Sunday, October 31, 2010

Church Shopping

I've always found the term "church shopping" amusingly apt, 
at least if you compare church shopping to house or car shopping.
You start out with a list of "must haves" and a list of "hope to haves"
and then you go to several different places, trying to find one that meets most of what's on your lists.
I haven't attended church regularly in a very long time--since high school, in fact.
I haven't really missed it, spiritually speaking.
I've studied the Bible and the history of Christianity on my own, both through my Religious Studies minor and through personal reading of books like Misquoting Jesus.
My husband and I have great discussions about belief and faith, and have had this blog as an outlet to flesh out my thoughts about my faith, to share them with others, and to have discussions with other bloggers.

One aspect of church that I have missed is being a part of a community that is united for a common purpose.
In college, I didn't miss this at all, because I was an Aggie!
At A&M there is a strong sense of unity in the student body, and I was involved in several student organizations.  
And of course there were the football games!

Since college, I was a part of such a community at my former job, as a high school teacher.
At my high school, there was a sense of family among the faculty, and definitely a sense of common purpose.
There was even a unity between the teachers and the students found in our school pride and spirit.

Now, however, I don't really belong to a group beyond my family and circle of friends.
While I love my family and friends to death, I miss belonging to a bigger group which has a common focus AND in which there is the possibility of meeting new people.
I also am desperately trying to develop interests and hobbies that let me get out of the house lol.

Another aspect of church that I have missed is the comforting familiarity of the services.
I'm aware that many Christians these days would see these as lesser reasons to start visiting a church.
However, as I've mentioned before, I've long sense stopped letting what others think of my spiritual and religious journey determine what path I take.
Also, I think church is the social part of the man-made construct of religion, so I don't think looking for a church for social reasons is "lesser".  That said, I do want there to be spiritual aspects that I agree with in the church we eventually attend.

So, with all that in mind, I have decided that it is time to go "church shopping"!
Bryan is wonderfully supportive and is happy to go with me.
He was raised going to a Church of Christ, and I was raised Methodist.
After talking about it, we have decided to start visiting the nearby Methodist churches first.

Well, though there are a few aspects of Church of Christ theology that we both agree with, there are many things we agree with in Methodist theology.
Also, Methodist theology is much more laid back than Church of Christ theology.
And thirdly, all of the churches that are closest to where we live are Methodist ;-).

So, what are we looking for in a church?
Our "Church Shopping" List
  • *Welcoming, non-judgmental atmosphere
  • *Good sermon--hopefully with good cultural-context references and solid theological elements that prompts discussion upon our return home
  • *A good worship service that's not too contemporary
  • A good kids' program and a solid youth group (both for volunteering and future purposes)
  • A good variety of Bible study groups/small groups

Next Sunday we will visit our first church.
I have high hopes for this one, based on what I've seen and read on their website.
We'll see how it goes!



  1. OH Church of Christ.... @_@

    Good luck! :) Let me know how it all goes!


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