Church #8 part 4

I am currently doubling up on church visits, but not church services. I am still going to the 39 articles series at St Stephen’s. After the morning talk, I proceed to whatever church was next on my list. Unless I encounter a conflict of course. Then I’ll have to play it by ear. The next church on my list gets it’s own post, so scroll up to see that.

Anyways, more people are recognizing me at St Stephen’s; I’m finding both goods and bads with this. It is nice to say hi to new folks who ask about the project. But I’m also getting a slightly clingy vibe. This is something that happens to some degree in nearly every church I’ve ever been to new. Churches like getting new members. Often, they like it so much that they overwhelm visitors with messages to ‘join us!’ ranging from welcome packets, to talking your ear off about how great the church is, to acting mildly offended that you consider not coming back. I’m not saying this is a necessarily a selfish act on the part of the church or members. For one thing, Christians are taught that those who don’t believe are going to hell. And if you haven’t been to other churches outside your own, maybe you can’t be sure any other churches will get it right. So people have to attend your church because their very soul is at stake. That reason is not selfish, it’s really the opposite. Also I know that church makes some people really really happy and they want to share that, even if it doesn’t work that way for everybody. Whatever the reasons, I’ve seen a lot of churches overdo it with the please-join-us business and they wind up sounding desperate. Best way to do it and not overdo it? Jury of me is still out on that one. I know there is such a thing as undergreeting. (see my post on church #9, coming soon) The subject is worth some thought and it’s own post. I’d like to tackle this at some point soon.

To the group at St Stephen’s: Guys, I’m not staying. And it isn’t a reflection of what kind of place it is or the job you are doing. The church seems fine, everyone seems nice. But I’ve got my reasons, embedded in the project and otherwise. And I’d like to think that in a way (because this is the first church with more than two people checking out the blog) I sort of am staying. Maybe I’m staying a little bit at all the places I visit. My blog could be a way to keep that up and even connect a few people to each other. Could my blog turn into the hottest thing since baked bread? Idk. Stay tuned…

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