Changing our name

As a church we’re changing our name, and introducing a new vision statement and a new mission statement, and also a new logo and artwork

Why make a change at all?

The Coign has been our name and identity for many years – first as The Coign fellowship and then as The Coign Church – and during those years God has hugely blessed this church. Lots of good stuff has happened, so let’s be quick to honour the past and let’s be thankful to God.

baby nameThat said, the idea of changing the name has been well received and even expected. My predecessor, Malcolm Kayes, told me he planned to change the name when the new building was completed, and that was hoped to be a while ago!

 

Of course, whilst no name is perfect, a good name can be a great tool for us to connect with the culture around us. It can be even better if we have a name that reflects the culture of our church too; a name that communicates to people about who we are and helps to draw people in.

The process

Choosing a name has been a long process. It began with a Listening Tour in our church, conducted during September to November 2017, shortly after I arrived. During the Listening Tour I asked four key questons:

  1. What is one thing I need to know about the church?
  2. What is one way we will reach new people?
  3. What is one dream you have for the church?
  4. What is one thing you are afraid I might do?

Those questions gave everyone a chance to speak into the process, albeit without knowing it, and they were hugely informative, after all – we need a name that reflects our intended culture and our aspirations.

Getting help

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Paul Graves

We then engaged the help of Paul Graves from seeseven.com. He’s a branding specialist, and a pastor in a church in Seattle. He’s also a friend of one of our trustees and originates from Basingstoke – so he’s as British as fish and chips! Working with Paul, we drew together a small and diverse team to look at the whole area of branding and naming.

 

Focus Groups and Seeking God

Along the way, Paul conducted a series of eight Focus Groups with us, which included all sorts of people from across the whole spectrum of the church  and also included people from outside our church; people from local politics, from church leadership and from the volunteer sector too. We were looking for “quality of data” rather than “quantity of input” at that stage,  which meant that not everyone could be involved, although everyone had already had a chance to input during the Listening Tour.

The focus groups gave great insight into how we are currently viewed as a church, some of the challenges we face, and also the aspirations we hold for ourselves, and out of all that data we began to recognise a simple clear contender for the new name … it actually came really easily.

At the same time, as a team, we were praying and asking God to speak prophetically, and we believe He has many times: to us as individuals, to and through Paul Graves, through prophetic contributions in meetings, through the focus groups, through wisdom and a sense of peace, and in prayer meetings too.

Making the call

So in the end, as an Eldership Team, we reached a decision on the name, and it was honestly a very easy call to make; we were simply confirming a unanimous sense of what everyone involved in the project believed God was saying to us.

So we’re changing the name of our church to: Welcome Church”

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The first Sunday under our new name will be Sunday 20th May, and between now and then we have some work to do to change a lot of things! The change is not now a secret, but we’re planning the publicity to start from May 14th onwards.

Incidentally, if you wonder where you’ve heard the name before, it’s the same name that Graham and Kimberley Allen, sent out from our church, gave to the church they planted in Austin Texas. Although our choice of name and our whole process was completely independent from that. I’ve spoken to Graham and he’s very pleased.

More than a name

Our new name is more than just a name; it’s something that reflects our whole culture, identity and purpose.

Let’s remember why we exist: we’re not here for our own benefit; the church has a mission! We exist to make disciples of all nations! We exist to serve this town and to reach out in love to people with the good news of Jesus.

That’s why we’ve come up with a new ‘strapline’ to go with our name, a strapline that captures some of the essence of the culture and message we want to communicate to people: “It matters that you’re here”

It Matters

Jesus has a purpose for each of our lives. Every person is precious to God. It matters that YOU exist; it matters that you’re here!

Jesus has a purpose for our church too, and that purpose is not about us being warm and comfortable in a nicely ordered church meeting! There are thousands of people in Woking who God is calling us to serve and reach out to with his love and grace, and we’ve hardly begun. We each have a part to play; it matters that you’re here.

A new vision

In my next blog I’ll talk about our new vision statement and our new mission statement, but that’s enough information for one blog!

 

Focussing Our Vision

This Sunday evening (22nd April, 6.30pm at The Coign Church building) we have our next Vision Focus evening, and it’s going to be a key one for our church.

During the evening, among other things, we will reveal the new name for our church, along with details of a new Vision Statement and Mission Statement and of course a new logo and artwork. It’s going to be a very significant time for us together, which will shape our culture and focus our vision more sharply for the way ahead.

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Let’s focus our vision for the future

On the three Sundays following this (29th April; 6th May; 13th May) we will be holding gift days to help fund our new building project. These are also very significant for us and will shape our future as well.

There’s a lot going on right now!

