Monday Morning Insights

Photo of Todd
    .  How’s Your Church Doing?  How’s Your Church Doing?

    For example... here are some examples of what was written about one church.

    Free juice.  Free coffee.  Sometimes free pastries.  Free internet.  You know, to check your email while worshipping the Lord.

    It's like everyone is encouraged to consume caffeine during the so-called service, confusing the "presence of the Lord" with drugs.

    Leather sofas, fireplaces, a coffee-shop area with high-top glass tables.  Flatscreen monitors to see what's happening inside, in case you just can't pull yourself off the sofa to make it into the so-called church.

    The "sanctuary" is really as state-of-the art soundstage, with jumbotron screens, movie theater seats, and cup-holders for your coffee. 

    By being so plugged into secular culture, the place is -- by definition -- unholy.  By using the worst of consumerism to allegedly make a point about God, churches like Crossroads Community church do nothing but propagate blind acceptance of the status quo.

    This church earned one star.

    But, you can also respond to the ratings, as did one person to the rating above:

    It doesn't take much of a read to discover that "XXXXXX" is a disturbed individual at many levels.  There is a huge lack of self-awareness with this person.  A read through his bio makes it clear that his self-image is shared by him and, I suspect, no one else.  If he is a "writer" - then where has he been published outside of the internet - a place where anyone with a desire to type some words and hit send can be "published."  Someone in their early 20s is not equipped to make the scathing, sweeping theological indictments he readily dishes out to churches he visits one time only in the XXXXX area.   "XXXXXX" if you read this, get some therapy.  If you can't afford it, check out county services for decent free options.  You will discover that therapy plus meds can work wonders for those suffering with grandiosity.

    So... what do YOU think about this church rating website?

    BTW, you can visit it here...




    if you want a Globally Recognized Avatar (the images next to your profile) get them here. Once you sign up, your picture will displayed on any website that supports gravitars.

    1. Postscript on Tue, February 09, 2010

      I like the idea but there are 2 things going against it:

      1)  It doesn’t have critical mass yet.  It is going to need a lot more reviews of a lot more churches before it is meaningful.

      2)  Christians.  We’ll get picky about the color of the paint in the lobby before we say anything of value to someone searching for a church!

    2. Peter Hamm on Tue, February 09, 2010

      I like Jim Henderson, but this looks not-so-useful to me. Sorry, just my gut reaction. And the two things going against it mentioned above are spot-on.

    3. David Buckham on Tue, February 09, 2010

      A few years ago in a class I was teaching, an “intense” discussion broke out among 40 some odd people about whether church was supposed to edify the saints or bring in the lost. Bringing the discussion around, I simply said both were wrong. Church is about God, not us.

      The Church is the Bride of Christ and as such it exists for the Bridegroom. Church is about worshipping and our response to God whether you are at a building called a church or at work earning a pay check.

      The Church Rater website is (or has become) how we say yeah, this is what we want in a church. And it also promotes the whole, if you disagree with me then you are obviously the devil in disguise.

      I get sick of the churches need to have this, this, this and this to be successful. There are lots of pre-boxed churches that follow a pattern of how to please people. Maybe I am wrong, but I believe Church isn’t for us, at least not in the way many understand it. With that said, I believe if a church truly honors God first and foremost, the saints will be edified and the lost will be saved.

      all about Christ,
      David Buckham

    4. Erik Chandler on Tue, February 09, 2010

      church, the next american idol? public opinion driven?  we were the ones that opened this door by offering convenience and the preferred. we’ve made it acceptable to sit at church, demand our preference, do nothing and call it following Jesus.

      so why shouldn’t we be subjected to the same criteria that a coffee shop, a restaurant and any other establishment catering to the desires of it’s customers?

      maybe then, we can see what we are really offering and expose the life that Jesus is extending. folks can always tell you what they want… the church is here to tell others what they need… what they really need… even if you score a 1 on the church rater

    5. Leonard on Tue, February 09, 2010

      I hate it.  This gives voice to the critical who think themselves discerning.  It serves no purpose worth the risk it brings.  IMO

    6. CS on Tue, February 09, 2010

      I see the signal-to-noise ratio being impossible to get through on a site like that.  A good church could be drowned out by poo-pooers who frown upon the inessentials like carpet color or piano versus organ.  A bad church, where someone points out legitimate concerns about the theology and doctrine, can be overcome by people instead talking about how kicking their pastor and sound system are.

      I still support something like this, but there may just be too many voices out there.


    7. Jan on Tue, February 09, 2010

      I’m with Leaonard.  I think it just gives another forum to the pew critic consumers.

      How do you rate what God is doing among and through us?

      Instead, Christians can now talk about the furnishings.  Who cares if you sit on a couch and drink coffee?  What is God doing???

