One question that I’ve been asked on a number of occasions is “Why did you use ‘Community’ in your church’s name instead of ‘Presbyterian’?” Before I talk about the reason, let me first say that we are not in any way ashamed to be identified as Presbyterian. We are gladly and deliberately a church in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We are happy to place the letters “PCA” on our sign, in our bulletin, and on our letterhead.
So the, why is ‘Community’ in our name? There are at least three conscious reasons for doing so. First, there are very few PCA churches in our neck of the woods, which is northeastern Alabama. We are only the second PCA church in Calhoun County. There are other churches with Presbyterian in their name. We did not put Presbyterian in our name so that we might distinguish ourselves from those other churches. Even having done this, I am very often surprised to hear people from one of these other denominations who think that we are identified with them. No, we are PCA.
A second reason for having ‘Community’ as a part of our name relates to our purpose. We are here for our community. We want to be a church that has an impact on the community of Jacksonville. We want to be reaching out with the Gospel, ministering to the needs of the people in our community, and making a difference. This is why we are a part of Ignite, a group of churches in our county involved in mercy ministry. This is why we worked to bring Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) to the campus of Jacksonville State University and place a full time minister on campus. We are here for our community.
The third reason for having ‘Community’ in our name relates to the atmosphere of our church. We seek to be a place where believers are a part of a community or fellowship. We are not to be just individuals who wander into the same building for a couple of hours a week and then wander out again. We want to be people who are invested in one another’s lives, people who genuinely care for one another. We are not perfect people who come to be displays in a museum. We are sinners who come together to celebrate the grace by which we’ve been saved, to worship our Savior who redeemed us, and to encourage and love and support and comfort one another. We are a community where people who are struggling can find a helping hand instead of a pointing finger. We desire to be a community of grace and hope.