A New Chapter & Church Identity

"New Year, New Me" is often said as we jump into another year of resolutions, changes, and hope for personal growth. Rarely do we say, "New Year, New Church," right? But, this year, that is our anthem.

2022, as we all likely know, was a difficult year for our church as God navigated us through many unique trials and circumstances surrounding one of our pastors, Matt Stokes, who was suspended for violating the biblical requirements of an elder/pastor.  He then subsequently walked out on the ministry during a church service on Sunday, April 24th.  To make matters more complicated and public, he then proceeded to file a civil lawsuit against key leaders, a few staff and congregants, and even one of our pastors’ wives, which the Bible prohibits in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.  These circumstances have without a doubt been grievous to our church community but we share these details as they have been the catalyst to this new chapter & church identity.

And yet, through the pain and confusion of it all, it was also a year of healing and church unity as we came together as a body to continue "to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-3). As we walked in that "bond of peace," it became clear that the very heart and culture of our church had changed because leadership changed. That change was centered around deep reflection of who we are as a church in heart, calling, philosophy of ministry, and what we value.

Through those intense and unexpected disruptions, a new identity emerged through prayer, humility, and creating sacred spaces to listen to God’s still small voice. Because of our legal situation and timeline, we remain in constant prayer seeking the Lord’s direction.  However, one thing became very clear and that was the need to address the fact that our church name, “Coastal Christian”, was and is still being used by Matt Stokes, at the new church he formed.  This has created confusion in the community and our only option to redress this problem would have been through a legal remedy, which we refuse to do because it is without question unbiblical (1 Corinthians 6).

And since our God is a God of order, we have concluded after much prayer and wise counsel, as well as a desire to do the next righteous thing to eliminate further confusion, that it is in the best interest of the church and community to rename our church. The purpose of this correspondence is to communicate to you what the new name is, why we chose it, what it means to us, and how we'll move forward from this point. We value you as our family and are eager to continue to be fully transparent as we navigate through this process.

Although we are announcing a new name that will capture our new identity, nothing major will change today. But once we have all creative assets ready, we  will officially change our name and logo on all platforms and touch points.

We're excited to share the new name with you, but before we do, we want to note that this idea wasn’t just a decision that only our elders made, but a unified collaboration between elders, pastors, staff, and key leaders to re-establish who we are now as a church, what we’re called to do and who we are called to be.

Say hello to our new name & look...

Why "Landmark"?

Looking Back & Stepping Forward

We believe Landmark summarizes the best parts of who we have been, while also encompassing who we now are and who we want to be.

A Landmark Defined

A landmark can be many things, but it’s often one of these three:
  1. Point in time: A transformative moment in time in one’s life that changes their trajectory from that point forward.
  2. Place: A physical representation or object that helps someone establish their location.
  3. Remembrance: A person or object that represents a past or present turning point (or transformation) in a culture, community, or individual's life.

What does it mean, practically?

We have been and continue to be a pillar of truth and a local landmark in our community.
  • Physically, we serve as a pillar of truth at the location God has placed us.
  • Spiritually, we act as a landmark for our community to enable them to see where they’re at in proximity to the Lord and Biblical truth.

Landmark Moments

Our church has not only had some of our own landmark moments in our church’s history, but many individuals have had their own landmark/transformative moments by the ministry of our church.

Landmark moments are too numerous to mention but include the salvation of souls, getting baptized, joining a discipleship group, serving on a team, discipling an individual, serving the homeless, supporting the grief stricken and the list goes on…

Looking Ahead

Our church being a landmark means we as a body collectively represent Christ and point toward Him. But we as individuals need to be reminded that we have the same charge, and that’s why we’re excited about this new name and identity.

Whether you’re at church on a Sunday or at work on a Monday, you are a landmark that represents Jesus Christ and His Church to others around you. This is our high calling, and like a city set on a hill, that others may see our light shine through good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

God Bless,
The Elders, Staff, & Team
Posted in


Recent Posts