One question we get asked with some element of passion or even anger is, “Why did you change the name of the church?” It’s usually followed by, “It was an institution, an 82 year old congregation!” (and usually accompanied by a furrowed brow of someone who doesn’t attend). (For the longer and more detailed answer, please refer to the messages preached February 12th and 19th, 2017). You can listen to them here. For the shorter and more succinct answer, I tell people this. The purpose of the church (not just this church), but every church, is to be obedient to the command of Jesus to “Go and make disciples! (Matt. 28:19-20). If we cease to do that, we cease to be a church! For good or bad, Temple had a reputation in this community, some considered Temple as an “all-white” church, as a church that keeps to themselves, or a church that doesn’t engage the community any longer and at the very least, a church that wasn’t growing any more. We felt like we needed to show the community that we weren’t the same church any longer. We were changing and growing, being intentional about creating a new conversation and earning a reputation with our neighbors here among us in Southwest Little Rock, that we love them, want to care for and serve them, and that we weren’t going anywhere. This is where God has called us and we WILL make Him known in this place.

We felt like we didn’t have the time or energy to repair or redefine who Temple was, but felt led of the Lord to start over. We wanted our name (South City Church) to be synonymous with the core values of our mission. We hope that when people think about South City, they think of a multi-cultural, multi-generational family where ALL people are loved and the gospel of Jesus is being made known through the lives of authentic disciples who make disciples for the glory of God and the good of the city.

It’s easy for churches and denominations to be hyper-focused on themselves and their interests and make the mission of Jesus secondary. Our desire is to be a kingdom church where the truth of the word of God is impacting the lives of our people and the communities we live in. Our focus has to stay on His mission, not tradition or the past, but the hope of what God may do in the future. The Lord laid on my heart that this change was not about former glory, but future significance.

Names are important and many times in scripture we see the Lord do a powerful work in someone’s life and then rename that person, giving that significant life change credibility by giving them a new identity (Abram – Abraham, Sarai – Sarah, Jacob – Israel, Simon – Peter, Saul – Paul). God is doing a powerful work here and that work is not based on or about the names of Temple or South City, but instead the name of Jesus. That He be known and lifted up here in this place. Nothing is more important than doing whatever we have to, in order see that the gospel of Jesus goes forth. Our decision to change the name was one we bathed in prayer and there were many nights I laid awake in bed hoping I wouldn’t make a horrible mistake. God in His grace, is doing a new thing here and “new wine needs a new wine skin”. Some drastic changes had to be made and the name change was one of many.

Ecclesiastes says that there is a season for everything, and the season of ministry for Temple had come to an end as it was, but in that death God is bringing forth life and new birth of a wonderful community (South City) rooted in the strength and history of a wonderful church community (Temple) that went before it. It’s not the same church, it’s a new church with a new vision, born from grace of God and sacrifice of a group of people more concerned with the gospel and mission of Jesus than the name of a church that was dying a slow death.

The name South City Church, speaks to our mission and God’s sovereign placement here in Southwest Little Rock. We’re South of the city and we will seek to be faithful to proclaim the love story of Jesus in this community, city and around the world. Our logo has a red quadrant that represents Southwest Little Rock and the covering of the blood of Christ on this work and these people!

South City Church exists to love God and ALL people by becoming authentic disciples who make disciples for the glory of God and the good of the city!

Drew Cline
Lead Pastor
South City Church