What’s in a name? It turns out, quite a bit.
Naming or re-naming a parish group or ministry can breathe new life into it, if done with a mission and purpose in mind. Here are 3 things to consider as you get started.
1. Craft a Mission Statement
In order to figure out the perfect name, you’ll need to take the time to figure out what you want the group to be. A youth group is aiming for a different demographic than a group for seniors. The same is true for men’s and women’s groups. Decide if the group is more about friendship and fellowship, or if its focus is on worship. This can help you make a more concise list of possible names.
Examples of this at a national level can be found at Life Teen and FOCUS. Having your goal clearly stated, as these nationally known groups do, leaves little question about your target audience and what you want to accomplish.
2. Find Inspiration
This one could require some research. Look through your Bible for a verse that reflects your mission statement or demographic. For example, verses or words from Proverbs 31 (jewels, strength, dignity, blessed) can inspire a women’s group name. Similarly, a men’s group could draw from Hebrews 6:19 (steadfast, anchor).
The saints are another option. A group to support moms in the parish can use the names of St. Elizabeth or St. Monica, or a group that does outreach to the poor could be named for St. Francis. This can be a good option for a ministry with a more targeted focus, such as collecting clothes for the poor or offering English as a second language tutoring.
3. Know When to Keep it Simple
Sometimes the best options are the easiest to understand. Music ministry and hospitality team are self-explanatory. ProjectYM suggests using “ministry” or “team” instead of “group” in a name to make it more inviting. Or you can incorporate your parish name into the name of the groups. An example of this could be if your parish is called Church of the Nativity and groups are called Nativity Kids, Nativity Students, Nativity Women, and so on.
If you decide to get creative with your names, make it easy for a new or prospective parishioner to understand who the group is for and what it does. Ambiguity is not your friend here. Test any creative names with people in the parish. The best options will be ones that show purpose without much explanation.
What has worked for your parish in the past? Do you think the name of the ministry makes a difference in involvement? Let us know!