Church Shopping

Shopping for a church has to be one of the hardest, and most uncomfortable, things out there! I was raised in the church, yet going into new ones just seems so difficult and awkward to me. Its like going to an exclusive club and you don't know anyone...or like going to a new high school and trying to make friends!

Since we just moved, Ian and I thought it would be good to find a church before the baby is born. So, we have visited a different church each week to see what we like best. Obviously, we realize no church is perfect, but we want to find one we actually fit in at. So far, we have just visited churches that people recommended to us...a Church of Scotland (WAY old school), an Assembly's of God (pretty standard) and an independent church (probably the one we seemed to fit in the most at). The first thing I have noticed about church shopping is that churches have horrible websites. They seem to set up their websites for people who currently are going to their churches...and honestly, how often do you visit your church's website? The one thing that stands out, for all the churches, the address and a map showing where the church is located seemed to be deeply hidden in an odd place on the website. This is crucial information for new people and needs to be front and center! The second thing I noticed is that all the churches said they are "friendly" and you will be greeted by someone that recognizes you are new. At the second church we attended (AG), not one single person even said hi to about awkward! The first one (Church of Scotland), two guys did after church, thinking we were new students. Today, at the independent church, people were totally friendly. A lady came and chatted with us for a while, whom we later found out was the pastor's wife. Then, during the "greet" time in the service (which might I say really is an awful time for new people...and isn't it supposed to be for new people?!?) we talked to a really nice couple sitting in front of us. After service, we ran into a guy Ian works with and ended up talking to another guy (like our parents age), who was so friendly and seemed to genuinely take interest and care about us. It felt good. Isn't that the way you should feel at church?

An increasingly popular trend at churches is churches writing their own songs. I am not totally bashing this, as both the church in Pasadena and the church in Edinburgh that Ian and I attended wrote their own songs. But, it does make you feel like a fish out of water when you are church shopping! At least throw us new people a bone and sing one mainstream song!

Now, I know this next comment is getting a tad bit nitpickey, but hey, we are church shopping here, so I can be if I want to be! Both this Sunday and last Sunday, the churches served communion. This got Ian and I talking about our "favorite" ways of recieving communion. Both of us said we liked it when churches passed out the communion, then the pastor prayed and everyone took the communion together. These days, it seems to be everyone taking the communion as soon as they get it (either it being passed around or you serve yourself) and this is in the middle of worship. This doesn't really allow for any prayer or reflection time and honestly I don't like that. Isn't that what communion is all about?!? Well, that and the fabulous crackers!

Really, I say all this to let you all know that church shopping totally SUCKS! It's uncomfortable, not fun and makes me feel like a total outsider in a place that should feel like home...right? Maybe someday I will feel like I fit in at church, but in the mean time, we will pick a church that seems the best for us and go from there...


  1. Proud of you Jess, both for the way you and Ian look until you find home, as well as the values you so beautifully articulate! Praying daily for the baby to turn!

  2. A good book for you to read to get some laughs through this season is Jim & Casper Go to Church...however, it appears you can write your own now!

  3. Jess,
    This church shopping blog is really great for those of us who always try to be mindful of new folks. But, the stuff you mention about the website, communion and being genuinely friendly are really enlightening to me. Moreover, these are things I will take to our leadership team for reflection. Thank you!


Related Posts with Thumbnails