Sacramento, CA

Communicating Who We Are

We recently changed our tag line, and I know some people are wondering why. Are we just trying to be trendy?

When we changed the name of the church to The Orchard, it was important to to us that we identify ourselves as a church (since our name doesn’t have something like “Church” or “Christian Fellowship” in it). We didn’t want people to have to wonder what “The Orchard” is. (Is it a garden supply store? Do they sell apples?) The natural choice for us was to add a tag line saying simply: an Evangelical Free Church. After all, that’s what we are. Problem solved, right? Not exactly.

We’ve been running into two issues with this description in our logo. We’ve found that a large number of Christians don’t have any idea what an “Evangelical Free Church” is. This has become a frequent question we receive from Christian visitors. One even asked if “Evangelical Free” meant that we are free of evangelicals! We’ve also found that many non-Christians now associate the word “evangelical” with a particular political identity. We’ve had to explain that “evangelical” means that we’re a church who’s focused on the Good News of Jesus Christ and what that means for all of us, and that we have people who are part of our church (and who lead in our church) with very different political viewpoints.

This second issue is most troubling to us because our desire is to reach out to people who are not already followers of Christ. What we’ve found is that our tag line wasn’t accurately communicating who we are to believers or unbelievers. We don’t care about being trendy, but we do care about accurate communication and not unnecessarily obstructing people from engaging with us. So we decided to change it to something that would give a clear, simple picture of who we are as a church. Now our tag line identifies us as: “a Jesus-following church.” We feel this gets at the heart of who we are, without adding a lot of unnecessary and inaccurate baggage. Of course, declaring ourselves to be a Jesus-following church also means we are responsible to actually follow Jesus! But then, that’s exactly what we’re supposed to be doing already, isn’t it?

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