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Hi Dale,

As council chairman for our international congregation in Ethiopia, I was part of our name change process here, just last year. Our old name was the International Lutheran Church (ILC) and it was constantly getting confused with IEC (International Evangelical Church) which is a much bigger church then ours. Plus we were missing foreigners who were unfamiliar with what it means to be Lutheran (at least half of our members are not Lutheran, including me), but were not from a denominational background, or anyone new to church.

We put together a google document with our mission and vision and included a few bullet points on what it means to be a brand. Then we shared it with anyone in the congregation who wanted to be included, though in the end not all of them participated. There was a place to make a name suggestion and include a reason (if they had one) or how it related to our vision. We had a good number of responses and some people just endorsed what someone had said, which was fine.

The council then took all of those suggestions and we talked through each one, how it would be understood (including in our case within the context of different local languages as well as culturally), how it would be branded (we did not want another acronym), and was it mobile (we did not want to be locked into our location). 

We ended up with the name Redeemer International Congregation (of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus - the denomination), but just as Redeemer for short. Because we had allowed a lot of input, when we brought our recommendation back to the congregation for approval we simply explained how we had gone about our discussion and we had full approval for the new name. It was a good experience and then has been great to bring new focus into our congregation.

Hi Abigail,

I just read this post today, and even though we are eight years further along, there hasn't been much change in the way that short term missions are 'advertised'. Lets continue to work on moving away from service trips, to the idea of building relationships, or simply immersing oneself into the daily experiences of the countries we travel to. Lets learn from these "eye-opening" experiences and acknowledge the great privilege that we have in making these trips. 

A few months ago I completed my capstone research on the topic of the cultural dynamics of volunteerism between the global North and global South. There are so many level to this topic but hopefully we can find a way to do it right.


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