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

Church Attendance Offers Protection Against Depression

Church Attendance Lagging?
Many have given up regular church attendance for a variety of reasons. Problems with the church, personal problems with the life lived, incredible recreational opportunities in Alaska, and other distractions have all conspired against regular church attendance. Even the apostle Paul cautions to "...not forsake the assembling of yourselves together." A recently-published Canadian study offers substantial hope in fighting depression from a surprising quarter; regular church attendance.

National Post excerpt...
A major new study that tracked more than 12,000 Canadians over a period of 14 years has found that regular attendance of religious service offers significant protection against depression.

In an article published in the April issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan write that incidence of clinical depression was 22% lower among those who attended religious services at least once a month compared with people who never attended.

“Significantly fewer monthly attenders reported having episodes or a diagnosis of depression,” the authors write. “This … suggests a protective effect of religious attendance.”

Marilyn Baetz, head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan, co-wrote the study with Lloyd Balbuena and Rudy Bowen. In an interview she said the explanation for the effect remains something of a mystery.

To view the complete National Post story, click HERE.

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