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What is the decision?

After wrestling with the question of whether the word “Evangelical” in our name helps us reach people with the Good News of Jesus, the Council Leadership of our church has voted unanimously to remove the word evangelical from our name and begin searching for a new name

 

Why was this decision made?

This decision was made because we want to do everything we can as a church to reach people for Jesus, without compromising the power of the Gospel and the truth of Scripture. The word “evangelical” has developed a confusing meaning to people in our community we are trying to reach. For those with little or no church background, it is often connected with political ideology and disconnected from the Good News of Jesus found in Scripture. Rather than looking for nuance or clarification of this word, it has become a barrier to people even considering attending one of our worship gatherings or exploring our church further. Therefore, our church leadership has determined it is an unnecessary barrier to reaching people in our community with the truth of God’s Love and needs to be removed.

How was this decision made?

This decision was made by a group of ten people in a church that make up the primary governing body of our church, called the council. This is in accordance with our governance as a part of The Evangelical Church (our denomination) and how decision-making takes place in our church. The members of the council are our three credentialed pastors, the three elected leaders of our other leadership teams and four members at large that represent the church as a whole.

After nearly two years of evaluating this question, gathering input from the congregation, research, conversations and prayer, this decision was made at our monthly leadership meeting in April and was a unanimous decision.

 

Are we changing our denomination or our statement of faith?

We are not changing the denomination we are a part of (which is called The Evangelical Church) nor are we changing our statement of faith, vision or values. Many newer churches in our denomination chose not use the word “evangelical” when choosing their name, and some of our more established churches have removed the word from their name. We have the freedom as a local church to decide as well.

What will our new name be?

Short answer: we don’t know yet! We’re excited to dream together as a congregation and gather more input. Many names have been suggested and you’ll be hearing more from our council about the name selection process as we get closer to the summer months.

This decision is hard for me, what should I do?

We recognize that a change like this can be difficult for some. Our connection to communities, people, history and relationships are often linked for us by names and so a name change like this can cause a sense of grief and loss. It is normal to feel a sense of loss around the name of a church, particularly, perhaps with a word like evangelical that has had power in the past in shaping the faith of many in our church and around the world. We’d invite you to engage those feelings of loss and grief, process them in prayer, with our pastors or leaders, or with Christ-minded friends.

 

I’m excited about our new name, how can I help?

We’re excited too! Though this has been a difficult decision made with humility and seriousness, we are thrilled to continue searching for a new name that reflects who we already are as a church and how we can have more opportunities to reach people for Jesus. We don’t believe a name change will be a ‘silver bullet’ that will make it automatically easier to reach people for Jesus or grow our church, but we do believe a new name removes a barrier that may hinder our opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus with the people in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and community that God has called us to.

 

I still have questions, who can I ask?

Still have questions or comments you’d like to share? You can contact one of the council members listed below HERE.

 

Church Council Members:

Rev. Garrett Beatty

Rev. Karen Callis

Lance Jones

Dave Morris

Justin Oster

Dr. Tianhong Shi

Rod Stauber

Rev. Ryan Thorson

Liz Wallace

Betty Watkins

CORVALLIS EVANGELICAL CHURCH

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