“Different Name, Same Game!” “Community Rules, Fellowship Drools!” “Community is Cool!” Those were just a few of the catchy slogans we brainstormed to announce this change. Not really. We have no plans for a big name change campaign. But we do want to tell you about it.
From the very early days of Redeemer, there has always been a major emphasis on community: being known, cared for, and living out our faith in the context of the Body of Christ, which sounds spiritual, but practically translates to “other people.” In fact, in many ways, building community is the essential component at Redeemer for our growth and flourishing.
Life together, lived through small groups that meet regularly to engage in worship, study the Bible, pray, share, and serve the city is the way this has primarily occurred. These ways of life together are not changing. In fact, as we move into distinct congregations, the desire for community is as great as it has ever been and we’re hopeful that our three Redeemers will lend themselves to a deeper experience of community. However, from the start, Redeemer has also always sought to be a church that draws in those unfamiliar with the ways or the language of the Church. So while the word ‘fellowship,’ known in Greek as kononia, is used to describe the rich togetherness the early church experienced, it may not be familiar to our neighbors whom we seek to welcome in to our congregations.
Hence, effective immediately, we are changing the name of our fellowship groups to Community Groups.
Obviously changing a name that has been in use for more than two decades will take more than merely deciding it is so. It will require a conscientious desire and effort by everyone. Let’s embrace it! Replacing the new name in every instance where the old name is in use is a mammoth task, one we’ve just begun to tackle. For instance, the titles for the staff working with Community Groups are now ‘Community Group Directors’ and ‘Community Group Interns.’ In the coming weeks and months, we will also be replacing the new name for the old one in our print materials and on the website. Please join the effort: Remind each other that you belong to a “community group” instead of a “fellowship group.” Let us know if you see places where we still need to make the change by emailing [email protected]—yes, the general email address for Community Groups has also changed. And you’re welcome to dream up your own clever catchphrase if you’d like to!