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Why ChurchRater.com Is A Great Idea

Yesterday we looked at a new website named “ChurchRater.com.” I took the angle of this website being a bad idea. Today we will hear from Kurt as he shares about why this website is a great idea.

The Church is a long way from being the Church that Jesus intends it to be. As someone who works for a church, it is my hope that the ministry I lead is effectively reaching those in the seats and even those who are yet to sit in those seats. Admittedly as a young leader I have a lot of fears and one of them I think is a common blind-spot for those in leadership positions.  You see while I am a pretty confrontational guy (just ask Tyler) I’ve found that most people aren’t, and when they disagree with you or as in this context; dislike something you are doing in ministry they simply leave. Unfortunately people who do this rob leaders of the opportunity to change anything.

Our culture is very much a throw-away culture. Most prefer a Starbucks cup to a mug…once we see a commercial for a new phone it’s time to toss the old one out. If your wife puts on some weight and nags a little too much, you just trade her in for a new one. This “throw-away” culture has crept into the church as well and we even have a term for it; “church hopping.”

A lot of people hop from church to church looking for that perfect one that meets all of their “needs.” The church has got to have modern worship, strong biblical teaching, clean carpet, engaging youth programs for the kids, the right temperature to wear our favorite shirt, and can’t ask too much of us. Most attend a church just long enough to bump into some relational drama, to find those politics or personalities they disagree with lurking just below the surface and quickly move on to the next church.

What if there was a pathway to allow for greater feedback with the hopes that people could actually be part of a church community for the long haul? This is what I see Jim Henderson & Matt Casper doing over at churchrater.com. I especially like their idea of getting true outsider opinions by sending people from their organization to rate churches that invite them in. Churches like a lot of organizations are often controlled by a small group of people who hold all of the power (usually the ones who have the $) and are not willing to let go of their own agendas/opinions on what’s best for the church.

If you haven’t already I encourage you to check out some of the ratings and the conversations being had in the comment sections on churchrater.com. Jim and Matt both have great things to say and I think these churches could really learn a lot from what is being said.

The old management adage comes to mind; “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is where I see a lot of churches failing today. They don’t have any measurable goals that they are trying to reach. We make excuse after excuse about how the church is not a business, we shouldn’t create consumer Christians…I’ve heard ‘em all.

Semantics aside, there’s no excuse for churches not having goals and a clear strategy. What is wrong with someone commenting that your church came across “unfriendly” when they attended and making some goals to become more friendly as a congregation? While I am definitely not saying a church measures her success by ratings on a website I do think those leading our churches should have an idea of what success looks like.

Now I want to say I am not into churchHATERS.com. What I mean by that is I don’t support anonymous people posting negative comments; those are just lame passive-aggressive attempts to speak up without a relationship. If you cannot post your comment without a name and email attached to it to allow the church to reply then you simply shouldn’t post.

In the end I’m all for the Church being more effective at reaching people. And in today’s day and age without an open conversation with those who are attending your church that just isn’t going to happen. Our country has a lot of churches, most of which are dead or dying. I think few churches have to worry about hearing too much feedback and attempting to change too much to get people to stick around …most would do well to get a rating or two.

What does it look like for the shepherd to leave the 99 to go after the one lost sheep in 2010?

Your thoughts?

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  • Melinda

    This is right on target, Kurt! “dislike something you are doing in ministry they simply leave. Unfortunately people who do this rob leaders of the opportunity to change anything.” Churchrater is a tool, not the only tool, but a useful one of many to glean feedback and measure.

  • http://www.justlivingthelife.com Jay Caruso

    A lot of people hop from church to church looking for that perfect one that meets all of their “needs.”

    Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is one that is born out of selfishness and Church Rater isn’t going to help them. People who want to attend a church that meets “their needs” are going to church hop all the time. They won’t stop church hopping until somebody makes them understand that the church does not exist to meet the needs of anybody. The church exists as a place for God to be worshiped. That’s it. It’s when giving all out glory to God and worshiping Him with our hearts, mind and strength then our needs will be met.

