Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

KCBT to Graceway in 68 Years. What About You?





Quite A Change!

My Arkansas City, Kansas High School friend, Geoffrey Adams, is now Jeff Adams, Ph.D. and the senior pastor of a very large urban church in Kansas City/Raytown, Missouri. Here is how they describe themselves on their website:

…you’ll quickly see that we don’t look like a typical Midwestern church. We are a multi-cultural, multi-generational congregation. Our church family consists of members of all ages from over 30 countries. Over 35 languages are spoken within our walls, including Spanish, Mandarin, French, Korean, and Swahili.

When the church was founded in the late 1940’s, Kansas City Baptist Temple sounded just fine. Pastor Adams speaks with respect and appreciation about the foundation that was established then and that has been maintained for decades through the commitment of members, pastoral teams and staff. But, in recent years the members and pastors felt the name was not effectively describing the message of the church to those they wanted to reach.

At first they took the Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC approach. Most members said KCBT and hoped no one would ask them to explain what kind of Baptists they were and why Baptists would have a temple, especially one that didn’t look anything like a temple. Finally they decided it was time to develop a new name that would take the emphasis off the description of a building and put it on their faith and what they felt it had to offer to others. Thus, Graceway.

I think the congregation will see their membership–and a resulting positive impact in the lives of members–grow dramatically over the next next year, as the new name allows them to be viewed differently by those who drive by or read or hear about them.  It’s not that the message of the church has changed, it’s that a potential barrier has been removed and replaced with an open door.

 What Barriers Keep People From Knowing The Real you?

In June I wrote an article about how we change and improve over time, especially in our knowledge and skills at work. I was inspired by watching the first Tron then the new one.  I heard from many people who could relate to the concept. It may be, however, that there are barriers  preventing coworkers, colleagues and others from seeing you as you really are, even when you know you have improved. Some of the most significant:

1. Appearance:  Even if it seems there is no expectation for good appearance at work (and it seems there isn’t in some workplaces), you should dress tastefully, appropriately and in a way that reflects good judgment for the work situation. Hairstyles, makeup, jewelry, fragrance and clothing choices should be an enhancement not a distraction to internal or external customers. The appearance of your workspace counts too! If anyone has ever “joked” about some aspect of your appearance, figure they were serious.

2. Conversation and Verbal Style: Habitual movements and gestures, speech patterns, tone, volume and rate of speaking, verbal habits and what you talk about most often, all can irritate, frustrate and distract people or engage them. Ask your best friend to tell you habits you have that someone might find problematic. Try to not let it hurt your feelings!

3. Results: Even though you may feel you have more to offer than others realize, they are looking for proof. If you aren’t getting positive results most of the time, living up to your promises and fulfilling the tasks you’ve been given, feeling new and improved on the inside won’t matter.

The bottom line:  Make sure you’re right about what you have been contributing and what value you can offer to others and the organization. Then, identify and remove any barriers so people can get to know and appreciate the real you for the first time or all over again. If Graceway can do it after 68 years as KCBT, you can!

August 14th, 2011 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development, Service to Customers, Clients and Coworkers | 19 comments


  1. We have a church here that went from First United Methodist to Celebration. That made no sense to me because it sounds like an events center not a church. You’re right, Graceway will probably get more people interested. It’s sure better than some of other names I’ve seen.

    Comment by wiseacre | August 15, 2011

  2. I like the new name for your friend’s church but I liked the lettering better on the other one. Maybe they can combine. 🙂

    Comment by R.Q. | August 15, 2011

  3. We have church here called Saint Bernard. I know that’s a real saint but you can imagine the jokes about it! The church near me used to be one thing and changed it to Prevailing Church. My MIL used to go to The One True Church. So, I’m used to odd names for churches. I go to a Community Church with a boring name but I when I don’t go on Sunday I feel out of sorts all week.

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what you wrote about barriers and I can see exactly what you mean in my own work. Very good ideas and I’m going to work at applying them to myself.

    Comment by Sierra | August 15, 2011

  4. Greetings Ms.Lewis-Rowe. I’m at your site to request the free church security material you offer for my church,First Baptist Cleveland (Tennessee). Naturally this article caught my eye. I have mixed feelings about changing to a more trendy name, however I can see the confusion the former name might cause. As long as God was in the naming and the changing, it will be effective for His purposes.

    Thank you for your wonderful work and your generosity with your time and talents.

    Comment by First Baptist Cleveland | August 15, 2011

  5. Tina – your thoughts and ability to write are so consistently good… 🙂

    Comment by John Mollison | August 16, 2011

  6. Hi Tina,
    I can really relate to your discussion regarding how to show others your value in the work place. I’ve seen several situations at my work where there are senior staff who obviously have a lot of knowledge, but they still disappoint because they make poor decisions, such as loudly making inappropriate personal remarks at work, and even really simple stuff like showing up on time and getting work done effectively. Then, these same people wonder why they don’t get the respect and rewards that they think they deserve. I think it’s a good point to do your best to look within and try to make better decisions, even if it’s a little painful.

    Comment by Lisa M. | August 16, 2011

  7. Tina, Thanks for the free PR! You nailed the issue when you said that a potential barrier has been removed and replaced with an open door. Great line! Your application of this principle to everyone regardless of vocation or place in life is valuable and well-expressed. Thanks for your fine work here!

    Comment by Jeff Adams | August 16, 2011

  8. This was a great use of the story about the church name. I would go to that one before I would go to a specific denomination, unless I knew a lot about it already. I also like the fact that it sounds good and something you’d want to experience rather than a few I have seen that are kind of scary.

