Ask Your Questions

The elders will host a Q&A for those interested in learning more about our church’s initiative to join the Evangelical Free Church of America. The Q&A will occur in between services on Sunday, August 14, in the fellowship hall. To help us provide you with the best answers, we are extending an opportunity for you to submit your questions before the meeting. Simply click here to submit your questions. Also, please visit laconiachurch.com/together for more information on the Together Initiative. You’ll find a bunch of helpful information about the initiative there. 

What’s In A Church Name?

“Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy inevitably concluded that names hold meaning. Despite all of her wishful thinking, Juliet was a Capulet, and her star-crossed lover was Montague. Their names fundamentally informed their identities because their names held deep and significant meaning, identifying their lineage, pedigree, associations, and more. The denial of their names was a denial of their identities, and the denial of their identities led to a tragic end. 

As part of our effort to join the Evangelical Church of America (EFCA), our church will soon assume a new name. It is of paramount importance that we thoughtfully select a name that accurately reflects our true identity as a church. To this end, the elders have commissioned a name change team that includes Tracey Petrozzi, MaryBeth Letourneau, Kathie Miller, Erin Weller, Karen Robbins, Adam Hayes, Rob Tacker, Patsy Tacker, and myself. 

Over the past two months, the team has been considering the etymology of a church name. We have wrestled with the question, what meaning does a common church name convey? We examined several examples and concluded that church names commonly consist of a combination of the following categories. 

  • Theology (Ex. “Trinity Church”)
  • Affiliation/Denomination (Ex. “First Presbyterian Church”)
  • Tradition (Ex. “Heritage Baptist Church”)
  • Architecture (Ex. “Christ’s Tabernacle”)
  • Geography (Ex. “Mountainview Fellowship”)
  • Posture toward the world (Ex. “Open Door Church”) 
  • Metaphor (Ex. “Journey”)

Because our new name will be accompanied by the subtext “An Evangelical Free Church of America,” the team has prioritized the categories as follows. Geography and metaphor were identified as the top two categories, followed closely by theology, with architecture, posture, and tradition in a distant fourth, fifth, and sixth. 

It is the goal of the name change team to make a recommendation that accurately reflects our true identity as a church. With these categories clearly prioritized, we believe that we are on the right track to accomplish this goal. 


Please be in prayer for us as we begin the creative work of crafting a new name. We hope to share more with you in the near future.
 

Be A Grape

Is EBC more like a bag of marbles or a bag of grapes?  When it comes to how we relate to one another, the church can be viewed in one of two ways.  
 
It can be like a bag of marbles.  You throw a bunch of marbles into a bag, and they will impact each other.  They will ricochet off each other. But when you take them out of the bag, each remains intact, distinct, and individual.  When we as a church function like marbles, we get together on Sunday morning, worship together, and hear the Word of God together.  Then following the benediction, we go our separate ways, and everyone is still the same as when they arrived.
 
The church can be like a bag of grapes.  Put grapes into a bag, apply a little pressure, and the grapes break open and all their flavors get mixed together.  The grapes “influence” the others and become one.  They will never be the same individual grapes as when they began.  
 
The marble mentality grows from individualism.  Individualism is totally foreign to the New Testament church.  It is totally foreign to the way God created us. We were made for relationships.  We were made for family.  
 
God never intended for us to live the Christian life on our own.  It is God’s design for us to grow in the context of Christian community.  Growth comes as we press up against each other and the juices of our lives as we do life together.  
 
As your pastor, my heart for you is that you develop deep friendships.   You have heard me say before that not only should we be a friendly church, but a church that makes friends.  Only to a certain point, can we program this.  We can provide opportunities for you to make connections, but it is on you to follow up on those initial points of contact to make friendships that flourish. 
 
Here are some ways you can deepen friendships here:
Linger or come early for the coffee time between services (10:15-10:45).

Attend a community group.

Serve in ministry.

Invite someone to join you for a meal, or dessert, or coffee, at a restaurant or in your home.

Include others in something you are doing already (walking, hiking, exercising, some hobby or interest, etc.).
 
Be intentional in developing friendships.  And remember, these will be forever friends.

Recalculating

“Recalculating!” Anyone who has ever used a GPS while driving has heard the word, “recalculating.”  As my family traveled through the unfamiliar routes in Florida last week, our GPS had to remind us that we missed our turn or had driven too far and would recalculate and show us what we needed to do to correct our mistake. 
 
Frankly, God has done a lot of “recalculating” in my life.  I have gone through times in my life when it dawned on me that I am off course.  You might think of times when God spoke to you through some sermon or song or situation or personal time in the Word as if to say, “Change your direction.  Go this way instead of that way.”  
 
This has been on my mind for us as a church.  Seven years ago, when I arrived to serve as your pastor, I came with a clear vision for EBC.  If you have been around here at all, you should be familiar with our mission to make disciples, our objectives of growing deeper and having greater impact, our five commitments (to Scripture, prayer, one another, worship, and outreach) and our 4-E model for ministry (engaging, establishing, equipping & evangelizing).  
 
Are we staying on the right road?  Have we made wrong turns?  Is there a need for God to recalculate our plans in order to get us to where He wants to take us?   We do have a propensity to become distracted.  This is true on a personal level and also as a church.  
 
In approaching my seven-year mark, it is cause for celebration and evaluation.  I do celebrate the accomplishments.  I thank God for the marked growth in you, the team of elders and staff I get to serve with, the healthy environment that is welcoming to newcomers, the joyful spirit present each Sunday, and the reception of God’s Word to your lives.  
 
It is also a time for evaluation.  What changes do I need to make to better reflect the vision and desires I believe God wants for us?  How has the tyranny of the urgent squeezed out the more important things?  Church, whenever we substitute the urgent for the important, it is time to recalculate. 
 
This is why I am so passionate about the upcoming sermon series on the church. This is the reason the call for a church awakening is so critical.  I believe that the church in America has fallen asleep to the reality that we live in difficult times.  And unlike the early morning alarm, we cannot hit the snooze button.  We must wake up to what confronts us.  We must wake up to the marvelous opportunity of ministry that lies before us.  
 
The genius of the gospel, the beauty of God’s grace, and the power of God’s Word are able to put us on the right path to reach the destiny God has for us as a church.  We can be encouraged for God is able to get us to our destiny.  More than that, He is able to do far more than we can even ask.   I invite you to pray that God awakens our church to what Jesus is building.  Pray that our passion is renewed for what He wants for us.  Pray that we embrace the recalculating that puts us on the path to becoming a church that makes disciples who make disciples.