When you start something, you never know how it’s going to grow or change. That is true of Brentwood Church. The name Brentwood came from a street sign a mile or so from the rural church building we launched from in February 1999, so the title was at best geographical, but mostly random.
Yet today, the name has been our identifier for almost 20-years and gained meaning as our church’s influence has ebbed and flowed in the community. Change for change sake is not a worthy reason but change with a purpose is sometimes necessary. For example, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel to make a point. His new name became an identifier for a new work God was doing in and through him. His past was not omitted, but it had to be overshadowed by what was next.
I believe God is doing the same in our church. Essentially, Brentwood’s past is individually significant to us all for different reasons. God called each of us to serve and lead this church at various points on the timeline. Those reasons should not be discounted, but I believe God wants to make a point with a new name and season. He is not omitting our past, but it must be overshadowed by what is next.
Personally, when I look back on our history, I see a church doing good things over the years, but we had a Penuel experience (Gen 32:24-32) in 2012 whereby God spared our church’s life and marked us for something greater. These past 5 or so years have solidified that for me. Like the man, Israel, we are completely different. There is almost nothing recognizable about our church from our Penuel experience. Our vision, values, culture and leadership are the most noticeable transformations, but there are countless other things that make us indistinguishable from before.
So why change our name? Two Main Reasons: Calling & Timing.
Just like Israel, a name carries a calling. It’s time for our church to have a name that carries our calling. That’s why we will be known as Waymaker Church. The name, Waymaker, comes from the God-inspired vision and season we went after in 2016 that still drives us today.
A waymaker is someone who removes obstacles and builds bridges for people to get where they need to get and be who God created them to become. God proclaims this character trait and action through the prophet Isaiah: “See, I am doing a new thing…I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19)
God is a waymaker, and He’s created and redeemed us to be waymakers, too. Our world today is filled with people who need waymakers to help them rebuild broken lives — marriages, dreams, families, and futures — to lead them to new and deeper levels with Jesus Christ.
We’re seeing this happen now in our church. New people are coming to Sunday gatherings, and nearly every weekend people are raising their hand to believe and follow Jesus; they’re standing up and stepping out to respond to the next step God has for their life.
God calls us to be waymakers, so it fits that our name carries that calling.
It’s simply the right time. We celebrate our 20th anniversary in February 2019, which is a significant time to celebrate, but also to regenerate.
Also, we are building a building. Soon, signage and other identifiers will be designed and applied all over our permanent ministry facility. Practically, it makes sense to do this once and with our new name. But also, we launch a ministry institute in the Fall of 2019 for post high-school students, therefore we want it to carry our new name, as well.
God is a waymaker. He has made a way for our salvation through Jesus Christ; made a way for our transformation through His Holy Spirit; and made a way for our maturation and mobilization through His Church. So, let’s be His Church. Let’s team up. Let’s be waymakers.