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 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

Church Visits: Tools for finding the right church for you - 3/1/2014 3:03 pm

Beer & Hymns: Great Fun & Successful Fundraiser

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From the opening notes of I Love to Tell the Story, to the closing notes of We Are Marching in the Light of God, Beer & Hymns this past Sunday proved to be a wonderful experience of singing, dining, and raising funds for LSSA.

Over $5,000 was raised with additional funds yet to be counted. According to my calculations, around 100 people attended this inaugural event at Mo's O'Brady's. Sponsored by Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, Beer & Hymns was widely attended with representatives from many Anchorage congregations. Entire families enjoyed the food, fun, and fellowship at Beer & Hymns. O'Brady's staff, and owner Mo, clearly outdid themselves with fast service, excellent food, and great humor.

COSLC's keyboardist Jamie Berge did an awesome job of playing each hymn on the church's Clavinova. Playing for the majority of two hours, she nailed it while Pastor Dan Bollerud sang and directed the group assembled the entire two hours. Pastor Dan has a pleasing bass voice which kept us all on track. If you love good, old-fashioned hymn singing, this event was for you (and can be in the future)!

LSSA Director Allan Budahl shared how the need for food aid in our community has outstripped the supply. Underscoring this need, LSSA also sent food and funds East after hurricane Sandy. I'm so impressed with what LSSA does in our local community.

Moneywise, as a frame of reference, the amount of contributions donated to LSSA Sunday night equals the cost of one person going overseas on the average short-term mission trip. Many short-term missioners essentially are taking a mission's tourism trip and not significantly helping solve the true needs of their target trips. It's reassuring the funds collected Sunday night will be distributed in direct aid, mostly for food, to help those in our community in desperate need of assistance.

COSLC's pastor, Dan Bollerud, shared three reasons for the success of this event.
1. Beer and hymns...How can you go wrong?
2. It is a way to be the church out in the world, and to show a different side of the church to the world.
3. It is a fun way to have a fundraiser for a great organization like Lutheran Social Services Food Bank.

My congratulations to a solid church and community-spirited attendees for a job well done! I can't wait until the next Beer & Hymns.

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