Church Visits

Visiting Churches: Chris Thompson (stainedglass) is an amateur Alaskan biblical scholar and student of religion, especially as it relates to popular culture. He regularly attends national and regional American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature events to interact with and learn from worldwide religion scholars. Through unannounced mystery visits to churches in Anchorage and South-Central Alaska, he observes how guests (visitors) are treated during this initial church visit. Research indicates guests first visit perceptions affects further spiritual growth and religious attitudes as they search for a church home. Chris' church visits focus primarily on Christian churches. This blog contains accounts of those visits, and related posts about religion in culture. Chris looks for the following in his visits:

•Genuine welcome, true Christian hospitality

•Friendliness and warmth

•Effective, well-delivered, Bible-based, main teaching

•Music deepening the worship, not just entertainment

Google map of churches Chris Thompson has visited.

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Significant 2013 Church Visits Posts

Top Ten Issues Local Churches Must Address in 2013

Ten Things Churches Did That Blew Me Away In 2012

Guest Post: Why Theology Matters to Musicians

Church Visits: What's it like visiting a church with a guest-friendly service? - 7/5/2014 2:08 pm

Church Visits: 10 excuses people give for not attending church - 6/28/2014 11:21 am

Church Visits: Religious pluralism in Alaska here to stay - 6/21/2014 8:28 am

Church Visits: Welcoming churches can reverse attendance slump - 6/14/2014 9:21 am

Crosspoint Community Church Revisit – May 11, 2014 - 6/13/2014 1:44 pm

Church Visits: 5 easy ways to increase your biblical literacy - 6/7/2014 5:23 pm

Church Visits: Cardinal Dolan discusses the pastoral challenges facing Pope Francis - 5/31/2014 1:07 pm

Beast Feast: Great Food and Conversation - 5/30/2014 10:10 pm

Church Visits Google Map Goes Over 10,000 Visits!

Follow my church visit activity at

People are looking for Anchorage churches to visit. The custom Google map of churches I've created, based on my visits to them, has just gone over 10,000 visits. View my map by clicking HERE.Google Map of Churches I've VisitedGoogle Map of Churches I've Visited

Some pastors and parishioners are all too eager to discount my visits as being too hasty, harsh, and biased when it's been a bad visit. Restaurants are often in the same position when seeing an unfavorable review. However, I do revisit churches that do not live up to the criteria I use in a visit. They are also listed in the right pane on this blog and include:

• Friendliness and warmth
• Genuine welcome, true Christian hospitality
• Effective, well-delivered Bible-based main teaching
• Music deepening the worship, not just entertainment

It's easier to curse the reviewer than take a hard look at church practices which prompt my comments. Second visits to the same church tend to reveal consistency, i.e., if a church is unfriendly on the first visit, they're likely to be unfriendly on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th visit. Visitors generally take 5-7 minutes from arrival to decide whether or not they'll make a return visit.

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