Why the name Commonwealth?

Names are fascinating, their root, intent, and meaning.  A name can evoke a feeling
and have attachments to history, personalities and even places...

From the book of Genesis, we see that Adam was given the task of naming all that God had created. Throughout scripture, we see familiar characters renamed to denote a change or redirection or to indicate who the person was to become. When we name something, we claim ownership, a future, and a description of what we hope to offer to those around us.

Here are a few name changes you may recall... Abram, means "high father" — to Abraham, meaning "father of a multitude of many nations." Jacob, means "caught by the heel" — to Israel, meaning "God may prevail/he struggles w/God.” Jebediah, means "friend of God" — to Solomon, meaning "peaceful." Sarai, meaning "argumentative" — to Sarah, meaning "princess." Saul, meaning "prayed for" — to Paul, meaning "small/humble." Simon, meaning "he has heard" — to Peter, meaning "the rock." Joseph, meaning "he will add" — to Barnabas, meaning "son of encouragement."

Praying for Clarity:
The past several years, there was a sense from our leadership that when we prayed over South Knoxville, seeking to hear what Jesus is doing in this region of our city, that this new work could carry a name. It was exciting, to be able to claim ownership of an area, for the city, and who this team of pioneers would become. It was also equally a little intimidating. How could we possibly land on a name? What could describe the work we were dreaming of, as well as convey who we were being called to become for this community?

So Aaron and I continued to pray. We wanted to be in line with the Spirit. This is His work and needed to be His name. He knows who this group of people are today and who they are to become.

A Dream:
I, Erik, rarely remember my dreams. Dreams have not been a typical or frequent way that I hear wisdom or insight. So, when this particular dream came about, I was surprised that it contained the name of this new work. I called Aaron the next morning and shared cautiously what I had dreamed. It felt a little odd to say I dreamed the name. But the name resonated with him, and as we shared with others, we received nothing but affirmations of the new name Commonwealth. In its most basic form, Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a community
founded for the common good.

To us, "Common" describes the called and capable living in their context; embracing their brokenness, struggles, challenges; courageously inviting the gospel in their radius, community, neighborhood to redeem and redefine.

"Wealth" describes the spiritual generosity and giftedness that a collective can bring to honor the least, and the ultimate wealth that the gospel can bring in transforming the individual, family, community, and well-being of the city. All are invited to follow and to invite the gospel to transform, heal, and bring the life and light of Jesus for the renewal of all things.

We believe this name captures the hope and future of this new community. We love what the name says about what this group is to become.