Check out these 8 reasons to change your youth group name:
1.) It’s not Gender Neutral
My youth group name is currently Army6:12. The problem is, not too many women find the military to be all that attractive. Why would they want to go to a group that sounds like a recruitment center? They wouldn’t. Why would they wear t-shirts with an Army6:12 logo on it? They wouldn’t. Does your name favor one gender over the other?
2.) It’s not Reflective of Your Ministry.
Army6:12 sounds like a youth group involved in charismatic spiritual warfare. Especially when you find out that our youth group verse is Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” But the truth is… my students have never prayed a hedge of protection over anyone, they haven’t prayed the blood of Christ over anyone, they don’t try to discern spirits or bind and loose demons. All of that language is totally foreign to them. We aren’t a spiritual warfare youth group. Does your name fit your group? Are you catching on fire? Imploding? Shaking the Earth?
3.) It’s Old or Fad Based
MTV is a youth group name. It stands for More Than Victorious. There was a time when MTV was cool and current. That time has passed. There was also a time when Army6:12 sounded cool, especially for teens in Western PA. Luckily, things are changing. If your youth group name is out of date… consider doing something about it and please don’t change it to another fad based name.
4.) It’s Confusing or Off-Putting
Army6:12 just followed you on twitter. Here’s where your brain goes. Is someone trying to recruit you into the military? Are you in danger? Should you be worried? Oh… the description says they’re a youth group… Are they like those Westboro Baptist guys? Are they some sort of radical ultra conservative militant group? Should I bring a gun to this group? What’s a 6:12? Does is start at 6:12? Is it for 6-12 year olds? I’m too old for this group. 6 seems too young to be playing with guns. I’ll pray for them.
Read your name as an outsider. If someone has never been to church before, would they know you were a youth group? My friend’s youth group is called Renew Youth Group or RYG for short. I love that he didn’t just call himself Renew. People would’ve thought it was some sort of retirement resort or day spa. What does your name suggest about you? If your name is PYRO, are you sure you’re not limiting yourself to too specific of an audience? Is anyone going to go to Area 51? I hope so but they probably won’t find what they’re expecting.
5.) You’ve Expanded Past Your Original Scope
Hopefully your ministry has grown since it became yours. Army6:12 stands for Armbrust Youth grades 6-12. Truthfully though, we do a lot of ministry with people who don’t know what the small town of Armbrust is. We’re reaching more and more people outside of our walls and we’re not an inwardly focused ministry. Maybe your name suited you when you let your three student youth group get away with naming the group “Youth Group.” But it might be time to move on now.
6.) Your Brand is Boring
Studies show that brands are stickier and more attractive if people have to do a little bit of guess work. Armbrust Wesleyan Church Middle & High School Student Ministry is boring. It takes all of the fun out of it. I’m not suggesting buzzwords like Motion or Anchor or Ablaze or Ignition or Downpour or Tsunami or Wired or Unplugged. Which brings me to my next point.
7.) You’re a Buzzword
Some people try to avoid "boring" so much that it's their only focus. The pendulum swings and they end up going too far in the opposite direction. One youth group can be named Motion while the next youth group is named Anchor. Or one can be named CIA while the other is named Underground. One is Ablaze and the other is Extinguish. What’s my point? There’s no way that Christianity ought to be so convoluted and contradictory. I mean, yes we’ve got some beautiful paradoxes up our sleeve but why on earth are youth groups on totally opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to their names? It doesn’t seem to happen in any other industry. I think it’s because they’re filled with meaningless buzzwords. Don’t call yourself something solely because you think it sounds cool. Chances are you’re too old to get it right anyways. There's a reason that soda pop brands sound like soda pop brands and energy drinks sound like energy drinks and herbal teas sound like herbal teas. Figure out who you are and embrace it.
8.) You’re Named After a Season
I don’t mean Spring, Winter, Fall or Summer. I mean… sometimes God leads a ministry in a new direction or a new season. A church I knew recently went through “Cannonball” it was their name for what God was doing in their ministry during the year or two that they went through this phase together. When God is taking a church somewhere often this happens in steps and often those steps can be identified and doing so helps to keep your community in the loop. He’ll do this with youth groups too but that doesn’t mean your youth group name needs to change. So perhaps God is leading you through a series of refreshment… you don’t need to change your name to Oasis. Although you can start an Oasis blog or something of the sort that is only meant to last for a period of time until you can identify the next season God is taking you into. Identify your seasons but don't name yourself after them.
Have you rebranded before? Was it due to one of these reasons or another reason that we overlooked? Do you disagree with something on this list?