Today was a big day at Oak Leaf Church in many respects. We had a big crowd this morning. We celebrated our fifth birthday as a church. We celebrated baptism at the river. It was a great day all around.
As promised, I also wanted to let you know about the big news I shared in this morning’s services. Oak Leaf Church and West Ridge Church merged back in January. A couple of months ago at the request of the Oak Leaf staff team, we began considering a name change for the campus. We’ve been praying through the change, talking with staff and volunteer leaders and considering all the pros and cons. Today, I shared with the church that we have decided to drop “Oak Leaf Church” and will take the “West Ridge Church” name.
There were a number of reasons for making this move. They include…
- Eliminating confusion for guests. For the past seven months, we’ve been trying to explain that we’re the Oak Leaf campus of West Ridge Church. We’ve been sending people to both the Oak Leaf and West Ridge websites for various resources. This name change will simplify next steps for people who are new to the church.
- Improving communications flow for our teams. As you might imagine, trying to maintain two separate brands was creating a lot of duplicated effort both in Cartersville and with our central support teams.
- Helping one of our church plants. Oak Leaf Church Canton originally was launched as a campus of Oak Leaf Church, but it eventually became a church plant that West Ridge Church has supported. With this name change, we will be able to give the Canton church our web domain. This will also make communications easier for them.
- Clarifying our mission, vision and values. There have been many questions over the last several months about West Ridge Church’s mission and vision. Beginning today, that becomes easier for us to communicate across all our campuses under one brand.
- Creating a fresh start in our community. Though the church has been around for five years, we get a brand new opportunity to shape the story we will tell as we engage our community.
- Unifying the church. West Ridge is one church meeting in three locations — Cartersville, East Paulding County and West Paulding County. Brian Bloye, our senior pastor, has already shared the vision is to open three more campuses in our region in the next three years. Obviously, having one name and one brand helps us keep unity across all the locations where our church meets.
Over the next several weeks, we will begin to implement the name change in our communications, on our website and with signage at the Cartersville location. We will use this opportunity to sync up branding in our kid’s and student ministries so we’re using the same language at every campus. We’ll also be adding license plates, stickers, t-shirts, invite cards etc. to help folks in Cartersville share their story and invite their friends.
I’m really excited about this change. I think this demonstration of unity is going to have a big impact in our community. Unfortunately, there are too many stories of churches splitting. This is a rare story of two churches coming together to leverage their resources for a bigger Kingdom impact.