Nearly 65 years ago our church was planted by a group of people who believed Fort Worth needed a different kind of church. Rather than attempting to build the best church in Fort Worth, they wanted to plant the best possible church for Fort Worth. A church dedicated to reaching, developing and launching Christ-centered difference-makers to every corner of their everyday lives. They decided to name it after the most Christ-centered difference-maker any of them knew: Dr. Samuel McKinney.
In 1954, McKinney, Texas was only a dot on a map. Hardly a place a person from Southwest Fort Worth would think about on a regular basis. However, today that is no longer the case. As our church continues to grow, the time has come for us to change our name as the extension of the work God called that original group of people to do.
Since you may have some questions about what this means for you and our church, here are a list of frequently asked question that we hope will help…
There are 3 primary reasons to change our name now.
Identity Confusion - For most of the nearly 65 years McKinney has been in existence, the confusion of a church named “McKinney” was mild, at best. In the past few years the rise of video venues and multi-site churches has made our name increasingly confusing, and frequently a barrier. We consistently hear stories of neighbors who initially say “no” to an invitation because they don’t want to drive an hour to get there, relatives who mistakenly book a hotel room in the wrong city because of our name, people who decided not to come to our church because they believed we were a satellite campus of another church, and people who have driven all the way to McKinney, Texas for a funeral, wedding, or worship service. Like the early church in Acts 15, we want to be quick to remove anything that is a barrier to people who are turning to God.
Vision - From the very first day it was planted, McKinney Memorial Bible Church had a vision to be the best possible church for our city. Wendell Johnston, McKinney’s first full-time pastor still tells the story of prayer-walking through a brand new neighborhood in Southwest Fort Worth called Wedgewood, praying that God would use the people of this new church to reach the people of Fort Worth. However, it’s increasingly hard to be the best church for a city whose first thought when they hear our name is of a city 60 miles away.
Opportunity - You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. We believe God has given us that opportunity as a church. To re-introduce ourselves to a city, while standing on the shoulders of our past. And to re-dedicate ourselves to being a church who exists to proclaim the glory of God (Doxology) wherever we live, work, play and worship. From the city where we live, to the ends of the earth.
Because it is the story of God and our church. Derived from two different words:
Doxa: The way God displays who He is and what He’s like.
Logos: The way God declares who He is and what He’s like.
Doxology means: To display and declare who God is and what He’s like everywhere we go.
Our greatest hesitation in making this decision has been working through our own personal grief over the possibility of the change. You see, our leadership loves McKinney Church. Many of our Elders were around in the early days of McKinney. We love the name McKinney and the story behind it. But more importantly, we love what the name has stood for all these years. From the very beginning, a “different kind of church,” dedicated to launching Christ-centered people to reflect who Jesus is and what He is like wherever we plant our feet. In many ways, we have come to believe that such a change is necessary to remain faithful to our legacy. We’ll never leave the story of Dr. McKinney behind. We’ll simply stand on his shoulders, and the shoulders of all those who have come before us, as we try to continue that legacy long into the future.
The process for making this decision has been a long and deliberate one. Our Elder Board (the body who holds the theology and vision of our church) has known for years that this decision would need to be made someday. Until about two years ago, the timing didn’t seem to be right for “someday” to be “these days.” However, about 2 years ago as the challenge continued to grow, the Elders began praying about making this change. They invited our pastoral Leadership Team to engage alongside them for a season of prayer and strategic conversations.
Those prayers and conversations progressed through the questions of: Do we have to change our name? If so, does it need to be now? And finally, “If now, what would we change the name to?”
After agreeing on what we believe is God’s direction on these questions, we began the process of sharing this vision and asking for feedback from our deacons and staff at large, all of our volunteer leaders, and ultimately with the congregation as a whole. Our desire has been at each step to share the vision, respond to questions, and humbly consider feedback. Our hope is that this process will lead the whole congregation to embrace this decision with as much excitement as our leadership has.
Believing that our membership will gain the same level of clarity and excitement around this decision as our leadership, we will have an affirmation vote on Sunday June 24th immediately following each worship service. We will announce the final decision the following Sunday as well as the timeline for formally changing our name to Doxology Bible Church.
As we’ve communicated about this with others, we’ve heard this question a lot. Especially from people who have ever tried to invite a neighbor to church, or a family member to a wedding or funeral! We know that for many in our church this decision has been a long time coming. However, it is not a decision we have taken lightly. Change is hard for many of us, so we waited until we were convinced that such a change was absolutely necessary. Even then, we wanted to remain patient throughout a season of prayer, brainstorming and conversation before deciding on the name Doxology Bible Church.