    I’m not saying that a person should just pick the first church they find and deal with it. But, it’s the attitude of “my needs” that will make almost any church not good enough, with our without the use of Church Rater.

    • http://www.manofdepravity.com Tyler

      Agree with you Jay that so much of this goes back to “my needs” over the needs of the community. The give-me-what-I-want mentality needs to be less of a priority in churches.

  • http://theycallmepastorbryan.com theycallmepastorbryan

    I appreciate that something on the positive can be said for ChurchRater, but I still can’t buy it. Are impressions of how people look at your church important? Sure, they are.

    But if the intent of ChurchRater is to help leaders get an outside view, their marketing has suffered an enormous fail by marketing it as the Yelp of churches. Saying the website is the Yelp for churches says that it’s more about the consumer’s taste than it is anything else, didn’t like the songs? that will mark them down. The preaching wasn’t engaging, that’s another mark off.

    I do agree with you though, the church should be reflecting on how it reaches people. I suspect that you and I would have very different answers to what it looks like for the shepherd to leave the 99 in search of the one. For me that journey has meant abandoning the traditional ecclesiology and an assumption that if I just make the services that much better people will show up, and instead go to where people are and start learning how to incarnate what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in contexts outside the church.

    I don’t want to sound too down, it’s nice to hear a voice from the opposite side, I guess I just question how big a difference the things ChurchRater is rating make to those authentically seeking after Christ who are currently outside the church.

    • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

      RE: Leaving the 99 “For me that journey has meant abandoning the traditional ecclesiology and an assumption that if I just make the services that much better people will show up, and instead go to where people are and start learning how to incarnate what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in contexts outside the church.”

      For me the church IS the incarnation today. My understanding of 1 Corinthians 12 is that all of the people…the various parts make up Jesus Body on the earth today. So this is why the church functioning right matters so much…if we abandon the church and go out on our own we will not be successful for we will be breeding parts that arent connected to the body. While I am a fan of the efforts of para-church groups like Young Life, Youth for Christ. Fellowship of Christian Athletes…I think they have taken away a vital piece of the church that we’re struggling to get back.

      Leaving the 99 is about intentionally going after the lost sheep…becoming students of them and bringing the Gospel to them. May our churches be that and may churchrater.com help us to do so.

      • http://theycallmepastorbryan.com theycallmepastorbryan

        Kurt, I apparently wasn’t clear in what I meant about abandoning traditional ecclesiology. I’m a church planter, when I say abandoning the traditional ecclesiology, I mean the trappings that assume we reach people first by pulling them into our church gatherings. Not that I strike out on my own or start a para-church, rather that I think instead of asking questions about the quality of our preaching or our music or how nice our facilities are that instead we ask the question of how we get people out of the building and into the world where people are.

        As I said on my comment before, most of the folks I know who aren’t Christians consider the church to be the last place they’d go if they’re looking for truth or meaning or whatever. And when I look at Acts, I don’t see the disciples starting gatherings and worrying about the quality of their services and how seekers might perceive them. Instead I see Christians being dragged (at times unwillingly) into how God is at work. They’re forced out of Jerusalem, and into people outside where they expect God to be working. It seems to be the pattern of Acts that God is at work out in the world and the church is getting pushed out to where God is already active.

        But we’ve flipped that into, “if we just make this service a little bit better, then those people who aren’t Christians will start coming to our gathering.”

        In short, I agree we need to be thinking about what it means to be leaving behind the 99 to search for the one, but to me that is about pushing Christians out the door, not worrying how we entice people who aren’t yet Christians into our seats.

        • http://www.manofdepravity.com Tyler

          I think one of the struggles within this conversation is that the church is both about evangelism and discipleship. Doing both well without giving one more focus than the other is not an easy thing to do. Clearly ChurchRater is an evangelism focused tool…at least in how it was created.

