Every person has a checklist when they are looking for a new church home. Right? Right?
Being a person who has been on staff more times than just being an “attender,” I haven’t truly been able to compile my own lists. I have basically been bound to stick with a certain “type” of church, and when I was on track to be hired at a church… well, let’s just say you’re practically raked over the theological coals.
Now we are starting new. We are able to go anywhere we like. This has opened us up to some options and questions. Some are easy to know like:
*We don’t want to be part of a church that has a “traditional” service and a “modern” service. That usually means there’s a BIG music battle. No thank you.
*We are shy of “Firsts.” (Too much baggage. Both ours and the church’s.)
*We don’t want generic, feel-good, churches where the jargon is far too hip and cool to be truly relevant (which is ironic, considering relevance is their whole goal). Yeah… no thank you to the “worship experiences,” “doing life together,” etc.
*We don’t want unwilling to reach out, ultra-conservative, and refusal to change churches either. (Is something in the middle too hard to ask?)
So what do we want? Do we want to switch denomination? Female pastor? House church? Saturday night church? Small? Big?
Today we began our journey and some clarifications have been made (for me, at least) on what my heart is searching for:
*Post-conversion baptism. (I am so moved by it. That physical representation of what Christ did for us makes me cry in joy every time. I don’t think I could attend a church that doesn’t have it, simply because it’s important for me.)
*A church that has messages that tend to be more expository than topical. The church we attended today – his message was out of a book he recently wrote (for sale in the foyer!). We used 4-5 verses from different spots of the Bible. I don’t want to be in a place that drones on and on lifelessly, but I also want to feel like I am using the Bible I am holding in my lap.
*A church that doesn’t make me feel like a clueless outsider. Today we had just one person say hi to us. We felt lost, and I’ve worked in churches with a similar set-up. If anything, this place should have felt like home. It didn’t. I worked for a pastor that once said that people who attend a church for a first time should feel like the guest at your home at Thanksgiving. Would you let that person be clueless or would you be letting them know your silly traditions (ex: helping them prepare to come up with something to say that they are thankful for)? You’d FILL THEM IN.
I’ll probably be adding to this list as the weeks go on, but I’m taking the time to write about this from a newbie’s standpoint.
What are things on your “checklist?”