• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

A 'journey' to a new name

JOURNEY CHURCH is the new name of Woodford Community Christian Church, where members and guests gathered for food and fun outside the Hope Lane church after morning services Sunday. Pastor Randy Nation said the church's new name better reflects its mission: To move people on a simple journey towards Jesus. (Photo submitted)

After weeks of hints, teases and even advertisements, one of Woodford County's largest churches celebrated Sunday with food, fun and a name change: Woodford Community Christian Church is now Journey Church. Attendees of both morning worship services were given the news via a multimedia presentation that began with drone-filmed video of the church and property, then, switched, to great applause, to the church's new moniker. Pastor Randy Nation said the process that led to the name change began about three years ago, when he and church leaders believed it was time to refocus the church and its vision. "At that point, we determined that we were really led to be a church that leads people on a simple journey to Jesus. And so that being our vision, we set about trying to ingrain that into our minds and into the minds of our people and . just the thought process that this is what we're all about ." Nation said. "Everybody's on a journey, everybody's going somewhere, (and we want) to always try to give them a great destination and somewhere they can find hope and joy in the journey." Nation said the church's old four-word name was not only a "bit unwieldy" but also often gotten wrong by people who didn't attend. Last year, they established large focus groups and hired a consultant to identify the strengths of the church. Suggestions were solicited, and close observers likely noticed that Nation often used the word "journey" in his sermons. "My messages in the few years have talked a lot about that, so there were people who probably had a really good idea. We tried to generate some excitement by letting people guess and everything, but it was hard, and a lot of people, I think, had already figured it out," Nation said. Next month marks the beginning of the church's 20th year. Sunday, members and guests stayed after both services, eating hamburgers and hotdogs, with the younger set playing with balloons and on a bouncy slide. Nation knows there's plenty of work to do to spread the good word about his church, its new name, and the mission that hasn't changed: To move people on a simple journey towards Jesus. "This is my world. I think everybody knows who we are, where we are, everything. But the reality is that even in a small community, people don't know things - they don't know about our church, they don't know where we are, and that's one of the things that we felt like was part of the need to kind of brand ourselves clearly . "We feel really good about where we are, and we're ready to go."

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