extracurricular church-tivities

I haven’t written about this in a long time, but some of you may remember that one significant activity on my yearlong road trip was visiting lots and lots of church worship services.

I visited 165 weekend church services during that year, in fact. (That’s an awful lot.) I got to attend dozens of the country’s most influential or most historic churches, hear lots of famous pastors in their home pulpits, and visit all sorts of interesting church forms (multi-site, multi-venue, Emerging, Emergent, internet church, speedy church, house church, collegiate church, many denominations / fellowships, etc., etc., etc.). It was pretty exciting. And occasionally exhausting!

The church visits from August 2007 through December 2008 can be seen here. (I still need to update it for 2009.)

Some of that was more or less “extracurricular,” since the purpose of the trip was investigating college ministry work around the country. Still, those visits often coincided with exploring a church’s college ministry; other times I was examining a “contemporary” or “edgy” service specifically targeting college students and young adults.

In any case, I guess I got hooked, because I’ve continued that practice over the last year, during my four additional road trips and even here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I haven’t quite kept up the insane pace of last year, and no weekend has approached the 9-service weekend of last summer. Yet I continue to add to my total.

(And don’t worry, I’ve also found a church of my own to get plugged in to; I attend every weekend I’m home and visit the others around its schedule.)

My ultimate hope is to share what I’ve seen and learned as a visitor in well over 200 different churches… maybe a book and/or articles? I’m optimistic about American Christianity and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing “living church history” in action… and yet I’ve also had the chance to think about ways we can improve, too. You start noticing weird stuff when you’ve been in hundreds of churches in less than two years!

For now, if you’re interested in all this, I encourage you to check out my Twitter feed each weekend (whether you personally Twitter or not). I generally note the places I visit and an occasional comment on aspects I find interesting. It’s nothing much, but I thought you might wanna know.

And if you’ve got ideas on how I can help others with this info or spread what I’ve learned from all these experiences, let me know! I’ll be weighing that opportunity in the coming days.


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