What seems to be more and more a trend is for a church to remove the words which cause a culture to stumble and avoid our doors. We might for example take the word itself, church, from the name and replace it with fellowship. The reason being that church is an offensive word, conjuring up all kinds of stodgy, stiff collared, uptight men in suits who are likely to point fingers and use the word hellfire. That goes double for the word Baptist—that most hated of titles. Just take that judgmental oldster and make him fat, undisciplined, and screaming about the evils of abortion and you have the impression Baptist brings to the table.
That’s why it was the first to go. Rick Warren started out as a Southern Baptist, and as a consequence dropped the title in favor of something better, like Saddleback. Willow Creek is a good alternative too. But those trendsetters of yesteryear are themselves behind the times, since those places still have the word church in them. We might do better to update church to fellowship, but there’s a problem with that too, which is why the more clever thinkers among us have seen down this particular path and realize that fellowship also needs to go. A good title for the building where Apprentices of the Messiah meet should be attractive, like The Bridge. Can’t you see your Christ following self inviting your friends to The Bridge?
You know what, it’s time we face it, church is offensive. The title implies we are the called out ones, unique, separate, divisible from the other part of mankind, and if that makes people squirm I don’t know what to tell you. Because, that’s what we are. Let it offend.
Wait a minute, what am I saying? Offend? *Ahem.* Good riddance to that which offends and everything like it. Hand me my latte, sacred-coffee-barista, the children’s musical number is starting, and it promises to be relevant and engaging. No wait, let me fill out the survey on how this morning has been making me feel so far first. If I can just find which pocket of my swim trunks I put it in…