Strangely Named Churches

Right now, naming churches with one name is all the rage. I’ve seen churches named Compass, and Orchard, and Chapel, and Relevant, and Impact, and Center, and Sojourner, and 351, and New, and Illumine, and a whole host of other one word plus “church” names. I kind of like this trend but thats all it is, a trend. We will see how long it lasts.

I’m pretty certain that many people, certainly their members, have no problem with the names of the churches I am about to name. But for me, these are strange, and I’m sure many of my readers have seen some that are even stranger.

Weeping Mary Baptist Church —I’ve not visited this church in my area, but I am very curious as to how it got its name.

Corinthian Baptist Church–This church is just outside of Washington, DC on Route 1. Perhaps I am very uncreative, but I can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to take this New Testament Church as its model. Moral problems, doctrinal problems, misunderstanding about the resurrection, a lack of love for one another. The great love chapter, chapter 13, that everyone wants to quote in their wedding? The apostle Paul’s basic argument in the book up to that chapter is basically, “You want to know what love is? Love is everything that you (Corinthians) are not!)”

Glory Bound Gospel Tabernacle —a church in northern West Virginia near where my wife was raised. I hope all churches are glory bound but the combination just struck me as strange.

The Lynton Resurrectional Missionary Baptist Church of Compton —One of my students took over this church and had quite a successful ministry there, even before the name was eventually shortened. 

Larkin Avenue Baptist Church —(Still retaining the geographical designation three decades removed from having moved locations and no longer is on Larkin Avenue)

The Lying Baptist Church and the,
The Non-lying Baptist Church —I heard about these two churches in a debate on ethics. Seems that there was an ethical dispute about a particular situation and the church split over those who believed it was okay to lie in certain situations and those who believed it was never appropriate to lie. Nothing like tying your name to a church split!

The Blue Church —In the 1970’s I actually went to a concert at this church on the Main Line side of Philadelphia. At the concert I  heard John Michael Talbot in a very intimate setting of about 300 people. Yes, the church was painted blue.

Devil’s Thumb Baptist Church –this one almost happened when a youth pastor realized that the youth of the church could vote in the business meeting and thought it was a good idea to name the church after a prominent geographic feature in Colorado. Fortunately, a wise deacon in the church took the youth pastor for a talk and the tragedy was averted!

and then there is  . . .

Intercourse United Methodist Church–located of course in Intercourse, PA. I don’t need to say more.

It was these thoughts that got me thinking about what would be a good name for a church.

For years, as an Evangelical Free Church planter and seminary professor, I wanted one of my students to plant a church called St. Mary’s Evangelical Free Church. After all, why should only Anglican and Catholic churches have names that honor the mother of Jesus? (I’m being funny but serious at the same time.) But on a truly serious note, here’s a name I think would be completely appropriate for every church in America. How about this one . . .

“The Church of the Leaky Souls”

Mind you, I don’t think anyone will name their church with this particular collection. It’s not a trendy type of name after all. But it would be appropriate don’t you think?

We followers of Christ have leaky souls. We are constantly forgetting who we are. We are continually forgetting who Jesus is, how wonderful the gospel is, how incredible the promises of God are to those who are His. We fail to remember that John 13:1 says that “Jesus . . . having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end,” and he will love us to the end, the very end. Our souls leak every single day. Every single day we need to refill our souls with the truth of the word of the Living God. Our souls leak truth, and hope and memory, and joy, and every good thing that God has ever done for us and in us and around us. Didn’t you ever notice in your Bible reading all the commands to the people of God to remember the works of God. You know why those commands are there? Because we forget. Our souls leak.

But here’s the thing. A sink without a stopper can be filled to overflowing. All it takes is more inflow than outflow. In fact, you can fill a sink to overflowing in such a way that the surface tension at the top of the sink is as placid and calm as a raging sea that Jesus has just calmed and made flat as glass. It just takes more biblical content into the heart than biblical memories forgotten.

So, my brothers and sisters, let’s admit that no matter what our church name, we are all part of the Church of the Leaky Soul. Overcome it.

Read your Bible.
Study your Bible.


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