A True Face or Just a Façade — What's in the Name?


There seems to be a growing trend to drop the Christian Reformed Church ending on church websites, signs, bulletins, etc. Many new churches use supplemental tags such as Community, Ministries, or just plain "(Name) Church." The root identity of these churches can only be found under the "beliefs" section of their website, hidden in the small print, or not at all. We do not actively market the Christian Reformed name as much as we used to — but why? Are we embarrassed to be part of the CRC? Has the past tainted the current image? Should we continue to further ourselves from this? Are we fooling those on the outside by trying to hide our identities? It saddens me that some find it better, if not necessary, to remove the Christian Reformed name. What do you think?

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I am torn about this. I live in Grand Rapids, MI, where the CRC does NOT have the best reputation. When I moved here to attend Calvin College, I quickly learned that the sweet little old lady at Russ' could say, "Oh, you go to Calvin?" in a completely different tone than some of my co-workers would use in asking the same question.

With that said, I attend a church that has chosen to remove the "CRC" from its name, with the stated purpose of being more welcoming to those for whom "CRC" is a dirty word. Because I now work for the denomination (although the opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent my agency or the CRCNA as a whole!), I am more bothered by this than I might have been before I was employed by the denomination.

Maybe a better question would be, "How did we get to this place? Why do we have a PR problem? And is there anything we can do to change people's perceptions of what 'CRC' is about?"