          • http://theycallmepastorbryan.com theycallmepastorbryan

            I think the two are hand in hand. Evangelism is in reality the first step in discipleship. I’m just less convinced that our current ecclesial structures suit discipleship and think releasing everyone in the church to do discipleship outside of church services and programs will go a long way stowards helping the church.

  • http://www.churchrater.com Jim Henderson

    Honored by the attention
    Enjoying the conversation
    Thanks for raising awareness about our site

  • http://brenthodge.com brent(inWorship)

    My disagreement with this site lies in your thoughts on this…

    “What if there was a pathway to allow for greater feedback with the hopes that people could actually be part of a church community for the long haul?”

    I think this is an awesome idea. I think that hiring consultants to be unbiased outside opinions is perfect. We as leaders are very narrow in our perspective and may not see our church as others do. There is value in this. There is also value in the churches themselves doing this internally with its members.

    If churchrater.com was a consultant, I think there would be great value in what they do. But they are not only a consultant, they are a user generated opinion poll. Anyone can come in and say anything they want about a church. We go right back into the selfish mentality with this option. As long as outsiders are able to voice their unbiased opinions (with no concern for growth and conversation), we will continue to have commercialized church and we fail to succeed at any conversation of value.

    Ive read through lots of the “opinions” on churchrater. I don’t see any value in a user generated service for churches like this.

    • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

      Brent, I hear what you and others worry about this site encouraging “consumer minded” church attenders…but I think for me that just comes down to semantics…what you term as “consumerism” others term opinions to make it more effective. Fact of the matter is we all have opinions on what a “good service” and what a good church look like…heck the Creator designed us to be critical in my view.

      No doubt this site will unfortunately have some negative aspects to it…people will post passive aggresively and comments will cancel out others comments etc…but as I said in the post…its opening the door for conversation and I think that is a good thing.

      • http://brenthodge.com brent(inWorship)

        Semantics and opinions are different things. I dont think it’s semantics here. I think its opinion on where we see this.

        I would hope this would open conversations, but that will remain to be seen. How can an anonymous person leave a critical comment about anything and then staff or attenders of that church start a conversation? There is no conversation, when there is only one side.

        If churchrater had a better machine in place to connect these opinions to the leaders and churches themselves…than we may start a conversation.

        • http://brenthodge.com brent(inWorship)

          I hope you understand, that I am all for conversation. But conversation has never been known to happen through anonymous or third party avenue’s.

          • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

            I agree with you and thats what I was saying in the post about being agaisnt “churchHATERS.com”…but without the use of something like a web forum or rating site how would you recommend having such a “conversation” between church attender and church leadership?

          • http://brenthodge.com brent(inWorship)

            I think we are talking about medium right now. There are lots of mediums in which conversation can start and take place. Comment cards, face to face, email, phone calls, web forum, front office, letters. But that doesn’t determine that conversation will take place.

            Conversation will take place when the culture is created to allow it to happen. If Pastors/Leaders are accesible, the medium is irrelevant. People will be able to talk to them and they will be listening.

            I think to just throw the medium out there first is scary. to throw churchrater out there, creates all sorts of culture. The moderators will do there best to supervise and focus people, but inevitably, anonymous comment will take place.

            Leadership has to be willing to listen first. If they aren’t, than no opinion or medium matters.

            Rating sites, have no value in my opinion. Except to create or destroy popularity. There is no place for that in the church. Conversation is valuable…ratings are not.

          • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

            Valid point. I agree that leadership being willing to listen is the ultimate key. I guess where we must agree to disagree is that a rating site like this helps the convo….they do have value and a web-based presence is vital in my view.

          • http://brenthodge.com brent(inWorship)

            Let me clarify my point a little better.

            I dont see the opinion/rating system in its current form on churchrater as valuable. Could something good slip in? Yes. But weeding through whats valid an invalid would be maddening.

            Opinion/rating from the appropriate context is very valuable. We’ve had “ratings” within our media/tech/worship ministry for a long time. I have people on the team and off the team that rate us periodically. I’ve asked them to. BUT, they know the context. They know what we are trying to accomplish. They now our vision/goals and they understand what we are trying to do to get there. They have context to make a valuable opinion/rating. They have a starting point.

