Bunnie Diehl posts on the article, GOD (Trade Mark): It worked for burgers, now churches try franchising, written by by Patrick Kampert, Chicago Tribune staff reporter and published January 16, 2005. She wrote a good commentary on her blog.
The Chicago Tribune had a fascinating article today about how "non-denominational" evangelical churches have begun franchising in the Chicago area. The article, which I couldn't find online, began: "Scott and Michelle Knollenberg of Plainfield can spend their Sundays letting national chains cater to their every need -- physical, material and now, spiritual." The Knollenbergs are members of the non-denominational denomination Community Christian Church. Other non-denominational denominations include Willow Creek, New Life and Harvest Bible Chapel. The Knollenbergs say that their non-denominational denomination is not backward, like other Christian churches. Indeed, their non-denominational denomination's church features a (YAWN) coffee shop in the foyer. The Chicago Tribune says the Knollenbergs don't fit the "judgemental fundamentalist" stereotype because they would turn the TV station if a televangelist was on. Their church -- along with Willow Creek non-denominational denomination churches -- "put a priority on delivering a highly professional presentation to audiences that have grown up with 16-screen cineplexes, big-budget musicals and elaborate concerts." Christology abounds! I mean, Pop-culturology abounds!
I was intriged by the "backwards" comment. When did American evangelicals ever appear backward, unless a "progressive" was doing the judging? Unless the American evangelical is the "progressive" doing the judging: "Jim Hilmer, a Florida marketing consultant and a former executive for Blockbuster and the Leo Burnett ad agency, is impressed by the trend. 'I think it's very inventive for the church world,' he said. 'Most churches are pretty staid and tradition-bound.' I found his comments ironic, because after 20 years of American-evangelical style contemporary worship, scripturally-based tradition was what I was craving. I think this comments reveals the elitist attitude I came to find in among some in the American evangelical movement. Thanks to the blogosphere I have learned of so many others who came to despise the movement and seek truly "authentic" worship in the church.