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LostInParadise's avatar

What do you think of having churches in strip malls?

Asked by LostInParadise (29299points) July 3rd, 2018
21 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

This east coaster just got back from a trip to Los Angeles for the wedding of the daughter of a cousin. It is a whole different world out there. There was nothing but housing developments and strip malls.

It was a fairly wealthy section of LA. Everything was well maintained. It was common to have churches in the malls, including one calling itself the Church of California. I mean no offense to those of you who live out there, but it reminded me of Gertrude Stein’s description of Oakland as having “no there there”.

It added to things that the bride was a bit quirky even by California standards. At the wedding reception, she demonstrated he ability to do backflips, and managed to do so in her wedding gown without any wardrobe malfunction.

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Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why not? In theory, it is the Community that makes the religion, not the physical building.

And in a strip mall, the rent is much more likely to be palatable (than paying a mortgage on a building specially built as a church).

And then there are any number of synagogues and churches that share the same buildings, for the same reason.

Not surprising at all.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It happens all the time here in east tn where strip malls have fallen out of favor and churches can acquire a large amount of SF for next to nothing.

rebbel's avatar

SF, @ARE_you_kidding_me?
Science Fiction? San Francisco?

elbanditoroso's avatar

Square footage

stanleybmanly's avatar

Strip malls out here are struggling, and therefore the place you can find rent bargains. You wouldnt believe how many former movie theaters and supermarkets out here have big neon crosses on their marquees.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I live in a small town on the East Coast. The large older churches are rapidly dying due to the fact that the people who believed in supporting them were the wealthy older population & most have died. The younger generations don’t believe in tithing…hence NO income to support the large, fancy churches that we grew up attending.

Now, many of the churches are downsizing to buildings that were once a business but will still accommodate the members WITHOUT the huge expenses that huge churches entailed. There are no established pews & the chairs that are used can be placed in a formation that suits the day’s attendance. So, moving the chairs closer together near the center in front of the preacher keeps the sanctuary from appearing empty.

My church in it’s heyday had over 600 regular Sunday members most of which tithed a good bit & on a regular basis. Now, we are down to maybe 200 members who regularly show up on an inconsistent basis & they don’t tithe. With the pews that were initially installed, it is obvious that over 400 members are missing. Current members still want to sit where their family sat for years. It costs MORE to heat or cool the sanctuary than we are currently taking in. Our Wednesday night service is often held at a member’s home due to decrease in interest. The elders of the church have been hinting that we need to move into a smaller location where the expenses won’t be more than the income. I don’t think it matters where we meet as long as we receive the blessings!!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

Happening here in rural Missouri, too. They no longer have the congregations/ money to support those large, rambling church estates and outbuildings. Isn’t what I grew up with, but it serves a purpose a few times a week.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, why not? Religion is becoming a thing of the past…and it even makes me, an agnostic, sad to say that. As a result they can’t support big buildings any more. Why have all that space when you only have 20 members?
And it doesn’t matter where you gather, as long as you gather with a good heart.

seawulf575's avatar

It isn’t just strip malls. I have seen malls that are struggling and churches are moving in to them as well. The location isn’t important for a church.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It used to be @seawulf575. Used to be people would have been scandalized if there wasn’t some sort of something that set it apart from any other building. Spires, reaching for the sky, whatever.

ragingloli's avatar

Why not? Churches have always been about filling the pockets of the clergy.
They can now start to openly charge for “services”, tiny plastic bottles of “holy” water, and a “disciplining room” in the back when little Timmy is recalcitrant again and needs a sore backside to teach him a lesson.
At least they would finally be honest about their true nature.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III That’s true. A House of God and all that. But going back all the way to the beginning of Christianity, it was the teachings, not the trappings. In fact, when things got too secular, Jesus tossed out the money changers at the temple. The disciples taught from houses and from the road. Paul preached from jail often. The separate building with the steeple and all that was used to identify a place where worship happened. But it certainly was never a rule from Jesus.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s right @seawulf575. They were really monuments to power…..

Darth_Algar's avatar

Oh the other hand there are those huge evangelical megachurches that are the size of sports arenas and have coffee shops and gift stores installed in them…

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III some were. But you obviously haven’t been to church in a long time, if ever. Churches I have attended have set up daycares and schools. They have set up food collection centers for the needy. They have used the space for a lot of good things. Just because a church has a separate building doesn’t mean they are showing off or are trying to oppress people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I went to church my whole life, until about 2006. No need for the snark.
My church had a private school, and my oldest attended there until 6th grade. It was more a school first and a church 2nd. Every Sunday and Wednesday this guy set out folding chairs in the gym for church, then picked them all back up afterward.
I was the head of the preschool classes on Sunday and Wednesdays.
Of course, they pretty much NEED a separate building to support all of that.
When I said many of them were more of a monument to power, I was really thinking more along the lines of something like this:.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When the Jehova’s Witnesses came on the scene I was really struck by how plain Jane their “churches” were…they were just Morton buildings with doors and windows. That kind of made me go, “Hmmmmm…..”

LadyMarissa's avatar

I wasn’t a fan of the strip mall churches when they first became popular. I don’t like assuming that I know what others think without experiencing it myself; so, I chose to visit several of those churches so I could form a definite opinion. Although I was conditioned to prefer the fancier churches that look prettier, I found the church’s message was much more vibrant in the smaller less ornate buildings. At first I was opposed to my regular church downsizing; but, now I am more of a supporter of the cause!!! I’ve come to the realization that it’s NOT the beauty of the church but the beauty of the message that counts!!! It only takes, 2 people to have a service & if only 1 of those 2 receives the message, it does NOT matter what the surrounding are!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. The pastor was everything.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

When I was a little child I remember us being taught that you cannot have CHURCH without U.

A Church is a group of people. They may have a big beautiful building or they may meet on Sundays in a community center or member’s living room. Or, yes, in a shopping center unit.

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