What's in a name? When it comes to college students and young adults, a name can be significant. So what should you call your college ministry? Well, that depends.
In a world where marketing happens everywhere we look, it's important that your name clearly communicates who you are and what you're about. You want visitors to be able to easily identify the group that is right for them. Here are a few things to consider as you decide on a name.
1. Who is your target audience?
If your church is in a traditional college town, and you are specifically targeting those who are in college only, using college in your name can be a good thing. It can even work if most of your group is in college or is college-aged. You might ask, "How do those in our group identify themselves?" Do they see themselves primarily as students?
With the growth of commuter campuses, many students are attending classes and working and may not primarily identify themselves as college students. Think about the group you have. If a large number in the group are not attending school or have graduated consider using "young adult" in your group name. If you're trying to combine both groups and neither label seems to fit, go to the next question.
2. What is our primary purpose?
Depending on your context, "college at ___" or ____ Young Adult might suffice, but you may also want to consider a name that communicates what your purpose is. Names like "Passion," "Unite," "Community," "Life" speak of the goal of the group or movement. How might you communicate what your group is about?
3. Keep it simple. Make sure the name you choose is clear and easy to remember. Will the name help students invite friends to the group?
4. Involve the group in the process. Your group needs to have a sense of ownership in who they are. Allowing them to be a part of the process of selecting the name can help. Recruit a team that will help with naming. Have a brainstorming session, take a survey. Of course there may be a time to make an executive decision, but inviting the group into the process can be invaluable.
5. Take time to test out your new name. Many groups have adopted a new name only to discover that another group close by uses the same name. Or perhaps there is a campus group or business in your community with a similar name that might be confusing to visitors. Ask for feedback from other church staff members, group members and outsiders.
6. Choose a name you will keep long term. Frequent name changes can be confusing, especially to students who due to schedule changes and other circumstances may cycle in and out of the group. There are many great college ministries that have kept their names for years. Their reputation over time makes it easier for former students to recommend them to new students. May your new name become known for life changing college ministry.
*You might want to take a few tips on the name game from the business world. Here's a video from Entrepreneur magazine with some good tips on naming a business: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/21774
How did you name your college group? Tell us here on our Facebook page.