Summary: Koinonia means fellowship - whatï¿½s true fellowship, and how does this biblical word apply to our church
Whatï¿½s in a Name
June 14, 1009
Whatï¿½s in a name? Obviously not everything. The name, Kirk, for example, can mean ï¿½owned by the church.ï¿½ That might describe me, but certainly not Kirk.
Often, we expect names to tell us something about what weï¿½re looking for, what to expect from something, where to look for what we want or need. For example, if weï¿½re looking for toys for our children, the name Toys R Us tells us that weï¿½re probably looking in the right place. If weï¿½re looking for a steak dinner, Lone Star Steakhouse might be a place to start. If we want pancakes for breakfast, International House of Pancakes might be an option. If itï¿½s burgers we want, Burger King, Backyard Burgers, or Burger Street are some choices. You get the idea.
But some things are a bit more obscure. While the name Microsoft might tell us that this company makes software, the names Google or Linux donï¿½t tell us much all by themselves, at least to the uninitiated.
While American Airlines is obviously an airline, Ted might be almost any kind of company, or a nickname for a guy named Theodore. While Las Americas might seem to be obviously Mexican, Quiznos could be anything from Italian food to what it is ï¿½ a sandwich shop ï¿½ or almost anything else.
If weï¿½re looking for some sort of spiritual experience, we might look for things called churches. Of course, they can be all over the map, too, as far as the descriptive quality of their names.
Church names donï¿½t always tell you much. If they have the name of their denomination in them, theyï¿½ll tell you something. Immanuel Baptist Church down the street is a ï¿½ surprise ï¿½ Baptist church. But even that doesnï¿½t tell you everything you might need to know. Is it Southern Baptist, American Baptist, Regular Baptist, Independent Baptist, Free Will Baptist? Each of these Baptist denominations has its own distinctives. Their churches can be very different in style and in theology. You need more than just ï¿½somethingï¿½ Baptist church to tell you much about what the church teaches or believes.
Of course, itï¿½s not essential to have a name that tells all about you, whether youï¿½re a church, a restaurant, a store or some other entity. Yet, I began to think of this idea of names and what they might reveal, when Jim Garrett was presenting his paper at this yearï¿½s conclave, a rewrite of his paper from many years ago, What Is A New Testament Church?
In this paper, he outlined several distinctives of a New Testament church, highlighted from Acts 2:42, which says:
Acts 2:42 (NIV) They devoted themselves to the apostlesï¿½ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
One of Jimï¿½s subsections, the 2nd characteristic he mentioned about NT churches, is that New Testament churches are an organism, not an organization. As he read this section, I thought about TCF, and about how true this is, and that, through the years as TCF has evolved and changed, thatï¿½s now more true than ever of us ï¿½ weï¿½ve become an organism.