Yelp for church?
The Chicago Tribune today reports on the latest in user-generated rating sites: ChurchRater.com, where secret church shoppers can give the view from the pew. Founded by an evangelical pastor and committed atheist, ChurchRater is billed as a way to make sense of the some 350,000 congregations in the U.S.
One wonders how wide or deep any rating is going to be, especially if someone shows up at church one day and rates it based on that experience. (One review I read noted the lack of toilet paper in the bathroom.) Churches after all are complex phenomena, and a worship service or liturgy may not be the particular strength of a community. Then again, it's a reminder how in the marketplace first impressions really do matter. There's no denying that we live in a consumer-driven society, and churches have to give a reason for people to choose Sunday services over brunch--or at least services before brunch.
So how would you rate your parish? Be honest...