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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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: Easter asks for our joy, not our spending - 4/19/2014 1:17 pm

Church Visits: What do millennials look for in worship? - 4/11/2014 10:29 pm

Church Visits: Visits to 2 churches leave 2 different impressions - 4/4/2014 9:19 pm

Church Visits: Research underscores deeper church attendance issues - 3/28/2014 9:19 pm

Church Visits: It's time we get back to observing the Sabbath - 3/21/2014 8:30 pm

Church Visits: Look deeper into Lent than just 'give-ups' - 3/14/2014 10:37 pm

First Congregational Church Revisit: Not Bad - Room to Grow - 3/14/2014 11:23 am

Church Visits: Pastors mark start of Lent by taking ashes to the people - 3/8/2014 10:56 am

Outrageous Easter Money Grab

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One of Anchorage’s illustrious churches has mailed out what may be considered by some to be an offensive appeal for Easter offerings. This mailing suggests that not giving at Easter is equivalent to betraying Jesus just “…as Judas did”.

At least three-fourths of this one-sided single pager is consumed with the monetary aspects of this poorly worded appeal for money. It suggests the only way to thank Jesus for His sacrifice is to send money to this church for unspecified uses. I seem to remember a man called Martin Luther who started the Protestant reformation over issues regarding church collection of monies with the statement "The just shall live by faith."

All identifications have been removed from this ill-guided mailing, but if you read it, it can clearly be seen that almost its entire focus is on this church’s perception of the monetary aspects of Easter. In reality, the true purpose of Easter is to celebrate with thankfulness and joy the resurrection of our Lord, and our ransom from sin. It’s focus is not to take Easter offerings, cajoling parishioners into “thanking Jesus” by giving money in outrageous amounts as suggested such as “…thirty one-hundred dollar bills”. Christians are Biblically urged to give money, but never as an Easter thank-you gift. Earnest seekers after truth are urged to give Jesus their hearts however.

This Easter, many of us will remember Jesus and His infinitely powerful sacrifice in word, singing, celebration, and prayer having prepared our hearts throughout this Lenten season. This mailer is damaging, especially to those seeking church connections who sadly feel that the only thing many churches care about is the money.

A photo of the scanned copy of this mailer is attached.

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