigue of the name causes people to ask more questions when they hear where you attend church, or to do a double take when they see our name in print. Conversation starters are always a good thing.
The Family Room truly is the essence of who we are. Think of the room in your house that you call the family room. What happens there? Isn’t it the place to let your hair down, be real, have family meetings, find your center, and fuel up for the work of life? That’s what our church community is for all us. We spend our days in our communities, giving ourselves to others at our jobs and in our neighborhoods. When we get together as a church family, we’re ready to take some time to breathe, and spend some time being with our Dad. We’re ready to let our hair down and sing to Jesus at the top of our lungs. We want to settle down and find our Center. Our meetings are usually pretty casual and home-like. The challenge for us, actually, is to strike the balance between being an intimate group and at the same time making new people feel welcomed and included. That challenge is one reason Don started this whole process in the first place.
Our next step is to redesign our sanctuary to match our new name. Don says no-way-jose to filling the sanctuary with couches. He has this hair brained idea that we will all fall asleep during his sermons. What?! We are working on finding the right feel for our sanctuary, so it’s comfortable for a large group of people but still feels like you are in…The Family Room.
Oh, and also, we now refer to our school as The Study. Genius, right? That was Jeanne, too. She’s just full of good ideas.
It is a great name, I think back several years ago Jack Hafford’s church had a less formal sanctuary they called the Living Room. It might have been decorated with couches and easy chairs.