      Time to join him and MOVE.

    8. Mason Stanley on Tue, February 09, 2010

      Obviously there will be those who have a distateste for the church they are attending and use this tool as a forum to be negative.  However, there will be those with real concerns and issues and that is where the helpfulness of this tool will come into play.

      When you read comment after comment that the person who signs children in is rude and a discouragement from them returning to the church you know that it is time for a change in the children’s check in.  Like it or lump it you are going to have un-churched people coming to church, and we have a responsibility to make sure we do our best not just for our church members but our guest as well. 

      Most of us are a fan of what we do, (unless you’re that guy who is critical of everything including yourself) so to have an outside perspective is helpful.  It has been said that after about four weeks we stop noticing blemishes.  Fresh eyes are always helpful.  We just have to be willing to tread through all the junk that might be there.

    9. Matt Casper on Tue, February 09, 2010

      Hello and thank you! I am one of the people behind ChurchRater… and we’re happy you noticed us.

      Please know that we are not anti-religion, anti-God, or anti-Jesus. We’re just often confused about church and why so many (that we have seen anyway) are doing things that seem to have little to do with the words and deeds of that street preacher from 1st century Palestine… y’know, fog machines, bands with light shows and stuff, hatred of people who don’t believe exactly what church X believes…

      I have visited dozens of churches, and most of them have been bewildering… ChurchRater is where we hope to un-confuse church goers and people like me, and we need your help! Please, tell us and the world about your experiences at your church. Please keep dialoging, and keep positive. The world’s a better place for it!

      Thank you,
      Matt Casper

    10. David Buckham on Tue, February 09, 2010

      That’s just it, the church shouldn’t be about “our experience”. Church should be about God. When we make it about our experience then the disconnect happens, we cease worshipping God and begin worshipping man.

      all about Christ,
      David Buckham

    11. Jim Henderson on Tue, February 09, 2010

      First of all Earl it’s an honor to have you be willing to expose more people to ChurchRater

      Eric Chandler “gets” us

      Many others are only looking on the surface - going for the easy pickings

      If the church is for “Him” why is it so easy to find evidence that it;s for us? Nice idea but how will you redesign the church so that it truly is about Him and are you willing to die trying because that is what you will do - you will never live to see that church - History is incredibly sobering and like a steam roller it will squeeze the wonder right out of you.

      I’ve chosen to use the Jesus strategy ,who consistently “played favorites” by using Outsiders to provoke Insiders and from some of the comments I see here it might be working.

      Thanks Earl and everyone incoluding those who give ChurchRater a 1

    12. Tyler Mahoney on Wed, February 10, 2010

      Hey Guys, for the sake of full disclosure I helped create churchrater.

      Buckham I think you are missing the point of the site. You wrote “Church should be about God. When we make it about our experience then the disconnect happens, we cease worshipping God and begin worshipping man.” My question is, how then do I find a church that is “worshipping God” in my area. I have two options, I keep asking friends and random people about how they like their church or I look up a few churches and start “church shopping.” This can take weeks, sometimes months. And only if I get lucky will I find a place where I fit in. (as in at least some people my age, my denomination, a place where I can serve the poor, and a place where the pastor/priest is at least friendly).

      Take my own personal experience. I recently moved to Durham, North Carolina in August. I’m a young graduate student who literally knows, one person in the whole state. (My fathers old friend from a former job.) What then am I supposed to do? If I had a resource like churchrater 6 months ago, it would have made a really tough transition a lot easier.


    13. David Buckham on Wed, February 10, 2010


      Actually, I get the point of the site. Perfectly. You are completely right about how we need to find some way we can find out what church to go to. The goal of the site is to create a medium for rating churches. While the point of the site may be one thing the outcome of the site seems to be something quite different. It has become a place for man to state his needs and desires. I don’t know if that makes sense. Love the dialogue though.

      all about Christ,
      David Buckham

    14. Peter Hamm on Wed, February 10, 2010

      I’m with David. This simply encourages the kind of consumerism that you are, ironically, seemingly not trying to encourage. I feel you are simply misjudging people’s motives for rating a church. They are not going to complain about the lack of opportunity for them to serve as much as they are going to complain (or reward for that matter) the things that simply don’t matter.

      That said, I think we should internally evaluate our churches as best we can. At our church, we are in the process of developing tools to do that.

    15. Helen on Wed, February 10, 2010

      Peter - by definition, an internal evaluation won’t tell you the reasons people don’t go to your church because you’ll only be hearing from people who do go.

      What’s wrong with listening to those who don’t go just in case they notice something that insiders have missed? Of course you can filter out any of their observations which in your opinion conflict with the direction you believe God is leading your church.

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