Towards the end of last semester we changed the name of our ministry from Vine to Kent Chi Alpha. We had been using the name Vine for the last four years as a way to sort of reinvent who we are. Previously the Chi Alpha here at Kent State was only for international students, but in 2009 we changed. We recognized what Jesus said in John 15 and began calling our new, more broad, community Vine. Most of that was really good, but some was not.
Jesus prayed in John 17:20-21 that all Christians would be unified as one.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you…”
In part we changed our name to Kent Chi Alpha because we want to do a better job at this. Vine was a creative name, but also confusing. Confusing because people didn’t know that we were are part of a larger community. It’s important for us that people know that we are part of a much bigger organization called Chi Alpha. This is a global organization that is strategically helping reconcile collegiate and university students to Christ. We have always been on the same team, never separate. Our name change helps reflect our desire to be unified.
We also changed our name because we want to be submissive to authority. Paul talked about how we should interact with authority in our lives at the beginning of Romans 13. Our national leadership at Chi Alpha never asked us to change our name, but we knew that they wished all Chi Alpha groups would identify themselves as such. So, without their prompting we took steps to begin the change from Vine to Kent Chi Alpha.
All of this cost us something. Obviously it cost us money. Right now we have boxes of t-shirts, pens, and promo material with the name Vine on it. These things need to be thrown away. Also destined for the trash bin are banners and old handouts. We needed to get a new website. New social media. What a hassle! Not so obvious is the countless retelling of why we changed our name (maybe this post will help with that).
It is good though. It feels good knowing that we are doing something to be more in line with what God wants us to do. It’s great to know that we are doing a better job at living out what Christ wants for us. Promoting unity and submitting to authority will always come with costs. We are finding out that those costs are well worth the investment.