Stockton Baptist Tabernacle in England’s North East has changed its name because people had ‘no idea’ it was a place of worship.
It will now simply be called Stockton Baptist Church after Google searches failed to show it as a religious building despite being ‘one of the best-attended churches in the area’, according to secretary Pete Chapman.
The church said: ‘Today’s generation, the majority of whom no longer go at all to any church or place of religious worship, had no idea that the Tabernacle was a church.’
The team in Stockton clearly haven’t been following instructions from Newfrontiers, which says in its guide on ‘how to choose a name for a church plant’, that good web presence ‘definitely helps, and choosing the right name can give you a head-start with it’.
Nevertheless, ‘Tabernacle’ was far from among the worst title chosen by the original founders.
‘The name that you choose does make a difference,’ the Newfrontiers team remind us. ‘For many people, it is the very first impression they will get of your church, and the way they perceive you (and even whether or not they decide to rock up and visit you) will be decided in part by the impression this name makes on them.’
Here are five churches in London that definitely should have listened to that advice.
St Nicholas Shambles
Not a reference to the organisational capabilities of the City of London, St Nicholas was on the corner of Butcher Hall Lane and Newgate Street and took its name from the Shambles, the butchers’ area in the west of Newgate Street.
Barking Methodist Church
The Methodists are usually known for sobriety and while Barking refers to a borough in east London, not the sanity of the congregation, they would do well to clarify it is the Methodist Church in Barking.
Five Previous Wounds, Stonebridge
I don’t even know where to begin here. Maximum points for shock factor, minimum points being ‘seeker friendly’.
All Souls, Pratts Bottom
It’s almost too good to be true if you’re looking for sermon jokes in south-east London. But if you’re in Pratts Bottom and choosing a name for a church, perhaps better skip over the Newfrontiers’ advice about fitting it to your place.
Custom House Baptist Church
I know St Matthew was a tax collector but I’m sorry but ‘Custom House’ is not an appealing name for a church. It conjures up images of paperwork, invoice sheets and bank clerks, not revival.