Tapestry LA Church – 5 stars, 33 reviews
Grace Community Church – 4.5 stars, 56 reviews
Mosaic – 3.5 stars, 112 reviews
Did you ever meet the family of your friend or coworker? Did you check the Yelp review of that family? How many stars? Unless you’re in an episode of Black Mirror, it doesn’t exist. Not only would that be rude, it would nonetheless be meaningless and useless information. Yes, there are “good” and “bad” families, but it would be hard to judge on a few encounters, and what would the criteria be? What about for churches?
Gospel Life Mission Church – no review
and yes, Yelp reviews exist for many churches. They consist of personal experiences of regular people (not ecclesiological experts) recounting their first or tenth encounter. One Yelper was put off by the hipster pastor preaching while wearing a baseball cap (Hillsong LA). Another called the church (Grace Community) a group of Pharisees. Another Yelper loved the facilities but thought the preaching was novice and the people weren’t holy. lol
Youngnak – 4 stars, 17 reviews
Just like food Yelpers, these comments are not from professional critics or “experts” in their field. I would love to hear an in-depth church review from John Piper or a seminary professor, just like I would love to find just ONE COMMENT on Yelp from Gorden Ramsay. There are actually organizations that exist that help churches by evaluating everything from welcoming to preaching to membership class. I’ve seen it to be a long process, initiated by the church, and no, they don’t post on Yelp.
Oriental Mission church – 5 stars, 5 reviews
So what does a food Yelper know about food? Probably a lot. Probably very little. and bad service sometimes brings down an awesome chef in the kitchen. But that’s not my point.
Saddleback – 4.5 stars, 128 reviews
Most of us have never Yelp reviewed a church.Yet, the same thought process exists for a majority of people. How do you evaluate a church? How good is the praise? 5 stars? How good is the preaching? Did you feel welcomed? (75% of reviews addressed these top 3 questions.) How is the accountability or discipleship? How’s the childcare? (for parents) How’s the pre-service coffee? (for hipsters) How’s the facility? (for pagans) Do you feel like you belong?
Redeemer Pres – 5 stars, 1 review
And if something’s not perfect, or more commonly, doesn’t “meet your needs,” do you look for a different church? The problem with the Yelp mentality in looking for a church is that it’s unbiblical. True, the first century church didn’t have the options that we have today, that we’re willing to pass 50 other good churches on the way to our own. But from the earliest church community of the Old Testament, church was never about getting my needs met.
It was about following God and joining His community – being an active part of His body. It was about worship, not getting something out of it. Yes, faithful preaching of the Word is important. Discipleship is important. And I’m not about to enter into a theological treatise on the purpose of church. But starting with a Yelp mentality is the wrong place to start.
Just like none of us are in a perfect family, none of us will find a perfect church (not on earth, anyway). Just like any family, any church will have its share of problems. But do you leave the family because of its imperfections, or judge one because they don’t make you feel welcomed or because they’re not into the same music you like?
Find a God-honoring, Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching legit church, and stick with it. and even if you need help, don’t start with Yelp.