There is a small town in Canada having huge problems attracting tourists. The mayor has asked for help. It’s a very beautiful destination, full of happy locals. But no-one will visit. Why?

Well, its because the town’s is called Asbestos. Yep. I know what you’re thinking. But its true.

Is it possible to make Asbestos a place you’d like to visit?

A brilliant Australian TV program called ‘The Gruen Transfer’ has developed some adverts to help encourage people to visit the town (in a tongue in cheek kind of way). Check out the two TV creative executions selling the town (Warning: there is some bad language in one of the TV spots).

Churches often have a similar problem. They have a name that really sucks. Yet for some reason they think that their odd name will attract those from their wider community.

Here are a few that I’ve come across:

  • Little Hope Baptist Church
  • Original Church of God, Number 2
  • Boring Seventh Day Adventist Church (Led by Elder called Dull)
  • Waterproof Baptist Church
  • Country Club Christian Church
  • James Bond United Community Church (which has no association with St. Martini Lutheran Church 😉
  • First United Separated Baptist Church
  • First Church of the Last Chance World on Fire Revival and Military Academy
    (Thanks to Neil Cole for the list)

Unlike the town of Asbestos, churches can do something about it. Here are some smart tips:

1. Get approval about changing your name before you even start thinking about any names (whatever your church law requires you to do eg. Board, Elders or congregation).

2. Pray about it. Uh oh, I just got all spiritual. Well yes.

3. Avoid names that only insiders will understand.

4. Decide if you are going to be a local or regional church.

5. Don’t copy other church names – Don’t be a carbon copy. Be original!

6. Does the new name lower barriers to entry into your church or help?

7. Check to see if a domain name is available and buy every variation around your name.

8. Understand that renaming your church isn’t a magic bullet for growth.

9. Put an agreed timetable at the start of the project and stick to it.

10. Pay a professional to develop your new name and create your new identity. There are plenty of really good creatives out there who love Jesus. Let them lead you with creative strengths which will allow you to focus on leading the church with yours.

How about you, what tips do you have to share?