Monday, April 14, 2014

What’s in a name?

At 10:30 AM on Sunday, April 13, 2014 Solid Rock Baptist Church voted on the recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons to officially change their name to Solid Rock Community Church.  The vote was unanimous. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you the reasons we decided to change our name.

To better reflect who we are
This decision to change the name of the church was NOT so we could do some things differently and somehow the term “Baptist” was holding us back. No. This decision was because Solid Rock is not like a “typical Baptist church” (if there is such a thing, I’ll get to that in a moment). Or at least it is not like what most people have in their minds and past experiences of Baptist churches.

Baptist is not a good identifier.
What does it mean to be a Baptist?  Baptists are not the only group that baptize by immersion. All Baptists do not hold to one common doctrine, in fact, there is quite a long list of difference in beliefs among Baptists (eternal security, gifts of the Holy Spirit, interpretation of Scripture, role of women, homosexuality, etc). [1] In researching this, I found that there are over 80 different Baptist groups in the United States, and some of them differ greatly in belief and practice. [2] For example there are Full Gospel Baptists, Fundamental Baptists, General Baptists, Regular Baptist, Free Will Baptists, Progressive Baptists, and the list goes on and on.   There is not a uniform, typical Baptist church. A person’s view of Baptist is largely left up to what they've experienced or heard. 

In today’s day and age, we don’t need a label to identify who or what we are
Even if “Baptist” was a good identifier, with the ease of access to information via our website, Facebook page, twitter, etc.  we don’t have to rely on people’s assumptions of who they think we are, they can go to our website find out for sure. Furthermore, “Community Church” is a non-descriptive title with little to no uniformed preconception. This will drive people to investigate who we are, not who they assume we are. 

Over half of Americans have a negative view of the Baptist faith  [3]
Let that sink in a moment… Over half of Americans have a negative view of the Baptist faith.
I don’t think that this is the fault of our doctrine.  The gospel is good news in the wake of bad news.  We stand guilty before God our Creator, yet in His love for us He entered our humanity as the person Jesus. He lived the life we could not live, died the death we deserved to die and offers us the gift (forgiveness and new life) that we could not earn. We can have a right standing before God our Creator because of what Jesus has done for us. 
I don’t think it is the message that more than half of Americans have a negative view of. The Gospel is Good News and at Solid Rock we will never stop declaring it. I think people have a negative view of their experiences with and in Baptist churches. Perhaps they experienced judgment, legalism, or unkindness at one Baptist church. If you have a bad experience at a national chain restaurant, because the food was awful. How likely are you to visit that same restaurant in a different location? Not likely, I would imagine. We know that not all Baptist churches are like Westboro Baptist Church, who protest at the funerals of soldiers, and cheer at tragic disasters, yet we carry the same label.  At Solid Rock we don’t want to be doing those things or be associated with it, whether real or perceived.

In all we, as a church, don’t exist to lift high the Baptist name, and not even the name Solid Rock. We want to lift high the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, whatever we call ourselves.

[3] Stetzer, Ed: "Planting Churches in a Post-Modern Age", page 235. Broadman and Holman Publishers, 2003.


  1. Not commenting for or against the change. It doesn't really matter, as you point out. The comparison to chain restaurants, however, might be leveled at "church" or "Christian" or "Community." It's not about branding. It's about whether those gathered are in the sanctifying process and are actively humbling themselves and loving others with God's love, in obedience ... then the Holy Spirit will work in the community. Maybe not in numbers, but in depth and in ways that no one even thinks possible. In one life changed.

  2. It's not about the name. It is about the God who will use the church, (His instrument) to glorify Him. It's the people in the church that reflect who the church is. You can change the name as many times as you want, but bottom line is how people are treated and what truths are preached at the pulpet. God is God. King of kings. Lord of lords.

    1. Carleen, thanks for the comment. I totally agree that what you name a church doesn't dictate what goes on inside. A name doesn't change a church. The "bottom line is how people are treated and what truths are preached at the pulpit." We are just removing an obstacle so more people can see and hear what goes on inside. (In addition to taking the gospel and the love of Jesus outside, too!)

  3. Given you don't want labels, seems like you would call it Jesus the Sold Rock Church. As someone who was raised Baptist and looking to move into the community, I was looking for what kind of church the different ones around town are. That give me a place to start. Yours was labeled on Google Earth as Solid Rock Baptist Church so I looked up your website. There are so many new age churches popping up that I can't tell from their names what kind of church they really are. Just preach the Gospel Brother