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The name Branches might have you asking why?  The answer is found in late 2009 when it was time for a new year and a new name.  On Sunday, November 22, 2009, members of YCTC (Youth Committed to Christ) voted to change their name from YCTC to Branches. Two youth group members sent the following email to all youth group members to “present their case”.



TO: All YCTC Members

FROM: Betsy Varner and Jack Alexander

DATE: Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 3:27 PM

RE: A new name for our group

Hey guys,

So if you were at the last YCTC meeting you already know what this email is about. And if you weren't, here is the deal. Last Sunday we presented our case for why we should change our name from YCTC to Branches. Here are our top reasons:

  1. If we change the name, or if we end up keeping it the same, we will have more ownership over it as a group. Currently, no one knows who chose the name YCTC, when it was chosen, or why it was chosen. If we change the name, everyone will remember it, and will know their part in the decision. Then we WOULD know who chose it, when was chosen, and why it was chosen.
  2. Branches is NOT an acronym. Lots of programs or past and present committees within the church are named with acronyms. And we feel that we need to change this and go with a name that is not an acronym.
  3. Branches is rooted in scripture and has a personal tie to the group. For those of us who went on the Michigan Mission Trip, we all remember the sermons and songs we shared together in the big garage-type building. One night the sermon was particularly good and it related to the scripture John 15:5 which states; " I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me while I abide in him produces much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." Another scripture relating to branches is in Romans 11:18 which says; "You do not support the root, but the root supports you." We like the idea that our new name is rooted in scripture. And for everyone who went on this trip, it has a personal meaning.
  4. Branches is original and was thought of by a group member. Thea found a website that had tons and tons of names for youth groups. Branches is not on this, or any other list. Betsy Varner was the one who came up with it during the Michigan Mission trip.
  5. The name Branches implies that we are not dead in our faith. When you think of branches you think of the thin, lithe, moving and changing part of the tree. That is how we are in our faith. We are developing, and we are not done yet! All of us, Thea included, are not logs. We are not big, fat, and decaying (in the sense of our faith) but the exact opposite.
  6. The name Branches spans two trips, making it even more related to our group. While at Montreat, Cassie's group leader taught their small group the "arm circle thing." (For the lack of a better phrase) This closing has been graciously adopted by our group, but when you think about it, it is quite branch/vine like. It's twisting and entangling is very much the behavior of such vines/branches, and could be used with the scripture mentioned above for a meaningful close to our meetings.
  7. Branches would make a better logo or t-shirt design than YCTC. Even on something as basic as this, we could think of some really cool stuff to put on a t-shirt and we could design our own personal logo for branches. This logo could even include an acorn (symbolizing strength) because we have a strong group.

We feel the name Branches is more vibrant and alive than YCTC, and that it relates to our group in a better way. It sort of seems like YCTC is our name because that is the way it has always been...and if that is our only reason then, personally, that is not good enough. We should really think and pray about whether we really are Youth (that are) Committed To Christ, and that if a name such as Branches wouldn't describe us better.

So here is the plan: We are voting next Sunday on whether to change the name to Branches, or keep it as YCTC. It will be a secret ballot so you will be able to be honest, and vote whatever you think. If you know that you wont be there next Sunday, or if you just want to get the voting out of the way, email Thea with your choice. If you plan to vote through email, you MUST HAVE VOTED BY 4 O'CLOCK PM SUNDAY. If you don't vote through email you can vote on Sunday night.

Your sister and brother in Christ,

Rachelle (Betsy) and Jack Mitchell



As you might have guessed, the name passed and Branches took root.  The scripture John 15:5 is still repeated in unison from the group at each meeting.  To hear more, please listen to the 2012 Youth Sunday Sermon given by Lucas Clay.