            A person walking in off the street can say it was great…sucks…too loud…not loud enough. But none of that matters if they don’t know what the original intent is in the first place. Maybe we are loud. But maybe they think Opera is the only valid style of music.

            I know that this is speaking to mostly aesthetic and philosophical things, but that is where people have most of their opinions. I read a comment on churchrater that rated a church as bad, because the speaker was “rude”. Maybe he was. Probably, he wasnt. They visited and they didnt get talked to the way they wanted to, so the church sucks.

            We had a man write a letter to our church once ripping a part our teaching team. Saying we werent spiritual enough, biblical enough, too topical and on and on. When we finally spoke to the person, his entire opinion was based on one thing. We didnt teach out of the King James Version. So, it didnt matter what we said or how we said it, we were wrong because of the version of Bible we used. I am grateful he wrote a letter directly to us, or we would never have known his “starting point”. Evn after the original letter, it still took multiple correspondance to get to the “starting point”.

            I think there are some simple things we can learn as a church to better invite relationships. To better communicate and mix with our communities outside the walls. Conversation can help this. I cannot see how an outsider (christian or not) can truly rate something they may not even understand. Again, medium is not the issue.

            Help me see how this can happen.

          • http://brenthodge.com brent(inWorship)

            We may have to start a new thread, or we will be down to one word a line soon :)

        • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

          Relationship is key…definitely dont think an outsiders opinion is necessarily more valid than an insiders one. I guess like I was getting at most churches have pretty big blindspots to some stuff that would be pretty easy to change or at least offer an explanation as to why they do something.

          As far as the “rude pastor…” we all have bad days for sure…I work with students and I’m sure their opinion of me shifts multiple times in a night much less a couple programs. But what if that pastor is rude? Who tells him that? I mean seriously…our blindspots in ministry can be huge. People avoid that sort of conflict and even well-meaning people who attempt to say it in round about ways quickly get pushed aside or muted. I want my students and parents to feel like they can openly share that a student finds me to be boring or confusing…this sort of feedback holds the potential to make me a better communicator of Gods Word…and the lack of such feedback would only keep me boring and confusing.

  • @realpb

    well, if the churches with negative ratings can buy advertising on churchrater.com and then suddenly see those negative ratings (magically) disappear, well, then sign me up!!!
    (that is the true Yelp business model: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/eastbay/yelp-and-the-business-of-extortion-20/Content?oid=1176635 )

    aside from all of the “what is church/christianity/discipleship supposed to be about” issues… just from a purely functional point of view, this is a disaster waiting to happen.

    people will rate 1 star because they don’t like the fact the church has a cross, doesn’t have a cross, planted flowers and are wasting water, nobody spoke to me after the service, the guitar player plays an Ibanez and not Fender, wah, wah, wah…

    also, can you imagine this as a part of the weekly church service announcement? “Hey folks, if you have a minute, please go to churchrater.com and give us a 5 star rating! It will support our evangelism efforts by attracting the unchurched! Also, if you do, we will give you a 10% discount on your Women’s Conference registration fees!”

    ;)

    • http://www.manofdepravity.com Tyler

      Fair point Paul, I would like to trust the founders of this website enough that they won’t take it to that level in lack of integrity.

    • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

      LOL – loved that last paragraph. Think you are taking it a bit far man…no one is talking about the sermon being sponsored by Starbucks or anything…

      • @realpb

        tongue firmly in cheek!

        love the discussions here!

  • Tammy

    I think there are other ways to achieve the goal of finding out how people feel in your congregation. One way is to periodically remind them of being able to talk to you about any problems. Another way would be to have annonoymous means to express opinions, for those who aren’t as upfront as others. But as an earlier comment said, some people are never going to be happy and they need to realize they are there to praise and worship God. Everybody is different and has different ways they like to worship. It’s even that way in my own home. I prefer more of a Bible beating, fire, and brimstone sermon and my husband is completely the opposite. We had to compromise and find a church in the middle of that. I think as long as the church sticks to the Word of God, never takes away or adds to it, they can’t go wrong. God gave us guidelines in Revelations of what the church should be like.

    • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

      Tammy,

      I agree there are other ways to get a pulse of your congregation and I think Pastors would be wise to use as many of them as possible. I am also a big fan of a yearly survey of your church AND your community.

      I would have to disagree with your statement; “I think as long as the church sticks to the Word of God, never takes away or adds to it, they can’t go wrong. God gave us guidelines in Revelations of what the church should be like.” The Pharisees “stuck to the Word of God” and failed to reach the lost sheep of Israel. And while the bible gives us instructions on how the early church did church, alot of that was cultural and we need to think about the translation into our 2010 world. I am not in any way saying we need to comprimise our values or commitment to the word…I just think most churches are too afraid of changing even things like what their pastor wears when he delivers the sermon. At our church our pastor still wore a robe until just three years ago!

      • Tammy

        The last verse in the Bible, Rev. 22:18, warns us what will happen if we do add or take away anything from God’s word. If you are concerned about reaching the ones that are lost and outside of the church,(which we all are), go to them, in their environment, just as Jesus did.

        • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

          I guess I’m missing your point, youre saying we shouldnt attempt to change church to reach outsiders?

          • Tammy

            Not if it means going against the things that Christ warns us about. Example: We were going to a church where the pastor was young, had alot of great ideas, wanted to reach everyone by making everybody happy. He allowed beer to be brought to the church softball practices because there were members who were regular beer drinkers. He didn’t want to lose them as members. Fine, we never want to lose a member, but what kind of message was that sending to my young son and others. I personally don’t think Jesus would’ve allowed that. I look to The Word for every question I have. I also ask myself, what would Jesus do in this situation. I don’t think we should change church if it goes against what Gods Word teaches us, even if it’s what the modern world is doing. Christ became very angry at the money handlers in the temple, but yet he went to the sinner and hung out with the sinner, not because he wanted to be like the sinner, but because he wanted the sinner to be like him.

          • http://godsidekurt.com Kurt Brandemihl

            No one is saying churches should be willing to “go against the things that Christ warns us about” …

          • Tammy

            I guess I am a little old fashion in letting the Holy Spirit be my guide as to what church I need to be in as oppossed to a rating system determining that. Personally, I think the best way to reach the outside world is to equip the church to be better disciples. That’s just my opinion, not to offend anybody. May God Bless you and guide you in the direction that will ultimately glorify Him. Good coversation.

  • http://www.stretchmarkmama.com Stretch Mark Mama (@stretchmarkmama)

    What all of this brings up is that, in one way or another, the local church has to spend some time evaluating how well they’re doing with reaching the unchurched. Too often I think churches focus too much on what they can do to attract Christians from other churches (though they wouldn’t look at it this way). Growing a church the organic, one-convert-at-a-time way is tough and requires a well thought out (prayed out) plan. It’s much easier to change a logo than it is to change a life.

    • http://www.manofdepravity.com Tyler

      Love that last line, “much easier to change a logo than it is to change a life.” So true.

  • http://jillrichard.tumblr.com/ Jill

    I wonder if any of you have seen the site ship of fools http://shipoffools.com/mystery/index.html.

    They have mystery worshippers who rate churches. Some good some bad. It’s an interesting site, and pushes a lot of buttons.

  • http://www.churchrater.com TylerM

    Hey Guys, I am entering the conversation very late so I apologize if I stray too much from the current topic on the floor. I want to quickly address three things, but for full disclosure I am one of the co-founders of churchrater.

    1.) One of the reasons I started churchrater was to actually stop the consumerization of church. Churchrater is a democratic platform, you can use it to ask, “why has church become consumeristic?” or “Why is it that when I walk into this church I can’t tell the difference between a house of worship and a waffle house?” Churchrater is just a tool, if people use it to promote consumerism within church. That is not because churchrater is contributing to the consumerism, it’s that because the American church has become consumeristic.

