God has called us to bring Him glory by inviting neighbors to find a home in Christ together. We have received this vocation in the parable of the wedding feast, a time when the King invited all his subjects to attend the wedding feast of his Son. Despite rejections and setbacks, the King persisted in deploying his servants to make sure that those from the “highways and byways” received an invitation to this royal, joyous event. He also then sought to confirm that everyone attending this special event was clothed in the appropriate attire to bring glory and honor to the King. We understand this parable calls us to make sure we are appropriately clothed with the gospel of Jesus Christ and inviting as many as possible to the King’s banquet.
We have launched “new beginnings” in the spirit of responding to God’s calling to our company of faith. Through a prayerful process, our leadership has determined that a practical step is needed: a friendly new identity. We proposed to our church family in a September 2012 business meeting that we honor our purpose and calling by changing our church name of 47 years… Conference Baptist. We had previously concluded that the term “Conference” meant many meaningful things to us; however, it didn’t mean anything to our community. Further, the term “Baptist” led to perceptions of rigidity, legalism, or fanaticism. These perceptions get in the way of fulfilling our mission of inviting neighbors to find a home in Christ. 98% of those gathered agreed that it was time to change our name.
Our pastoral team began a teaching series on name changes in Scripture. Further, our governing board assigned a “Name Advisory Group” to recommend a new name. For six weeks we received over 80 suggestions from our church family. Our Name Advisory Group gathered those suggestions and listened to wise counsel from a variety of sources. We entered a season of prayer. After processing all factors, our advisory group came back to our governing board at the beginning of November with a name proposal—Aspen Ridge Church. After processing this proposal, our elder board agreed to forward this proposal to the entire church on November 11th. The board made a formal recommendation to change our constitution to reflect this new identity, with a vote called for December 16th. This proposal passed with a 95% affirmative vote.
Our hope and prayer is that the gospel receives the widest possible hearing in our community, and that it results in many people embracing that gospel in such a way that they find their home in Christ.