Thursday, January 31, 2008

church search

Yesterday I got home early from work and spent too much some time looking online for churches in our area that we could visit. Last Sunday struck home to me once again that--while I really like the pastor of the church we're attending, and the people are nice--this church is just not working for me or for our family. DH and I have talked about this on numerous occasions and just scratched our heads on what to do about it.

So...where was I? Oh yeah...the internet.

Well, after ruling out Catholic churches because we're not Catholic, Southern Baptist Churches because they can't seem to get past constantly harping about gender issues and I get annoyed by that, and very wacky charismatic churches, there's not much left to choose from. Nondenominational churches are a mixed bag. They can be very charismatic or KJV-only dogmatic. You never really know until you visit.

I sifted through the web for the few churches left that didn't fall into those categories and was depressed by what I found.

Here are a few things I came across that set off warning signs:

1. If the church's staff members all share the same last name, that's bad. A church run by one family is just asking for trouble.

2. If the What We Believe section is five pages long and has more detail than an electrical engineering book, that's bad. The need to place disputable matters alongside basic doctrines of Christianity indicates a rigid and closed perspective.

3. If the church has a page describing how it is a new work and explaining how other churches have lost their way and are gravely mistaken about how to do church, and how this church would never do that, that's bad. The church is likely the result of a split from another church and there will be a whole lot of baggage to work through.

4. If the Pastor's page lists all of his ministerial experiences, and you add it all up to discover he has been in 7 different churches in the span of 10 years, that's bad. Someone can't seem to keep a job or live in a stable way. Run for the hills on that one.

5. If the home page has an advertisement for So and So's worship CD's, who also happens to be married to one of the church leaders, that's bad. The church is not a place to hawk your son-in-law's products.

I finished my web search with a discouraged heart.

Surely somewhere in this community is a healthy, open church that we can be a part of and serve in. It couldn't be that hard to find one, could it?


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