    We can just as easily come together and use churchrater as a tool to stop consumerism and call it out anywhere we see it. We can rebuke these “den of robbers” who “block the kingdom of heaven.” I’ve come to find out that I could spend my whole life writing books and articles about how the church simply resembles Wal-Mart. Or I could create parishioner power and give the people the voice to speak out against the “money changers” and chase them away with “whips.”

    2. ) Martin Luther was a no name monk in Northern Germany, and he took on one of the most powerful systems in the world. And how did he do it? He had the Gutenberg press. Luther was able to distribute information faster and to more people than any time in history up until that point. And now we have the internet which is a million times fast, now you can use it post up church billboards or you can start nailing objections on church doors.

    3.) When people come on to churchrater.com and “churchvertize” by writing about how their church is the best Tony Robbins seminar mixed with a U2 concert. The moderators call them out on it and ask, what do fog machines have anything to do with Jesus? I’d go as far as to say that churchrater is one of the only national platforms right now trying to stop the consumerization of the church.

    Great conversation guys, those are just a few of my points. Thanks for the posts Tyler, its a great approach to a controversial subject.

    Tyler Mahoney
    Co-Founder Churchrater
    Duke University Divinity School ’12

    • http://theycallmepastorbryan.com theycallmepastorbryan

      Tyler, if this is your intent for ChurchRater, might I suggest that so far your marketing has failed a bit. Reading the info on your site and on the first blogs I saw picking it up, I haven’t gotten the impression of it being anything other than “find a church that you like,” which is quite different than what I hear you stating.

      Just looking at the first paragraph on the ChurchRater website at least in how I read it sounds like it is appealing to the sort of consumer categories that I’d assume. If that’s not the intent I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, but that’s definitely not how the coverage I’ve gotten from it has come across.

      • http://www.churchrater.com TylerM

        That is true, but this project is not a Christian ministry. We’ve started a social business. I don’t have the option to theologize on the site too much. (trust me I’m a grad student at Duke, I have a lot to say too) Churchrater is a democratic tool, meaning I can’t force people to use the site the way I want them too.

        I’d love to start stopchurchconsumerism.com but I’m afraid that would simply be a pep rally for the liberal Catholics and Evangelicals that already agree with my position. I couldn’t get the people in the room who disagree with me that way.

        I also can’t control the blogosphere, rarely do bloggers ever ask for interviews or want them. Thats just how it works, it’s an Op-Ed piece for everyone.

  • http://pastoralartist.blogspot.com Dan

    No one is more interested in the revitalizing of the church and the importance of relevance than I am. I’ve been in the ministry of church renovation for 20 years. I’m also a systems and measurement guy. However, I’m not so sure that I’m in favor of rating churches on the basis of a few subjective individuals and one visit. Anyone in ministry knows that there are good weeks and not so good weeks. If you rated the year that Brett Favre had by his last playoff performance, you’d say that he was terrible, when the truth is that he had an incredible year. I do acknowledge that, for the most part, these visits are requested by pastoral staff, so I guess you get what you’ve asked for. My hesitancy would be the random unsolicited visit as well as the obvious lack of consideration for practically anything else the church was about. You’re scoring the show and, in my mind, ignoring what the heart of the church is about. Since you asked.

  • http://www.churchrater.com TylerM

    Hey Dan,

    Thank you for your thought,

    I want to make sure the two-fold nature to the site is spelled.

    1.) The ChurchRater Site Itself- Everyone can come on and write a rating of a church, both first time visitors and long time members. We in no way confine the parameters to just one visit. We’ve seen ratings from people that have gone to a church just once and all the way up to 25 years of attendance. We also in no way confine the rating to the sunday “show” either. Most people actually focus on the community first when they write ratings on their own church.

    Also, everything is subjective when it comes to humanity. There is no such thing as objectivity, only observations.

