Q: Why are we changing our name? I like the current name of my church. Why do we have to change it?
A: Simply put, we are changing our name to make it...more simple. When having conversations with unsaved friends, co-workers, or individuals we meet on the street, it often takes some time to explain each of the components of our current name (e.g. First what? Evangelical huh? Free from what?) It can be a barrier to reaching our community when our name has ambiguous words, connotations, and general confusion for what it really means. We firmly believe that we can more naturally point individuals to who we are by having a name that is easier to explain and link to the gospel. Our mission statement is to bring the gospel to the world, why wouldn’t we remove any barriers to that conversation so we can more effectively do that?
Those of us who have been part of the FEFC family for a long time know that what makes FEFC is the people in it, not the building and not the name. Remember, we won’t find a Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, or EFCA named church in the Bible. We must use our name as a tool to bring people into the church, not push them away. We must not fear the future, but embrace the opportunities we have each day in an increasingly unsaved world to point people to Jesus Christ. That’s why it is Christ’s church, not my church or our church.
Q: Has FEFC changed its name before?
A: Yes, the name has been changed several times before –
- 1886 – Swedish Free Mission Church of St. Paul, Minnesota
- 1896 – The Swedish Evangelical Free Church, St. Paul, Minnesota
- 1939 – The First Evangelical Free Church of St. Paul, Minnesota
- 2010 – The First Evangelical Free Church, Maplewood, Minnesota (16 syllables!)
Q: Are we abandoning our history and identity?
A: Absolutely not. We are proud of our history, being the first evangelical free church in St. Paul, and how the Lord has used this body of believers to advance the gospel over the last 130+years. We pray He would continue to work in us and through us for another 130+ years and beyond. Removing the geographic location from our name also helps us better reflect we are a body of believers from a wider community than just Maplewood.
Q: Are we leaving the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA)?
A: No. We remain committed to our denomination and the ethos it inspires. On a side note, did you know that approximately 190 churches within the EFCA have also changed their name?
Q: Are we changing our theological positions?
A: No. No theological positions are impacted by having a new name.
Q: I have a suggestion for a name. Can I share my idea?
A: Yes! Please submit your suggestion, considering the criteria below and providing your name, email address, and name suggestion. Suggestions will be accepted through September 30.
Q: What is the process for changing the church’s name?
A: The Elders, in collaboration with select key staff/leaders, will review all recommendations and make a final decision on a name that best meets all of the criteria described below. Our constitution states the current name of our church. To change our constitution and the current name of “The First Evangelical Free Church, Maplewood, Minnesota” requires that the constitution change be approved at an annual congregational meeting. We intend to introduce the motion that states the new name at the November 2019 congregational meeting, with a vote at the February 2020 annual meeting.
Q: I have a question that isn’t answered here. Who should I talk to?
A: Please reach out to Eric Berglund at email@example.com or any of the other Elders.
Criteria for Name Change Submissions
- Must be Biblical with a direct reference, not an indirect association
- Must be gospel-focused, supporting the mission statement of FEFC
- Must be easy to explain its meaning to an unchurched person
- Must be no more than two 2 words (excluding the word “church”)
You may fill out this form multiple times if you would like to submit multiple name suggestions.