Monday, January 19, 2009

Ever go to a popular blog or other similar digital entity where there is a race to have the first comment? The blog owner posts the blog and people will not even read the post they just leave the comment "first." If it is popular enough you will have two or three people that think they got the first comment who are actually 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively. It is annoying and juvenile and generally doesn't really tell us anything. I'm not sure when this phenomena started because it predates the Internet by many years. It is quite prolific in churches even.

go ahead, open your phone book and tell me how many churches are listed as "1st Holy Church of the First people to say we are First." OK it might say 1st AG or 1st Baptist or whatever but there it is. I honestly don't know why we insist on such things. What does the name "First ..." tell us about your church? If there is only one Methodist church do they still call themselves "First Methodist" so there won't be any confusion when another Methodist church comes to town or do they wait till the other church gets settled in before slapping "First" in front of their denomination so there will be no doubt who was there first?

If you have been following along I'm all for competition but I also know that there is no sense in claiming "first" while before the game is over, so I doubt this is a claim to victory. This means that the only useful information I get from the name of "First Lutheran" is that they are Lutheran. I prefer to know something from the name of a church. At least tell me what part of town your church is found in. In Springfield, MO they have Central Assembly which is in the middle of town and James River Assembly which is down by James River. They also have 30 some other Assemblies but fortunately no "First" so good for them. I'm not saying to get some trendy name, just stop using that tired old braggadocios (hows that for a $10 word) title that tells us nothing about your church.

What is your church named? Does it convey the right thing? What should your church be named?

The church I'm at is a "First ..." It doesn't convey anything good. If we want to tell people what we are about I'd have to say "Church of the Old and Tired." Of course I'd like to see that change so maybe we should put a spin on it "Church of Imminent Victory" where it is understood that upon death we receive final victory ... we just keep that to ourselves and it sounds much better.

PS. Please don't read too much into what I've said. I do mean it but this is also Looney Lundi so I'm being sarcastic not serious.


Steve said...


Seriously though, my church is 1st Assembly of God, but if we were going to go with a descriptive name, it would have to be "Up the Hill from Wal-Mart Assembly of God" because that's how I have to describe it to people when they ask which church is mine.

Nick the Geek said...

1st AG where? I like the name "Up the Hill from Wal-Mart AG" personally. The only problem is if you get more than one Wal-Mart in town you'll need to change the name to "First Up the Hill from Wal-Mart AG" which is slightly better than just "1st AG" so still a good name.

Steve said...

1st AG in Canton, TX. And I don't have to worry about that whole 2nd Wal-Mart thing. We're lucky we have the one.

There's another phenomenon down here in my part of the world: 2nds. I have seen more than one 2nd Baptist or 2nd AG. That's where it really gets weird. It's like, "Well, we may not be 1st, but we weren't 3rd, either."

Jordan (a.k.a. Addy!) said...

I think Jon's gonna need to add a "First" to his church's name - iPointeGrace.......! So, now it'll be FirstiPointeGrace....... - but the "Firsti" sounds like "Thirsty" which could or could not be a good or bad thing!
Anyway, I love your church name suggestion, Steve! Great job! =)
Keep up the good work!

(By the way, this is Jordan - but I used to call myself 'Addy' - that's one of my nicknames. (LOOOOOOONG STORY!) Haha - remember me? I started using my real name because I got a website and it says Jordan on it, and I didn't want any potential visitors to be confused when they clicked on the name Addy and came out on a site written by a Jordan! Anyway, check it out if you want. =) I've just started, so it's a bit empty, but yeah...)

Nick the Geek said...


IN Springfield, MO they had a 2nd Baptist which was bigger than 1st Baptist which I always thought was funny. Sometimes I wonder how people who are created by God, singly the most creative being ever look at the freakin' platypus, and who are called to be thoughtful and creative as well, we are made in His image after all, I appear to have lost my train of thought forgive the Youth Pastor in me as I just say what I was going to say. Oh yea, how can Christians be so singly uncreative?

jordan, aka addy, aka Whoian extrodinaire,
Yes, Jon should add a first because you know it will get confusing when other churches start using the name because his is growing so fast.

Brion, Rachel & Titus said...

I have always had the same frustration and confusion with the 1st trend in church names. Even more so when I saw the 2nd or 3rd Korean Baptist Holy Church. "I DON"T GET IT" was my normal response.

Well, to throw a little history in to the mix, it has been my understanding while trying to find the reason behind some of these church names that the "1st Baptist" was a church in town for "Whites", when that was the norm. The "2nd Baptist" was one that "Blacks" were allowed to attend.

Now, this may be a myth dropped from generation to generation, but that is how it has been explained to me.

As for the chronological expansion of AG and others, I have no explanation save that we don't know who started the number thing, nor why, and we just jumped in.

Maybe if nobody else comments here I will be last, thus first. "First shall be last and the last shall be first".....

God bless all.

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Our church has a new number name:


Good: It's creative. Points to the 12 stones taken from the Jordan when the Israelites crossed it.

Bad: Our UK friends think it's only for people who weigh 168 lbs.

WV: pough
Oh pough. We picked a culturally irrelevant church name again.

sonneta said...

Actually, the First Methodist church in my town is on 1st Street, so I guess they can keep their name. But yes, I too have wondered about the "First [Denomination]" churches, like so what, who cares that you were the First Presbyterian church in town?

Post a Comment