Another Word for ‘Church’?

August 28, 2009 by

2009_08_20_Bluewater.jpgMy wife and I traveled to Hawaii a few weeks ago for a co-worker’s wedding. We stayed over an extra day and attended a church service in downtown Honolulu with a friend of many years who had just moved to Hawaii. The community she is a part of is called Bluewater Mission, a newer church plant by a Stanford and University of Chicago grad with roots in the Presbyterian Church and the Vineyard Church (what a combo!).

Aside from the refreshing collective of diverse people, gathered in a noisy community center to worship and learn from the Word, what struck me most was their name.

Bluewater Mission

Not Bluewater Church.

Bluewater Mission.


I think I like it.

The word “mission” conjures up all sorts of things in my mind, including:

  • Intentionality and focus
  • A task or duty to be completed
  • Sending out or being sent
  • A haven and refuge
  • A spiritual place

In other words, mission sounds a lot like church!

Bluewater Mission in Hawaii is not avoiding the word ‘church’–their materials use the word often–but they certainly seem to be helping to define or redefine church a bit more.

I’m not suggesting that the word “church” be eliminated, but in some contexts, cities or communities, I think the use of the word “church” needs greater clarity.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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6 Responses to “Another Word for ‘Church’?”

  • Jim
    August 29, 2009

    a friend of mine said that when they went through a transition that they went from being a stuffy church to a mission.

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  • Mark
    August 30, 2009

    Or they could be borrowing from the old Spanish outposts..
    =] makes me think of Zorro.

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  • Jonas
    August 30, 2009

    I think thats not bad.
    My church is named “Stadtmission Eickel” thats mean Citymission Eickel.

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  • Paul in Canada
    August 31, 2009

    I like it as well, but I know people who fret words like mission or crusade because of the militaristic overtones. Sometimes, however, a word just needs a break and then it’s ripe for a comeback.

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  • Steve"The Czar" Patton
    September 3, 2009

    Funny, in urban areas anything ending in “mission” is probably a shelter for the homeless. But hey, whatever works…

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  • C3 Trev
    September 11, 2009

    We just went through a global branding process. The journey was from Christian City Church to CCC to C3 and finally now to C3 Church. The branding firm (a secular firm in Australia) did a bunch of research and found out that people really didn’t know C3 was a church and they wanted to be upfront about that to avoid the feeling of being tricked. We are now C3 Church.

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