Pressing forward in faith

Two weeks ago I spoke about growing in faith, looking at the story of Jesus healing a man who had been born blind (John 9). Do have a listen if you missed it.

In the talk I listed seven barriers to faith:

  1. Misunderstanding
  2. Lack of knowledge
  3. Cynicism
  4. Religion
  5. Fear
  6. Self Righteousness
  7. Pride

These barriers to faith, can also be barriers in our hearts when it comes to our response to change.

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Sometimes we can’t see the end from the beginning, but we have faith in a God who can

As we go through these times of change, we each need to watch our hearts and ask if any of these  things are standing in the way of us fully and joyfully embracing where God is leading us together.

 

Which of these is is the biggest challenge for you personally?

Sometimes we can’t see the end from the beginning, but we have faith in a God who can.

A call to faith and prayer

As we go through these times of change together I want to call us to faith and to prayer.

I would encourage all of us to be at our prayer meetings during the following week (Tuesday 24th at 8pm; Wednesday 25th at 2pm and 8pm).

I would also encourage each of us to consider seeking God personally in periods prayer and fasting. We need God’s help as we move forward; our human efforts are not enough! Let’s be diligent to  bring our church before God in prayer during these weeks.

And please pray for your leaders too; we always need it and value it.

“… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph 6v18)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4v6-7)

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12v2)

Building Our Future Together

April is going to be a huge month for our church!

  • On April 22nd, at our Vision Focus Evening, we will be announcing the new name for our church, along with a new mission statement and a new vision statement (6.30pm at the Coign Church Building!)
  • In mid-April we intend to put in the planning application for our new building
  • At the end of April we will have the first of three Gift Sundays to fund the new building project
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Try to spot yourself

I feel like I’m at the top of a rollercoaster and it’s about to get very fast and very exciting! We’ve been climbing the slope together for a while now, and now it’s time to ‘go’.

The building project is key to our future together

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Please ask for a copy

To help communicate well with everyone, we’ve prepared a brochure which we’ve been giving out on Sundays (do ask if you want a copy – we can give one to you directly or post you one).

It looks like this:

The brochure contains lots of information about what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we hope to achieve.

It also contains information about the part we can each play to see this done

Standing on the shoulders of giants

As a church we are so privileged to have the land and the building we currently have, right at the heart of Woking Town Centre. We are reaping the benefits of the faith of a previous generation (some of whom are very much still with us!)

Now it’s time for us to step out in faith as others before us have done.

The first picture here shows an aerial view of the town centre, around 1930, and in the centre is our original building in Percy Street. The second picture shows our current building:

Why are we making these changes?

The building we have is not big enough for us and does not suit our purposes today – that’s why we meet elsewhere on a Sunday. It’s also in need of some work to bring it up to date. God is blessing our church, and we need a good building to do all God us calling us to do together.

What do we want to build?

Everyone has had the chance to see our plans and to comment on them, but in case you missed it: our plan is to create a new 675 seater hall at the back of our current site and to repurpose the current building to serve our kids work, our youth work, and our community. It will also host our offices.

This will give us several things:

  • A useable Sunday venue (no more 6.30am set up!)
  • A place to call home that will serve our church, with rooms for children’s work and youth work, crèche, offices, rooms for community use and more
  • A place from which to serve the community, in all sorts of ways
  • A place that will be a blessing to local residents; an oasis in a busy area of town 
  • A family home for our church in which we can grow and serve together

Ultimately we’re doing this to bring glory to God

This is about mission; this is about the Great Commission; this is about connecting with our town; this is about the gospel; this is about being a blessing to Woking.

These pictures give an idea of what we are planning to achieve:

Our next steps

The planning application should be put in during early to mid-April. Of course, in a process like this, we obviously can’t wait for that to come back before we start seeking funding; we need to raise finance now in order to secure the full funding we need.

I’ve talked elsewhere (and in the brochure) about what this will all cost, and our target right now is to raise around one and a half million pounds … ideally by the autumn.

Let’s see what God will do as we step out in faith together.

Gift Days

We will be holding Gift Days as a church on:

  • Sunday 29th April
  • Sunday 6th May
  • Sunday 13th May

The brochure contains information on lots of ways you can give to the building fund; some simple, some more complex. If you have any questions, please ask. We have also made a short video to explain what we are doing – you can watch that here:

The video should be visible above, if it’s not then please click here to view it.

There are three things we are now asking people to do:

  1. Read the brochure through – any questions, please ask!
  2. Pray for the planning permission to go through
  3. See what God is giving you faith to give, and then go for it in faith

These are exciting times for our church

Let’s step out in faith and let’s do something that will serve our church, serve this town and be a blessing to the generations that will follow us.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Jesus – Luke 6v38)

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(Paul – 2 Corinthians 9v6-7)