What is the Name of this Church?

Actually, the church itself doesn’t really have a name.

We do have a corporation that is legally named “The Church of the Chicagoans,” but that is not the church. Rather, the corporation exists only to care for our meeting hall and other legal matters. And, of course, we also use that designation online for our domain name so people can find us. But, we don’t take such descriptions as the name of the church itself, which is why we don’t display a name at the top of our website.

Why don’t we take a name for the church? In the New Testament, the believers simply came together wherever they lived as the church in that place, e.g. the church of God in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2), the church in Ephesus (Rev. 2:1), or the church of the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 1:1). So, when we do refer to ourselves as members of “the church in Chicago” or “the church of the Chicagoans,” it’s only as a description of who we are, not as a name for the church.

To “denominate” literally means “to give a name to; designate” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition). If we take a denominational name for ourselves, we would be dividing ourselves from our fellow believers who have not taken that same name. That is why, instead of giving ourselves a particular name, we just refer to ourselves as the church in the city where we live.

For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
– First Corinthians 1:11-13

In fact, a few verses before this, the Apostle Paul speaks of the fellowship God has actually called us into:

God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
– First Corinthians 1:9

This is the genuine, New Testament fellowship, and according to the Lord’s own word in His prayer on the night He was betrayed, it is by remaining in this fellowship to be genuinely one with our fellow believers that we show the world He really is the Christ, the one sent by the Father:

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
– John 17:20-21