Last night a special Committee appointed by SBC President Bryant Wright recommended to the Executive Committee of the SBC that the name Southern Baptist Convention would remain as the official name of the Southern Baptist Convention. I’m sure that is a relief to many, a disappointment to some, and not much interest to most. I thought about the announcement because I received moment-by-moment tweets as the report was being presented. I live in Nashville so it made local newscasts and it is in the local paper this morning.
What’s In A Name?
When the Committee was named by SBC President Bryant Wright there was the usual talk about the restrictions churches, pastors and church planters face with “Southern” in the convention moniker. I wonder if Southwest Airlines, Northern Trust, Bank of the West, Massachusetts Mutual, New York Life, and other companies struggle with these same issues? I suspect that “Baptist” in the name may be more odious to unreached unbelievers than “Southern” but now we will never know.
If “Southern” is a problem and does not communicate without explanation, then I can only imagine the confusion “Great Commission Baptist Convention” might cause. Those four words, however important, would take quite a bit of explaining. Can you imagine the branding issues associated with explaining “Great Commission” + “Baptist” + “Convention” to the lost and unchurched in your area?
Name Change, Real Change?
Names change, brands change, and entities change constantly and hopefully for the better. The rebranding discussion in the Southern Baptist Convention gives another opportunity for its member churches to rethink their relationship to the Convention, its leadership, its agencies, and its future. Maybe it’s not the name that needs changing. A positive name change needs to signal a future change in an entity or to reflect a past/current change in an entity. This discussion went nowhere because so far a new name doesn’t signal anything new for now or the future.
Give people a compelling image of the future and most any name, new or old, will be a good one.