Today began the search for a church in my new town. I've missed it. Before I moved to AR, I had a church that I truly enjoyed. For me, the test is the service itself. I went on Saturday night (same service as Sunday morning). There are times I just want to enjoy the service - the music and the message. "Involvement" is secondary. I did eventually find such a place in AR as well.
Oddly enough, I look two ways. Always keeping my eyes peeled while I'm scooting about town and also checking on the internet to find out about service times, beliefs/philosophy, etc. Generally, I'm on the look out for nondenominational. Alas, from what I can tell, a Saturday service is not going to be an option in this area.
So, this morning my friend, JB, and I visited a church. It had been enthusiastically recommended by a friend who had heard good things. Huge building, but pretty. It started out well. They were friendly, "registered" us as guests and gave us a brief tour. Then we headed to the sanctuary for the service. Big and circular (two levels) with the folding seats. You know, the kind that pop up when you stand up. Ugh. I prefer benches in church. Too much standing and sitting for those kinds of seats. But, that's minor.
The first thing we noticed was no program. Oh, they gave us a nice glossy "program," but no sequence of events, no outline, nothing. Very glossy, very pretty, but no information about the service. Sigh. The music starts. We enjoyed the music. Next thing we know, they're passing out communion. The pastor hasn't even gotten up yet or said anything. There has been a brief opening prayer. So, they pass out communion and folks just drink their little bit of wine and eat their wafer. I was aghast. Most services have a component for new believers. What does this tell them. I've never seen communion not led by the paster and not done by all at once. And, certainly not done in such a nonchalant way. Big turn off for me. And, we were told, they do communion every Sunday. This though, wasn't communion, at least not for me. Then they tithe (and sing some jazzed up tune during it). Then finally, the message. However, the reason I like an outline of the service is so you aren't constantly flipping back and forth in the bible during the message. The look up is distracting and I want to be able to focus on the message. Apparently, he was wrapping up a message on the book of John. And, it wasn't bad. But, I don't think this is the church for me. I'll keep looking.