Shakespeare wrote “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” in his classic Romeo and Juliet. In this true to life tale, neither family could look beyond the connotations and preconceptions of their family names, resulting in tragic consequences. A name is an identifier, a title, a label that conjures an expectation or a prejudice. Think about it. What immediately springs to your mind from these names: O’Brien, Gonzales, Republican, Democrat, Pit Bull, Church, Hindu, Presbyterian… depending upon our individual experiences, names are less and less unique. The question becomes “how do we describe ourselves in a way that represents who we really are?” How do we keep our sweet scent under a different name?
This week, the Austin First Church of God adopts a new name while retaining the same great message: “Community Bible Fellowship Where every Christian is a member.” We hope that the new name on our building makes everyone feel even more welcome. As a nondenominational, Bible-based church, our mission is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), which is just what this new name embodies:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ” We welcome every one of any nationality, gender, age, and race to be an active part of our COMMUNITY, sharing our desire to seek the will of Jesus Christ in our lives and for our world.
“ baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;” The BIBLE is our guide and we practice and promote its teachings in love. Our relevant pastoral messages, worship, and Christian education take direction from the transformational Word of God.
“ and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Christ came to make possible a personal relationship with God and FELLOWSHIP with His Church. Companionship is critical to the Christian journey and we seek to provide camaraderie, friendship and a supportive family environment, inside and outside our walls.
We are so proud of our Church of God heritage, founded in the holiness movement by Daniel Sidney Warner and headquartered in Anderson, Indiana. However, with nearly fifty religious denominations bearing the “Church of God” name around the world, with doctrines and traditions wildly different from our own, we hope to describe ourselves simply and clearly as a Community Bible Fellowship: Nondenominational, Christ-centered, and welcoming you!