    2.) A Separate Service That Can Be Requested Through The Site- We hire people, at the request of churches to get an outsider to come to their church and write a critique. Yes this critique is based on the sunday morning service, but keep in mind that is where the majority of churches in this country focus most of the their effort. However, in the critiques we’ve seen by these outsiders they usually mention that other aspects of the ministry were mentioned (small groups, mission trips, and service to the poor). We understand the limitations of only rating a Sunday service, but so do the churches that hire us. What we are finding though, is outsiders are actually curious about what other things the church is doing (bible studies and mission trips etc…). Also the church owns these reviews and can choose to put them up on the site or not.

    • http://pastoralartist.blogspot.com Dan

      Thanks for the reply Tyler… it was helpful. The publicity that this is generating paints a different picture so your thoughts are helpful. I’m still not very comfortable with anything that might seem to be encouraging the consumer mentality that prevails in the US church. My experience is that addressing the concerns of one consumer usually results in a reaction from the other consumers. I often wonder what Christians in developing nations do when the environment is not to their liking. Do they church shop like we do? Most likely not. I wonder where the mission field really lies.

      • http://www.churchrater.com TylerM

        Hey Dan, I think most people in the 3rd world would look at us with tilted heads when it came to how American Christians switched between churches like we go through brands of clothing. But also their are lots of denominations within America that even though they might not have the “relevancy” of modern pentecostal and evangelical groups; they aren’t suffering from the temptation of consumerism. For instance I can’t really imagine a laser lights show attracting people to an Eastern Orthodox service. I’m not saying that consumerization is a wholly pentecostal and evangelical problem, to be fair Cardinal Mahony built a $200 million Catholic Cathedral. I’m simple saying that in other denominations it’s not a matter of finding a church with different doctrine, better music, or pastoral style, but rather finding a parish/church within a particular denomination where you can find some friends who share the same faith.

        As a Roman Catholic on of my biggest concerns is that people my age (22-30) are absolutely left out in the cold by the Church. We have Catholic schools that get give us a Church community until we are done with college and then we are basically booted out programmatically until we have a family. That could be a 10 year gamble on someones faith, now considering the average age for someone getting married is rapidly approaching 28. I’ve talked with several Catholic Priests in the Raleigh-Durham area who love the idea of churchrater, if only in the fact that someone might stand up and point out where the young people are. And frankly if the Archdiocese of Raleigh isn’t addressing this problem someone needs to rate them on it. We have Duke Med, UNC Med, and the Research Triangle Park; all packed full of Catholic young professionals, yet those same numbers aren’t showing up at Mass.

        Though the tagline for our site might be “find a church that fits,” it can go both ways. People my age aren’t really looking for a place that matches all their criteria for a great church. I think people are actually looking for a place where they will fit in (hence the dual meaning). I really do hold to the mantra, “Ask not what your church can do for you, but what you can do for the Church.” I just need to find a church that has an attitude like that first, hence churchrater.

        I do understand your concern about the consumerism though, Jim and I talk about it often. McChurch really bugs us too, why can’t we just be like the Quakers. Would the Spirit move any less without the music while we sit in silence? Even though we may use a 5 star system to “rate” things. They are really only observations; it’s a social science. Not a hard science.

        Ok back to the library for more reading on Proverbs,

        Thanks for the convo Dan, I look forward to reading your thoughts.

  • http://www.movement77.weebly.com Melissa

    My family has moved 4 times just since 2006. My husband is in the Army and as the saying goes, ‘Home is where the Army sends you’. We can unpack a house and make it look lived in within 3 days flat, we make re-locating look easy but let me tell you it isn’t. Finding a new church every year or 2 years is not easy but it is necessary. It gives us a place to meet people and make the new duty station feel more like home. We just moved again last month. Last night on ChurchRater I found a new church for us to check out. For me this is a good thing, for the church this is a good thing. Thank you ChurchRater.

    • http://www.contentunderpressure.net Josh

      I totally see your point here, Melissa. Good thoughts from a different perspective.

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  • http://www.churchrater.com Jim Henderson

    thanks for noticing our little project

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