Search for a Church: Attending Membership Classes

Some days it feels like my family has been searching for a church for many years and other days it feels like the journey hasn't been long at all. It has been long enough to allow us for visits to three dozen different churches, including repeat visits to nine. The search has given us enough clarity to select two congregations to learn more about through participating in their classes for perspective new members. These churches, hereafter Church A and Church B differ dramatically. These Read More …

Search for a Church: Repeat Visits

One of my resolutions  for 2017 is to "join (and be actively involved in) a local community of faith." Thankfully my recent experiences have helped prepare me to achieve this goal.  A few months ago I shared details of my visits to 34 different congregations.  Since that time, I have managed a few additional visits increasing the total to 36 congregations. The following chart offers a detailed accounting of the number of my worship experience by number of visits and the number of churches Read More …

Top 5 Posts of 2016

I appreciate each and every one of my readers. Your activity on my blog indicates that the most read So What Faith posts of the year are (according to the number of page views during this calendar year among all posts made during 2016) are My Transition from Professor to Student Search for a Church: 9 Months and Counting Top 10 Books of 2016 Search for a Church: The Final Four In Politics and Beyond, #LoveUltimatelyWins Previous Lists Check out my top posts of the year for Read More …

Church Giving – The 55/45 Rule

Leadership Network recently published an insightful article by Chris Willard and Warren Bird focused on giving metrics in the context of congregational ministry.  This piece mentions something I think should be called the 55/45 rule. This rule comes from research conducted by David Thoroughman, CEO of the donor analytics firm MortarStone.  Thoroughman found that, on average, 99% of a congregation's funding comes from giving units that give $200 or more a year but only 55% of all attendees Read More …

View from the Pew: 12 Sacred Spaces

Most followers of the Way of Jesus have a primary sacred space in which they gather for corporate worship.  Opportunities to experience elsewhere with another group of people are typically few and far between. While these words describe the norm, I have been living the exception since last September.  Over the last several months I have visited a new sacred space and worshiped with a new community of faith most weeks. Previously, I have shared images of my earliest experiences on this Read More …

Search for a Church: 9 Months & Counting

Last September following a move across the country my wife and I began to search for a church.  That search is ongoing.  To date we have reviewed the websites of 40+ Mainline Protestant congregations in our area identified 26 congregations for visits visited 23 congregations and planned visits to the 3 remaining congregations selected 5 congregations that appear possible matches and committed to visiting each a second time this summer Several key categories help me process my Read More …

All Time Most Popular Posts

I have now posted well over 1,600 times here at SoWhatFaith.com.  There are many reasons I keep writing, but none more important than you - my readers. Based on your views, my 16 most popular posts are Review of Not a Fan (2011) Lost, Found, Party (2015) Prayers of the People - Youth Sunday (2009) Reading the Whole Bible (2010) The Acceptable Year of the Lord - the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (2011) Top Church Websites (2012) 12 Marks of Convergence Christianity Read More …

Search for a Church – Taking Recommendations

Almost every study I have ever read finds that at least 3 out of every 4 people find a new church because of a recommendation. More specifically, someone already involved in a community of faith invited them to visit. So What? Now that my search for a church is in its fifth month, I am taking recommendations. In other words, feel free to invite me to your church - especially if you really think I would be a good fit. (If you have no idea whether or not I would be a good fit simply share Read More …

Search for a Church – Under Construction

The house my wife and I purchased late last summer has been under construction for the last six months.  For the last five months, our search for a church has also been an ongoing experience.  The construction at home has given me new eyes with which to observe the various faith communities  at home and to recognize that whether thriving, declining or somewhere in between each congregation is also under construction. So What? We know better than to look for a perfect church.  Instead, we Read More …

Churches Should Be More Like _____

Catherine A. Caimano's latest post suggests the church should be more like a gym.  As a clergyperson who serves as a denominational executive for the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, she regularly participates in the worship life of a number of congregations.  Based on the dissonance between her observations of how Sunday morning worship focused most local congregations are and her understanding of what a local community of faith should be, she suggests a shift is needed. Like a Read More …