3 Step Process in Naming Your Church

Nailing down a new church name is on of the most important decisions you’ll ever make as a church planter. Not only does your church name serve as a first impression of your church, it serves as the heart of your brand. Remember, branding is about bonding. You want a name that resonates with your audience.  A name that is memorable and inviting.

I recommend this three-step process when identifying your church name.

#1 – Brainstorm.

Invite the right people to the meeting.  Invite potential church partners and those you trust and will help (not hinder) brainstorming.  Start by asking these questions.  After everybody is on the same page, open up the session for people to share church names.  Remember, this is not a time to edit or challenges names.  Simply communicate any word or phrase that comes to mind.

Conversation Guiding Questions:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we do?
  • How are we different than other churches?
  • Who is our potential audience?
  • What are they looking for?
  • What adjectives would you apply to your church?
  • Are there any metaphors or symbols that come to mind?

#2 – Evaluate.

Now it is time to narrow down your list to 5 names. Oftentimes, I provide people in brainstorming a marker and instruct them to put their initials by their Top 5 names.  After evaluating names, appraise the names on your brainstorm list using the following criteria. Strike any name that you can’t answer “yes”.

  1. Is it easy to say?
  2. Is it easy to spell?
  3. Does it resonate with your audience and culture?
  4. Is it legally available?
  5. Is it, or some logical form of it, available as a URL?
  6. Is it interesting or unique?
  7. Is it descriptive? If it’s not, that’s okay. You can always add a tagline or byline for description.

#3 – Feedback. Present your shortlist for feedback to as many potential church members as possible. Don’t simply hand your list to family and friends.  Be strategic.  Identify people within your community that fit your target audience.

Finalize a name based on your personal opinions and the feedback of others. Try not to second-guess yourself.

What other steps would you add to the process?

  • http://www.robertlanedesign.com/ Robert Lane

    Good list. I am sure most church planters/pastors would add prayer before, after, and during the working of these practical steps.

    • Tim

      Robert -

      Totally agree! Great addition to list. Leaders must pray for wisdom.

  • Paul Cockrum

    Tim, where … if anywhere … would focus groups appear in your suggested process?
    Thank you.

    • Tim

      Paul –
      Great question. I have led churches through Focus Groups at any point in the naming process. Focus Groups could easily fit before or after 1, 2, or 3. It all depends on how you want you to use Focus Groups. Do you want the Focus Group to help understand who you are? Or do you want the group to help you understand if the name is good and fitting? I love Focus Groups and find great value in what they offer. For more information on Focus Groups read http://timpeters.org/general/focus-groups/.


  • kerry

    Isn’t it GODS church? Where is His name? How can you have ONE church with many names?