A name? You have one. I have one. Your dog has one. A “name” serves to provide a specific designation and description. They are common to the human experience, but a “name” change is uncommon.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. - Genesis 18:1-3
Can you imagine possessing the same name for 99 years, only to have it changed? Probably not, but God enters swiftly on the scene like a direct deposit and appeared to Abram. The appearance had history-defining significance. God came to affirm the covenant previously promised (Genesis 12). As a token of the covenant, God gave Abram a new name -- Abraham. No longer would Abram be the father of one family, but now a father of a nation. I know some of you wanted to break into the song, please refrain, but the new name served an important purpose.
Name With Purpose
Surely a name change at 99 years old would serve a greater purpose than Abraham even understood himself. The name change would result in a constant reminder to Abraham about who God is, what He’s done, and who he was as a result. This new name would bring a perpetual prompting to Abraham that God called him to a purpose that superseded the present and all Abraham had to do was believe, because that’s the character of God!! Abraham’s new name provided him with constant vision!
as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. - Romans 4:17
Name Change With Purpose: Missional Communities
For the last three years, The District Church has offered Community Groups to create an environment for people to gather together and for the embodiment of a New Testament church. By God’s grace, we have seen and heard about so many lives impacted by the gospel. Our Community Groups have grown into being strong families, and we believe there’s more to come. While we celebrate the past, we are not content to live in it. Just as a child has many stages of development, so do groups at The District Church.
Groups at The District Church will no longer be known as Community Groups, but will now be called Missional Communities. The change serves to provide us with a constant vision for purposes of why groups exist and how they align with fulfilling the mission, vision, and core values of The District Church -- and most importantly, the mission of God (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). In the next several weeks, we will be sharing what Missional Communities are and how they will function in the life of The District Church.
Pastor Jeth Looney
This is part one of a three part series on what Missional Communities are and how they differ from Community Groups or a traditional small group.