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Church changes name after pandemic creates confusion about 'outbreak' affiliation

by Premier Journalist
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Stony Fork Community Church Website

While the pandemic caused many churches to close their doors, one church changed their name due to some confusing affiliations.

Stony Fork Community Church is based in Rock Hill, SC, where it boasted a moderate attendance rate and a growing congregation. While the congregation had only been open for a few years, it had a notable presence in the rural town of Rock Hill. It was also previously going by the name "Outbreak Church," When the pandemic hit, Stony Fork pastor Scott Carroll and the elders began to think about changing their name

According to Lifeway Research, Carroll says that the name originated through a discussion with another pastor in 2013. When asked what Carroll wanted his church's most obvious element to be, Carroll replied "I want to be around people who are so infected with Jesus that every time they turn around, they sneeze Jesus,’” When the other pastor compared his notion to an "outbreak", the two agreed upon their church's name; Outbreak Church.

Carroll told Lifeway that the entire church aesthetic was centered around the notion of outbreaks and pandemics, even including imagery of hazmat symbols and virus-like spreading of Jesus. It was an attractive and interesting notion; at least until March 2020. Carroll says that the name ended up being a stumbling block for many potential attendees. So the church changed it.

In his interview with Lifeway, Carroll established that the change was not a reaction to any external parties, such as the government, media or conspiracy theorists. The decision not change the name was "following the Holy Spirit's leadership in taking the next step for our community. I don’t want to keep anybody out of heaven because they didn’t like the name of our church.”

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