“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.” 1 Corinthians 3:10 (NIV)
At our church’s spring business meeting last Sunday we voted to change the ministry’s name to Calvary Community Church. Over the next few months we will be modifying our web presence, our signage and our literature to reflect our new moniker. Our title has changed but our testimony remains the same – we are still an evangelical Baptist church called by God to minister in the Ashmont neighborhood of Boston. This is not the first name change we’ve approved – we began the ministry in January, 1875, as 1st Swedish Baptist Church of Boston and changed to Calvary Baptist Church in December, 1949 – and hopefully it won’t be the last.
If we were to ask the 15 people who gathered over 139 years ago and founded the church what they thought of the new name, I contend that they would approve of the change.
- It reflects the foundational nature of the ministry: “Calvary” is the King James Bible term for Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, which was the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. Keeping Calvary in our title reflects the primacy of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and amazing grace which affords all who trust in Him everlasting victory over Satan, sin and death.
- It reflects the locational nature of the ministry: “Community” reflects that we are focused on ministering to the neighborhood where God has planted us. We are committed to maintaining our Baptist distinctives and we are equally committed to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to all those that live in the Ashmont section of Boston regardless of any racial, economic, academic, marital or religious factors.
- It reflects the practical nature of the ministry: “Church” (the Greek word ekklesia – ‘the ones called out’) reflects what we do. Our name tells those among us that we are people who have been called out from the patterns and practices of the world so that we may proclaim the glory of God through worship, instruction, fellowship, evangelism and service.
The tough work for the church is not establishing a name for the ministry but living up to the name it has been given. The easy part of our journey has been done – reaching a consensus about what to call ourselves – and the hard and lasting work begins – proclaiming the gospel of Christ to all those among us through the ministries that God has called us to accomplish. Anyone can call any thing anything they desire; somewhere there is someone claiming they have the “world’s greatest coffee” or they are “America’s team”. The proof is not what you say about you but what others say about you.
This is likely the last post I will make about the church’s name-change because there is little more to say. It is my hope that our actions will speak for us and will tell this little corner of the world that we are Christians committed to continuing the cause of Christ.