I am not sure who likes acronyms better churches or the government. In the government there is the FBI, CIA, DHS, FEMA, NSA the list goes on. As far as the church goes, when I first became the Children’s pastor of our church the name of the elementary ministry was R.O.C.K. Church, I honestly still don’t know what R.O.C.K. stood for. Better yet as a child of the 70’s I grew up in church during the height of what I call the “Acronym Age”. I attended a youth group that was named…..are you ready for this C.R.A.C.K. Whether the name congers up thoughts of drug use or of a plumbers anatomy neither are pleasant and neither make you think “I would like to send my kids there”. Another youth group I attended was T.R.E.K. (Kenny my sci-fi friend would have loved it.) Totally Radical Embassies of the Kingdom. Live long and prosper.
There are two basic methods for naming something with an acronym.
Method 1 – Start will a cool name that has nothing to do with church and cram one of the following words or a combination of the following words: Christ, Radical, Kingdom, Kids, or Christian into your cool name to make it sound “more Christian”
The Less popular Method 2 – Start with a cool name and then shorten it. This one has more to do with luck than it does with wit. Like accidentally finding out your phone number spells a word.
I do understand what acronyms are supposed to be for. Shortening long names to make them easier to say when you will be saying them quite often. Can you imagine how much less would get done by government agencies if they didn’t abbreviate! I digress. The main problem I personally have with acronyms is the present a “insider knowledge” jargon atmosphere.
The first reason for the overuse of acronym is cultural relevancy with a side order of Jesus. At least the government does it right the shorten a long name, in the church we take a short “cool” name and try to cram Jesus into it (C.R.A.C.K. “Christs Radical And Committed Kids”). Why, oh ,why must we do this.
The next reason I think people use acronyms is to help people remember your name. Yes, name recognition is good, but I think that we should be remembered by people because of the environment we create and the experience that people have. People remember things that touch them emotionally and spiritually.
The last reason I think people us acronyms to much is because they think if you name it they will C.O.M.E. Many times we put more brainstorming into getting a cool acronym than we do in creating environments where life-change can happen. Ultimately that is our goal creating a place for God to move on peoples lives.