    Sometimes a name will be mentioned here in the courthouse and everyone will cringe. Or, a name will be mentioned and everyone smiles or they pay more attention because they respect the person. I have wondered what people do when MY name is mentioned. It’s a scary thought and reminds me that a name can have a huge impact because of the associations in people’s minds. Thanks for your articles, I enjoy them even though I don’t comment very often.

    Comment by R.C., Jr. | August 16, 2011

  9. I went to the KCBT (oops, Graceway) website and have to tell you that I wish I could transport that church to Oakland! I love my church here (Hope Center) but I felt uplifted from reading all that they are doing in Kansas City and around the world! I was “raised” in a Christian denomination other than Baptist so I probably wouldn’t ever think to go to an obviously Baptist church (Or Methodist or whatever). No reason for that, I just wouldn’t do it. But I know I would be welcome at a church that points the way to God’s grace!

    Thank you for the church security material you offer. I also liked the way you explained how we make barriers at work. I used to block anyone from wanting to work with me by my attitude, which was holier-than-thou. God knocked that out of me by giving me a boss that made me toe the line. I was made a team leader several years ago and me and my team are the top producers, the most fun and the best cooks in the building! 🙂 You’re a precious person, I can tell, so keep on keeping on!

    Comment by AngelLove | August 16, 2011

  10. I like the new name very much, Tina. I’ve looked at your friend’s blog several times and can tell he is a staunch man of God who is a world traveler and missionary soul. I’m happy for the church in Kansas City as they open their doors even wider to bring in those who need to hear Christ’s message of grace. I will keep them in my prayers, as you always are.

    Comment by Don R. | August 16, 2011

  11. I really like your blog and read it almost every week. We are members of the NEW Graceway in Kansas City and love Jeff Adams and his whole family! This name change was led of God so our church could reach more people and I’m thrilled and proud of it. I pause after “Grace” so I get to say, Grace Way, which is what my husband and I found there. We almost didn’t go to KCBT because neither of us were Baptists, but soon we realized that they didn’t push being a Baptist they just opened our minds to becoming reborn in Christ. I love our new church and its new name,so thank you for writing about it.

    Comment by J and F | August 16, 2011

  12. Hmmmmm. I don’t know if I like these new kinds of church names or not. But, I’ll admit that as a Presby I probably wouldn’t even visit a Baptist church but I would visit a church called Graceway. I guess that proves their point! LOL

    Comment by Meeker | August 16, 2011

  13. There are plenty of Bible references about getting a new name, so I think it’s fine that the Spirit worked through the church membership to change the name. This was an interesting thing to share.

    Your post referred to appearances, conversations and results as sometimes being barriers to people knowing the real us. That is so true that I think it should be part of every new employee’s training. Looks DO matter. The way we talk matters. Quality of work matters. If those things are close to perfect but a person is still not being valued, then the problem is probably with the other person. But if any of those three are shakey, they should be fixed before pointing fingers at someone else. Good thoughts that I will use.

    Comment by Joy1972 | August 16, 2011

  14. Thanks so much for this post, Tina. As a member of Graceway, it was great to read such a perfect description of why we changed our name.

    I am also really inspired by your points about personal barriers in life and vocation. I really needed that, and it was very timely. I was particularly struck by RC Jr’s comment, “I have wondered what people do when MY name is mentioned.”. How often have we found in our lives that we have painted the wrong picture of who we are, what we stand for, and what we have to offer, and wish we could have a fresh start? Your insights have definitely inspired me to make that fresh start, and make it count.

    Comment by Steve Daniels | August 17, 2011

  15. I changed the name of the family business I inherited from my father and uncles because it was named after the street we used to live on and that got confusing especially when people didn’t call us because that street is now in a bad part of town. It was either change the name or close the business. A very hard decision to make though.

    I agree with the comment about painting the wrong picture of what we stand for and wishing we could start over. In my hometown where I live people remember the way I used to talk and act when I first got out of the military and thought I was tough. It’s extremely frustrating to not have people understand that I’ve changed. But, I’m working at it and have rehabilitated my reputation quite a bit. I enjoy your articles and apply them.

    Comment by E. A. W. | August 18, 2011

  16. My mother was a founding member of THE KANSAS CITY BAPTIST TEMPLE—-

    No need to change the name.

    I am sure Dr Zimmerman is NOT saying an amen to this!!

    My mom would not be thrilled either

    Comment by tom | September 22, 2011

  17. Do you attend this church?
    Probably not.

    Comment by Steve | March 11, 2015

  18. It all sounds so nice, but the truth is the name changed because the church has changed. It has left the “old paths” (Jer. 6:16) and is now contemporary and neo-evangelical. That is the bottom line. It is sad.

    Comment by Steve | March 8, 2016

  19. The motive in changing the name is all wrong. This is all part of a seeker-sensitive guru from a bunch of laodicean apostates like adam’s & crew who think the name “Baptist” now is a curse word. Either you don’t believe in “Baptist doctrine” of which you want to identify yourself as, or you really just want to be “closest-Baptists” but not in name, just so you can go out of your way to not offend new potential church members ($$$). “slutway”…oh I’m sorry, I mean “graceway,” formally KCBT, is not really a church anyone, but an entertainment community center. Such is the new way of the church of the laodiceans.

    Comment by Anthony | November 29, 2017

Leave a comment