Leaving Hog Heaven

December 15, 2006

A church in Georgia recently decided to change its name to drop the word “hog.” The church’s old name was Hog Mountain Baptist Church, and the new name is Hamilton Mill Baptist Church. Barney Williams, the church’s pastor, supported the change because he feels it will help them reach people who may be put off by the name, because pigs in the Bible are associated with sin, and because he is often teased by other pastors about the name.

The first reason—reaching people—is a good one. Some older church members have complained about the change since the old name is based on the history of the area. However, reaching people today is more important than keeping a name based on what people did years ago. There are a lot of odd church names based on geography or antiquated issues. It would be a shame if someone did not attend because they thought the church’s name sounded funny. That may be a silly reason not to attend church, but our job is to eliminate all reasons we can while remaining true to our mission. We must seriously consider what is being communicated by our church names.

By the way, there are a lot of interesting church names. A couple of my favorites are Tightwad Baptist Church and Halfway Baptist Church (both of which ironically and sadly describe how Baptists act at times). If you have seen a fun or odd church name, please share it by leaving a comment.