We admit it, the name sounds more like a night club or a clothing store than a church. We’re not trying to hide who we are, and we’re definitely not concerned with being super hip or cool. We just wanted a name that expressed who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish.
Here are some of the reasons we chose The Exchange and what it means to us.
The Exchange - Between Us and God
The “Great Exchange,” if you will, took place when Jesus Christ took our place on the cross. Paul puts it this way: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8b) In other words, Jesus exchanged himself for you and me. He traded his life for ours.
Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us there. He didn’t just ransom us from death and walk away. Our Christian journey is a series of exchanges. We give him our righteousness, which is like filthy rags, and he gives us his righteousness, which is pretty much the opposite of filthy rags. We give him our temporal sadness and he gives us his everlasting joy. We give him our two fish and he gives us baskets left over.
What could be a better name for those who were and are being saved by this “Great Exchange”?
The Exchange - Between Us
We think it’s safe to say that God never intended his church to be a one man (or woman) show. Unfortunately, that’s how churches usually end up running. It’s not that people start out with that desire, but the pastor, as the leader of the church, usually becomes the center of attention. If we fall into this trap, we can miss one of the most beautiful types of exchange: the one that happens between believers. In his letter to the Colossians, the apostle says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) The writer doesn’t say “as you are being taught by the pastor” or “as you sing along with the worship leader.” He says that we have to have these interactions with each other. If we aren’t lifting each other up through our fellowship with one another, it doesn’t matter what the pastor does. Edification happens in our exchange with one another.
The Exchange - Between Us and Everyone Else
Have you ever watched a televangelist? Maybe the guy that sells miracle spring water or prayer clothes? Does it make you angry? If you’re like most people, it probably makes you mad because that wacko is representing Jesus. Whether we like it or not, God has decided to reveal himself through people. Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose who claims to be a follower of Christ. Thankfully, we do get to choose how we act. As a church, we are purposefully choosing to follow God’s heart in helping those who are underprivileged and disenfranchised, starting in Bradley County and going to the ends of the earth, or as far as our frequent flier miles will take us. The exchanges we have with our community will make all the difference in how our community perceives Jesus.
Now that you know a little about what we think of as The Exchange, what would you add? Do you have any stories about giving something up to God in exchange for something greater? Is there anything God’s asking you to exchange today that you’ve been holding on to?