Saturday, June 23, 2012

Church Shopping

As Jeff and I began to prepare for this new Season of Sabbath, one thing that was a priority for us was finding a new church. We have done a little bit of visiting other churches both while dating and married, so we have had a few conversations about what we like and don't like about some of these places. As we began to prepare for this transition, we started having more conversations about what we feel is important in our church home and we started making a concrete list of what we are looking for.

Our Shopping List:
Less than 15 minutes drive
Associated with an established denomination
Community that is friendly and welcoming, but not all up in everyone else's business!
Average attendance of 100+, but not so huge we feel anonymous
Worship space that feels like a sanctuary, not an auditorium!
Sunday School or Small Groups (*this can come from someplace other than our "main" church, too!)
Opportunities to get involved, but not feel pushed or obligated to do so.
Active programs for children and families of all ages.
Worship that is comfortable for both of us.
Sound theology!
Diverse leadership

We also started making a list of the places we would like to visit. Some are more "church tourism" because we are curious about them or know people who go there, not because we think we would actually attend on a regular basis. Others are because we have started doing our homework and, on paper, these churches meet most of these requirements. Some we won't know until we visit, which is why it is important to visit. I need both the information on paper as well as the experience so that I can make a decision I am happy about. 

There are very few things that are absolute deal-breakers for me, but there are a few. I want to hear good, sound theology in preaching and worship that happens with intention and not just a feel-good motivational speech with a few trendy songs. I want to SEE a variety of people, especially in leadership positions. I want to see and feel that people are there to worship and learn, not just socialize or gossip. Most of all I want to know that there is respect and regard for everyone, not just from the pastor but from the community as a whole. This weekend will be our first opportunity to begin working our way through the list we already have and really thinking about where we want to find our home. Part of me says I want to be settled someplace by the end of August, but I know this is a process that will simply take as long as it's going to take and I can't rush it!

What do you look for in a community of faith? Have you ever done any "church shopping"? What was the experience like for you?


  1. Visiting churches can be hard at times. It's really difficult to know if the church has all or most criteria in short time visiting, isn't it? Will be praying that God will lead you and your husband to the body that exalts Christ and His word! :)

  2. I love that you and your hubby put together a list of what you want. I hope you find what you're looking for, it's definately difficult! Blessings!