Name Change for Howick Baptist Church

"We live in a constantly changing world where an increasing number of people that we have contact with, and seek to win to Christ, have little or no church background. Denominations have by and large lost their meaning for many. With the exception of some, a growing number of people, (Baptist or any other grouping), when moving to a new town or city, will ultimately settle in a church that provides warm fellowship, good biblical preaching and teaching, and meaningful worship. The denomination is not a real factor.

The name ‘Baptist’ which has great meaning and relevance for us who can trace our conversation and early discipleship to a Baptist church, and who understand our history, has many strange connotations for the man in the street today. We have discovered the love of and care of others, or through a cell group, were initially very hesitant to attend because of the name ‘Baptist’ so prominently displayed. Some equated us with the little of Zionists dancing around in the veld, baptizing in rivers or the sea! Others believed that baptism was our central message, and that without being baptized one could not become a Christian. We also face the fact and problem that the name ‘Baptist’ is used by several other groups outside of our union of churches, some of them have doctrine not based on the Word of God, some are even cultish. As a church we believe that we must aim to fulfil the great commission in every way possible, and in doing that we must consistently “build bridges and not walls” between ourselves and the community.

With a spirit of servant hood to remove any obstacles from the path of those we seek to reach for Christ, and not holding to that which may be dear and meaningful to us who have walked the road many years, at a church meeting, it was agreed to change the name of our church to ‘Howick Community Church’. This change also reflects our mission to reach every sector of the community we live in for Christ. We believe that in the long term, with so many changes taking place in our society, that this move will benefit our ministry, especially with regard to the lost.

The name change does not signify nor anticipate a change in our membership of the Baptist Union of South Africa."

- Pastor Dereck Stone (Rev.)

(Baptist Today – Issue 3 July 2002)