By Katy Hagerman
William Shakespeare knew what he was talking about when he said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” For First Church of God in Kokomo, Indiana, a name change to South Creek Church of God was a logical decision. There were many influencing factors on this decision—foremost being that there are fifteen churches in the area with the word “first” in their name. Another was to shorten their name and give it a more personal feel, as well as connecting the church with a known location.
South Creek has used this name change as a way to re-invent themselves, and a
way to focus on their purpose and why they do what they do. This change also coincided with the building receiving some structural renewal, as well as some re-decorating. Since the church has had a contemporary worship and teaching style for a while, the name change brought no new format changes.
Pastor John Newton stated that with any new change comes struggles and some resistance, but the purpose of the church can’t be about personal preferences. The change was made smoother by all the time spent building relationships, and understanding that church should be about worship and learning. South Creek identifies as a “Four G” church, basing their foundation on “Gather, Grow, Give, and Go,” and the church is still focusing on growing, reaching out to people, and helping in ministry.
As the church goes through a new sermon series in the next few weeks, the central theme is from Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Pastor John said that changes like this can help an organization that’s been around for a while because it’s good to get out of ruts, and we need to focus on the new and what God has in store for us next. But at the heart of it all, the mission of South Creek Church of God is to let God love them and others through them. With a strong focus on the Great Commission, the name change is simply a reflection of the renewed spirit of ministry God has brought about at South Creek Church of God.
Katy Hagerman is a communication intern for Church of God Ministries from Lapel, Indiana. She is currently studying English at Anderson University. Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.