Names. What something is called often carries meaning beyond the obvious. Have you ever struggled with a naming issue? It seems to start with kids. “What will we name our first child?” This is often part of the pre-marital discussion that then ramps up as grandparents hint to the newly married, or not so newly married couple, contemplating the naming and arrival of that first child. (That first or second or third Grandchild)
If you enter the business world, the “What are we going to call it?” takes on a significance of its own. If you are going to launch a new business or entity the “name game” goes from significant to emotionally personal.
Let me give you some examples: Judy and I agreed that our first daughter was going to be called “Beth” and that her given name was to be Elizabeth. Then we made our first mistake; we told our parents. They were great with Beth but Elizabeth brought up issues from all sides. So we retreated into our silent place and said we were no longer considering Elizabeth. After some searching, we then landed on Bethany. Everybody happy? That was only after the arrival of the object of our affection. An interesting thing, at age 21 she switched from Beth to Bethany and apparently loves it to this day. Fascinating how that worked out!
Then there is our ministry/business Envoy Financial. Way back in 1991 when we started, we were looking for a name and an attorney friend from Detroit suggested Christian Retirement Coalition. The idea of “coalitions” was a hot topic back then so we went with it. 10 years later when we did some small group interviews and we discovered that people loved what we were doing but had a real aversion to the name. Who knew? So with that in mind, in 2004 after reflecting on what was critical to our ministry, a consultant friend suggested a name referred to in Proverbs, Envoy. An Envoy is a "trusted messenger". So Envoy it became, with Trusted Advice along The Way.
Interesting how names become important. Our pastor did a series on the names used to describe God - 16 of them as I remember and all of which added or came from one of His basic attributes. Going to the other extreme, it seems as if one of our political candidates for office has made an art of calling people names as a way of discrediting them. Pejorative name calling as part of character assassination is rampant and has always been part of making someone else feel “less than”.
If we elevate the discussion a bit, we can all acknowledge that the use of language is important. Important as it lets others see into your soul, allows them to see who you are, how you think, as well as what you consider important. I recently took a great course from a national seminary on preaching. The focus of the course was on how you communicate the living reality of God in our lives to listeners in a way that impacts, changes, and re-directs their life. It is all about God’s truths and the way that you communicate them at a given time, to a given group and in a compelling way. What a challenge! My appreciation for the weekly work of sermon preparation required by a dedicated preaching servant of God has gone from appreciation to amazement.
So what is in a name? Purpose, meaning, hope, head, heart and hands are the key elements. I’m currently working to come up with the name of what I was going to call The Future Funded Ministry Foundation. With the help of some friends, I have come to realize that Future Funded Ministry addresses the critical component of funding your God implanted vision for your future and then the action plan for it. Yet, the idea of being faithful in all seasons, or faithful for a lifetime, encompasses and is a forerunner to the Future Funded Ministry thinking and planning process. Faithful for a Lifetime seems to grab the overall idea, yet is not a compelling name. Faithful for a Lifetime is the tag line, but not a name.
I’ve been researching, both with prayer and my keyboard, for that right name. As a result, I now have much greater insight into those words that are guiding the thought process and listed at the top of this section of the blog: Purpose, meaning, hope, head, heart and hands.
For example: meaning has to do with intent, while purpose moves towards action. Hope connects to vision and future; head with understanding. The Holy Spirit gives leadership knowledge and wisdom. Heart is where you hear the Holy Spirit prompt and hands are where the Spirit strengthens and upholds.
So what one or two words will engage the reader with those ideas? I need a name. The message needs a name.
I appreciate your prayers of support in this process and ask for your input into launching this next stage of exploring and delivering what it means to be Faithful for Lifetime to our wider Christian Community.
And never forget the name that is above all names……Jesus.