What is Across Nations? A closer look into the new name...
Renaming an established, productive and well respected organization can be about as abnormal as renaming a human being after 80 years. It is rare that an organization would rename itself except in the cases where significant changes have taken place in the org or in the spheres of society that it influences. Of course, if correctives are needed, this would demand change.
The name Western Indian Ministries was a helpful and clear name for many decades. However, local, national and global cultural norms now clash with this name. Here are a few that stand out.
1. In society the term “Western” brings up images of “cowboys and “Indians” warring on horseback. This storyline largely portrays the “Indian” characters as savages who are killed by white men. We cannot be mistaken as people who hold this view.
2. The term “Indian” is almost exclusively reserved to describe a person from India not anywhere in America. Textbooks at every education level describe the indigenous people on this continent as “Natives”. Since they are native to what’s known as America, they are known as Native Americans. In many cases calling a Native an “Indian” is an offense. We cannot offend the primary people we are called to love.
3. “Western Indian” communicates a western geographical location in India not western United States. Also, this geographical specificity hemmed us in at times from going outside of the western region. We need to extend God’s kingdom from this footprint across the world.
Western and Indian are outdated and possibly offensive terms at this point in history. If we are to stay engaged in the local and national conversation and offer influence then our name had to change.
How then would an organization go about choosing a new name that will serve as their ongoing identity and avoid possible similar offenses?
As a Jesus focused, grace based and bible believing organization, our goal was to find a name that could reflect the timeless realities presented in both testaments of the Bible which could also represent what WIM has done successfully while clearly ushering our mission into the next decades. This was no small task. There were over 80 names on our final list. This meant that there were many good names and even several great options. Through prayer, research, education, discernment, honest feedback and surveys–to name a few–Across Nations became the new name.
What is Across Nations?
The term “Nations” is prominent throughout the Bible. There were evil nations and Godly Nations. This is the term Jesus chose when He commissioned His followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations” – Matthew 28:19. When Jesus said this, “nations” meant “common person” which meant all people on the planet. He went on to say that His gospel message should go out to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth,” – Acts 1:8 – aka, Across Nations.
The name Across Nations not only represents mission to and with one of the “tribes and tongues,” the Navajo, it also represents our recent and very exciting connections with other “nation” tribes. We are making disciples of Navajo who are making disciples in other Native tribes. We are equipping Native America to exalt Jesus, encounter His goodness and Extend His kingdom across all nations including native nations!
Does the logo contain symbolism?
The logo is an “A” and a “N”. The two letters merged together demonstrate the gospel of Jesus as the means that brings all nations together in His kingdom. There are four mountain tops within the logo to serve as a conversation starter within the numerological Native culture. The right side of the letter “N” is forward sloping out to symbolize movement – “Going to make disciples.”
We believe the new name, logo and revised mission statement honors what God has done and empowers this organization to advance the Legacy of Western Indian Ministries through equipping people to exalt Jesus, encounter His goodness and extend His kingdom Across Nations.