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.

Follow my Church Visits posts on Twitter

Chris Thompson’s email: churchvisits@gmail.com

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

Advent Reflection: Chaplain Rick Cavens

Follow my church visit activity at Twitter.com/ChurchVisits

I've asked a cross-section of Anchorage pastors to comment upon Advent as an Antidote for Acquisitiveness or Consumerism. The next pastor featured is Rick Cavens, Chaplain-176 Air Wing, Alaska Air National Guard.

The holy preacher text book reply to what Advent is all about is "waiting." Waiting for the "Son of the Most High" to be reborn into our hearts once again. But it is more than that. It is about family. As you read the Gospel of Luke's story about Jesus' birth, it is a series of small clips about family; Elizabeth and Zechariah will finally have a baby, John the Baptist, after a life time of hoping and waiting; Joseph and Mary are engaged and now young Mary is pregnant?- (and the neighbors don't quite "get" how the Holy Spirit can make Mary pregnant); for comfort and care in a village far away from Nazareth a pregnant Mary visits her pregnant aunt Elizabeth and two outcast women can rejoice; the story peaks when Joseph and Mary travel to a city that does not welcome them until angels invite the shepherds to visit a manger where baby Jesus is holding court in his new makeshift living-room; for emphasis that Jesus is God's Son and about relationships, the story about baby Jesus ends with two old lonely people who seek God in places of faith, the Temple, here Simeon sees "salvation" in baby Jesus and Anna tells the holy young couple that their new baby, Jesus, will bring "redemption."

Advent is about families and extended families caring and loving one another as Jesus comes into our lives. Like the reason for a day of Sabbath, Advent reminds us to slow down and love God and love those around us, our neighbors.
Chaplain Rick Cavens - 176 Wing - Alaska Air National GuardChaplain Rick Cavens - 176 Wing - Alaska Air National Guard

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