Identity Crisis

Sometimes churches of various denominations have an identity crisis of sorts. You see this in America today, as many Baptist congregations want to drop the word Baptist from their name, but retain the identity as a baptistic congregation. The thought is the name is unpopular, so growth can be achieved by changing the name on the sign.

In PB circles, this has been floated as well. Might I break the news to you? Dropping the name on the sign and replacing it with something trendy isn’t going to lead to a revival. And even if you change the name of a church to market it as some sort of contemporary group, once a person walks in, they’re going to find a PB church. If they were looking for contemporary, they’re not going to return. That wasn’t what they were looking for.

The fact is, there are many larger groups with funny names. Have you ever thought about the word Presbyterian? Or Episcopalian? Methodist? Holiness? Pentecostal (with a hard southern accent, especially)? Anglican? None of those words are hip and trendy.

To be clear, I don’t worship the name. And a rose by any name is just as sweet! We can go in the other direction and find ourselves in error here as well. But the notion that dropping the P in PB will lead to a revival, as if that’s what’s holding a congregation back, is simply not true. Honestly, most people I come across have no idea what a PB is anyway, and the word primitive usually starts a conversation. It’s more helpful than hurtful.

Growth isn’t going to come from trying to be trendy. Growth isn’t going to come from trying to market us as something we’re not. Growth is going to come, slowly and steadily, from trying to do what WE do as well as we can. That is, worship is actual worship, not a production. A service has prayers that are real, not canned. The word of God is shared in many ways, including reading and preaching. And, regarding preaching, let it be well thought out, biblically sound, rightly divided, covering the full counsel of God from the scriptures. In other words, an exposition of God’s word in reverence. All this, while believing God will bless it to work and draw in His sheep. A doubleminded man is unstable…so let us preach, believing God is going to use it. If you preach it, they will come. That’s an ingredient too. In my experience, that leads to growth. Personal growth. Growth in the strength of those in attendance. And numerical growth.

TL/DR? Rather than trying to be trendy, just try to be the best version of our tradition and conviction.

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