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'Church by the Side of the Road' and other unusual church names
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Recently, I heard about a church named “Church by the Side of the Road.” No doubt there was a good reason for this name, although the name conjured up pictures in my head of a church broken down and abandoned on the roadside.

I once served as pastor of Calhoun Baptist Church in Hot Coffee, Miss. I told the congregation that it would be fun to change the name of the church to Hot Coffee Baptist Church, but I got in hot water for that idea. They probably would have sent me to Boiling Springs Baptist Church in Soperton, if they had known about it, or Hot House Baptist Church in Mineral Bluff.

Nevertheless, that experience caused me to pay attention to unusual church names.

Some church names are hard to say, and some are confusing to read. Eastabutchie Baptist Church in Eastabutchie, Miss., is a real tongue-twister. Saint James the Less Catholic Church is located in New Orleans. They need to be careful how they list their name on their sign, because they don’t want anybody to think they’re “Less Catholic.” I wonder if Spray United Methodist Church in Eden, N.C., believes that sprinkling is not enough. A congregation in Cape Coral, Fla., is named “Church Today.” Can you imagine the confusion when you ask a member, “Have you been to church today?”

Many churches are named “Unity” and “Harmony,” but two churches located in Texas aren’t so friendly-sounding: Divide Baptist Church and Petty United Methodist Church.

In Virginia, they have a Naked Creek Church. It’s good to know that the creek is naked, rather than the church!

Our own state of Georgia is full of interesting church names. At Christmas time, I’d love to visit Star of Bethlehem Baptist in Douglasville. It would be special to celebrate communion at Church of the Living Bread in Stone Mountain. If I was looking for a friendly church in Atlanta, I would certainly check out Welcome All Baptist Church (there’s another one in Smyrna). I would expect to hear strong Biblical preaching at Nothing but the Word in Lithonia.

God’s Acre Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta must be on the perfect location. I’ve always heard that there is no perfect church, but the folks who go to Ideal Baptist Church may disagree.

Which reminds me that, while there is no perfect church, there is a church that is ideal for you, if you’ll just look around with an open mind and open heart. If the church loves Jesus, loves the Bible, and loves people, you should fit right in, even if the church has a funny name.

Read this column each Thursday for a mix of religion and humor. You can read more “Holy Humor” on the Web page of First Baptist Church of Rincon at