From time-to-time we ask our church members to vote on specific issues that relate to our core beliefs and strategies. On Sunday, October 10, we’ll vote to affirm our continued cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention, and to approve a simplification of our name in our church’s branding strategy.
Long Hollow has always been a body of believers that is proud to be biblical by conviction and Baptist by cooperation. We have been a cooperating member of the Southern Baptist Convention since our church was founded, and we will vote to reaffirm our association with the SBC on October 10.
As part of the SBC, we use the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 as our statement of faith, which you can read in detail on the “What We Believe” page of our website. We plant churches in partnership with the North American Mission Board (which is an SBC entity), and last year alone we gave $1,309,000 to the Cooperative Program and other SBC offerings to fund international missions, pastoral education, and more impactful ministries.
Part of our church’s DNA since the beginning is that we’ll do whatever it takes to reach our community with the hope of the Christ. While we will never compromise on the truth of God’s Word or the message of the Gospel, we’ve gone to great lengths over the years to contextualize and reimagine everything we do to best reach the community around us. This influences the style of music in our services, the shape and scope of our buildings, and even what ministries and outreach strategies we develop.
One change we want to make this year is to simplify our logo as part of a periodic refresh to our branding. The proposal is to simplify our spoken name to “Long Hollow” (like church members have done casually for more than a decade), and to simplify our printed name and logo to “Long Hollow Church” on places like the website, road signs, and social media.
We’ll vote as a church about this change in our branding on October 10. (Our legal name will remain Long Hollow Baptist Church, even if we finalize a change in our branding.)
Why are we removing the term “Baptist” from our branding?
We’re proposing this change for two reasons. First, we want to brand our church in line with what people actually call us; members and visitors rarely use our full name, and a cleaner logo is easier to recognize and remember.
Secondly, and more importantly, the word “baptist” (and denominational titles in general) can act as an unnecessary stumbling stone for many in our community who are searching for truth.
Does this mean that we will no longer be Baptist?
Not at all, and we’re voting to reaffirm our partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention on October 10.
Also, with the release of our new website this summer, one of our goals was to make our “What We Believe” section more discoverable and easier to read than ever before. We want our members and community to know our core beliefs and have the ability to explore the scriptures that inform them.
Are we ashamed to be Baptist?
To be clear, we are not ashamed of our Baptist convictions; instead, our goal with this change is that people would first encounter Jesus, and not a denominational road block, when they consider attending Long Hollow.
While “baptist” to us means a commitment to evangelism and biblical doctrine, to someone who is searching it might imply a stuffy atmosphere, a certain type of worship service, or other baggage that could influence their decision not to come. Fair or not, a bad experience with a previous church can be an obstacle to attending the same type of church in the future.
These issues are not unique to the Baptist denomination, but we want to do everything we can to make sure the Gospel is the first thing visitors think about when they attend a service.
What does it mean to be Southern Baptist?
The SBC is a collection of like-minded churches working in cooperation with one another to impact the whole world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are a cooperating partner church of the SBC, which means we align with the Southern Baptist Convention around a common purpose and set of beliefs, but operate independently as a local body of believers.