Last week I went to Plymouth hoping to attend the 8:45 am service, it had been canceled and instead a woman offered to show me around the church and answer questions. The most interesting thing she said was that they interpreted the bible as if were poetry and had analogies, Christianity was more open to your own interpretation, while when I went the weekend prior to Mars Hill the sermon was on the cornerstone of a person's life. That it should be based on God and the exact words of the bible. It is interesting that Christianity can be so diverse, something I am realizing more of through reading evangelical vs. liberal and through the church visits. I have read about half of Wellman's book have been to two evangelical churches in the past two weeks, the reason I feel they speak of church growth is that is their mission, their sole priority. While for liberal churches their goal is to nurture the church they are in and create their own small community. It is not that liberal churches don't want to incorporate new people it is just that they like to keep their communities small and don't feel that their religion is completely compelling and encouraging them to reach out to everyone.
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