I pastor the First United Methodist Church of Euless. In United Methodist circles, this could be shortened to “First Euless.”
In Euless, though, “First Euless” is short for the First Baptist Church of Euless.
Nothing against the Baptist church in general or that one in particular, but I don’t want to be confused with them, or inadvertently steer people their way (when intending to steer them toward my own congregation).
This shortening is probably mostly a branding thing – shortened terms used to identify a specific place or thing. I get that. The additional benefit is the implicit positive connotations of the word “first.” It means – or suggests, perhaps – a prominence and superiority of quality.
Who, after all, doesn’t want to be first? I hate waiting in line, especially a long line. I’d like to be first.
So, now, enter Jesus. Trouble-making clever Jesus. In Matthew 20, Jesus responds to this desire to be first, best, on top, with the famous “So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last.” (CEB)
So now I am thinking about suggesting we change the name of our church to “Last United Methodist Church of Euless.”
What do you think?