Posted by: Brian Musser | June 13, 2012

You Might Be in Church in Philly if …

If you haven’t gone to church in Philly then don’t read this because you won’t get it.

1)   The pastor starts his sermon illustration by saying, “I remember when Connie Mack was part of the Philadelphia Athletics and…”

2)  Published directions to the church include bus stops, train stations, subway terminals and trolley lines.

3)  The annual trip to the all-you-can-eat Amish buffet in Lancaster County is the best attended church fellowship event.

4)  Your church has membership in the GPBA, PBA, NBA, COGIC, AoG, AME, WNBA, PCA, PCUSA, ACTS 29 and several other acronyms that you don’t know what they mean all at the same time. And proud of it!

5) You have to be born, live your whole life and die in Philadelphia before you are eligible for “real” church membership.

6) When referencing the first great awakening you pastor points in the general direction of where George Whitfield stood and when referencing hypocrisy he tends to point in the general direction of Ben Franklin’s grave.

7)  You have heard the Philadelphia Eagles used in reference to how “all men fall short of the glory of God.”

8)  You passed “Joe Smith Sr.’s” church and “Joe Smith Jr.’s” church in order to hear the vibrant preaching of “Joe Smith III,” 3rd generation Philadelphia preacher!

9)  You had a fellowship meal consisting entirely of CheeseSteaks, Soft Pretzels, “Wooder” Ice and Red Drink.

10)  Sunday morning Church attendance is cut in half due to an unforeseen  Saturday night SEPTA strike.

11)  You have heard a minister thanking God for inspiring Bill Penn to create religious freedom and/or asking God to remove Bill Penn’s curse.

Seriously, though I say these things to remind students that whatever church you step into while at college, you are not just stepping into a church but also a culture.  Some things about that culture will confuse you.  Some things you may find to be hilarious.  Some things you may think are just down right wrong.  When entering a new church context try to be intentionally conscious of the cultural aspect of that church.  Keep in mind that the church you are at existed a long time before you showed up to it and will probably still exist after you leave.  There is a history there that is often neither right nor wrong it is just history.  It will be different than your history.  It will be a strange history to you.  Try to begin to love the church for that history. Try to begin to love that church for its culture.

If you have anymore “You might be in church in Philly if’s”  please do share in the comment section below.



  1. From Bill Mackie via facebook:
    Love it! May I add… when your Pastor leads a cheer of “Dallas sux” or the real service takes place afterwards at the All You Can Eat Buffet

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