This past weekend, COTES (Church on the Eastern Shore) became 3Circle Church. We changed the name of our church. Why would we do that? Our church is growing, healthy, and vibrant. We have experienced one of the strongest summers I’ve ever been a part of during my ministry. We did not experience the normal dip in attendance or financial contributions. So why change? Why take that risk and make that hard decision?
Simply put, we made the decision because we absolutely knew it needed to be done. Our church has an amazing 13 year history. Just over 10 years ago, two great pastors merged 2 passionate congregations and a great story began to be written. They didn’t just start a new church on the Eastern Shore, they started a different church. The vision was to reach people far from God. Under strong leadership and a unique vision, the church literally exploded. Chapter after chapter was written as people came to Christ and began to follow Him. I am grateful to the leaders who came before me as they worked, sacrificed, and led.
The name, however, was always a bit of tough spot. People would confuse the church with other Eastern Shore churches, and they would ask which church on the eastern shore it was since there are many. The church then abbreviated the name to COTES. This was great for those already in the church, but for anyone outside it became problematic and confusing. What is “COTES?” 3 years ago, the problem came to a definitive moment when the church decided to start multisite campuses. There is no “eastern shore” in Thomasville, AL where we have a campus! Also, the global impact of the church had grown tremendously. So the wrestling match took on even more urgency.
A year ago, I had the honor to become the new lead pastor at COTES. We have enjoyed a year of tremendous growth both deep and wide at our church. I preached a series in the spring called “3 Circles” based on Acts 1:8. It was out of this series that our team began to see the possibility for a new name. Through much prayer the elders of our church decided that indeed God was leading us to become 3Circle Church. We didn’t look for a cool name. We weren’t interested in a relevant name. We wanted a name that truly represented our identity, our mission, and our vision.
3Circle truly is who we are as a church. In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave us a mission to take the Gospel and make disciples beginning local (Jerusalem), next regional (Judea/Samaria), and finally all over the world (global). We have anchored ourselves to the mission of Jesus. He gave us a 3Circle mission and we are a 3Circle church! We desire to lead people to reach up (worship), reach in (grow), and reach out (share) in all 3 circles.
Our 3Circle name represents not only our mission but also our theology, Christology, governance, doctrine of man, and more. Keep checking in with my blog as I break this down. I’m excited about this next chapter of our church. We didn’t close the book of COTES, we simply began a new chapter called 3Circle. The story that was started 13 years ago did not end, it is continuing!! Join us in writing this next chapter.