Assuming our members affirm the new name on June 24th, there is still a lot of work and preparation to do before officially changing our name to Doxology. We will take the next few months to make those preparations with the goal of having a celebration Sunday on October 28th, to mark an official change to Doxology Bible Church. Until that day we will continue to be McKinney Church.
Choosing a church name is not an easy thing to do. Names have meaning and we knew our name needed to point to who we have been as well as who we want to be. Our Elders and Leadership Team have literally discussed hundreds of possible names. We evaluated each one based on certain criteria which eliminated many of the names we did not choose in the end (names you might even be thinking about now).
Yes and Yes. Our formal name will be Doxology Bible Church. In many ways we view Bible in our name, like a person’s middle name. (Not in the sense that you only use it when you’re angry!) People don’t use their middle names in everyday conversation, unless it’s necessary or helpful as an identifier. However, that isn’t to say middle names are unimportant. They often have meaning, and can even honor the family’s past by choosing the name of a relative you want your child to grow up to be like. Even though we may not use our formal name often, just as we don’t often say the formal name of McKinney Memorial Bible Church, we want “Bible” to be our “middle name” as a way to honor our past and remind us of who we always want to be. We will always be a church that views the Bible as our supreme authority in all spiritual matters, and therefore will always be a “Bible” church.
Though in some ways we hope to continue the tradition of continual change for the sake of reaching our city with the gospel, we currently have no other significant changes on the horizon. This is another reason why this is the perfect time to change our name. It allows us to remind ourselves that we are not changing our name in order to change who we are as a church, because nothing else is changing. We are changing our name to live into who we already are as a church.
We will use various communication methods and mediums to make sure our neighbors are aware of the change. We will also directly communicate to all our existing partners, other churches in the area, and anyone else we have existing relationship with. However, our greatest method of communication will continue to be word of mouth through the people of our church. Your neighbors, friends, and family will form their opinion about what kind of church we are by what kind of person you are. As we get nearer the change, we will do our best to equip you with tools to share this exciting change with those around you as you continue to love where you live.
We love that question. The heart behind it is much of what drove the decision to change our name. We asked this question early-on ourselves and even engaged a consultant who specializes in these things to help us answer the question. Here are a few things they helped us clarify:
Yes. This is actually a change that Jose Luis and Iglesia McKinney are really excited about. They have found that the McKinney name is a greater barrier, and even more confusing to the community they are trying to reach as McKinney Church has no former reputation within the Spanish speaking community. This change will not only remove that barrier, but Jose Luis is excited about Doxology Church, “Doxology Espanol” for the same reasons we are. Finally, as mentioned before, this will also be a name which has the ability to travel with Iglesia McKinney when and if the time comes to launch them as an independent church.
All of our existing ministry names (Bridge, Encounter, Hero Central, etc.) will remain the same. As mentioned before, the only thing changing is the name of the church.
There are a variety of ways we’ve provided to answer your questions and concerns. First, we have created an FAQ sheet that may answer the question you are asking. You can find it in print at our gatherings as well as it will be online at doxology.church after the congregational announcement. We will continue to add questions to the FAQ throughout this process if we find there is a common question being asked that is not on there. Second, at each vision gathering we will provide an opportunity to turn in feedback and questions with the goal of having someone from church leadership follow up with you personally through email, phone, or in person depending which method will be most helpful to providing the information you desire. Lastly, after the congregational announcement on June 3rd we will be hosting several town hall gatherings to allow for your questions, feedback, and most importantly provide an opportunity to pray.
Absolutely. We are committed to making sure the name, story, and legacy of Dr. McKinney doesn’t go away even once it’s not the name of our church anymore. His is a story that represents a heritage we don’t want to lose. We’re currently working on a plan to honor and memorialize his story in a visible, clear, and tasteful way.
The number one thing we are asking everyone to do is pray. As you are praying please ask the Lord for these things:
Second, we would ask that you communicate with us. If you have a question, let us know. Don’t grind on anything that the enemy might use for division. Let’s talk. We know that a ton of people will be excited about this decision, as we’ve already begun to hear. However, in all of that excitement we don’t want to miss your voice. Our Elders and Pastors love you and would love the honor of processing this decision with you if that would be helpful.
The third thing you can do is, if you’re excited about it, let people know. This is especially true once our name changes. We’ll need your help telling our city about this new chapter in the McKinney story.
For those who would prefer a face to face conversation with some of our Elders and leadership team, we have provided a link to sign up for one of three vision gatherings. These will be an opportunity to pray and process this together through a discussion group format. We ask that you RSVP through the link in advance. This allows us to keep group sizes manageable so that it’s a conversation not a monologue. Our three Vision Gatherings will be on June 6th at 6:30pm, June 14th at 5:30pm, and June 18th at 6:30pm.