Names are funny things. They are not meant for the people who own them. Names are meant for everyone else. So, our name must describe us in a way that others understand, not simply by the way that we see ourselves.
A couple of guys discussed this as we sat around a campfire. The discussion seemed to get us nowhere, because, everything that we might call ourselves gives someone an opportunity to misjudge us or to perceive us inaccurately. "The First Century Experiment" still avoids most of those pitfalls; but i that avoidance, it also says pretty much nothing about us (because most people haven't studied much about the First Century, and why that is so religiously significant.
I came up with some other names, a little bland. The first was "Mid-Valley Christian Synagogue." It's certainly to raise some eye-brows; and the manner in which people would be most likely to judge us would be (more or less) accurate.
Another person came up with the Title, "T.A.K.O.S. or Torah Observant Keepers of Sabbath"; but that's sure to alienate people who are early in their journey (most of them not even knowing what a Torah is). I have to admit that I grimaced, imagining a congregation full of cowboy boots, t-shirts, suspenders and stetsons.
After a downward spiral of despondency and ill-success, we nearly decided on "The unutterable name of the faithful assembly formerly known as the Church" or "Tunot-fafkac" for short.
Names of the founding officer is a biblical precedent. "The House of Stephanas" is described in 1st Corinthians 16. But, whose name would we use? And how would that name describe us to the community? We could call ourselves "The House of Yeshua"; but, again, the name means nothing to the community that has 98% illiteracy rate in anything Hebrew (though I've met a few who are actually able to swear in Yiddish). House of Jesus? Oh, that really sets us apart.
It started to get silly from there, even a little snide. "F.O.R.W.A.R.D. Foundation Messianic Assembly".
F.O.R.W.A.R.D stands for Followers of Righteousness Who Actually Read Directions. It just sort of grabs you with the humility of Moses and the meekness of Yeshua, does it not? Ummm... no.
How about "Brass Tacks Believers". I have to admit that I like this one... but, not everyone in our congregation is a former Marine.
A couple of more that had a decent ring to it were "NBC (Nothing But Christ) Hebrew Roots Community" and "OIC/Oh, I See (One In Christ) Hebrew Roots Assembly".
The whole acronym thing is a bit contagious. I came up with "Eber Christian House of Discipleship":"Eber" means Hebrew in Hebrew" and while the community still doesn't know any, it makes a cool acronym. "Echad" means "unity".
It's a difficult thing to be doing, particularly since an arbitrary decision inevitably alienates everyone, and everyone who has a suggestion, except one, will inevitably be shut down. And of anything, that is certainly not what we represent.
Still, in order to provide insurance for the financial protection of the community, we need to be incorporated, and in order to be incorporated, we need to have a name. And I really, really, really would like to have this resolved before we enter the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.