So, what am I looking for in a church? Several things:

1) Teaching of the Word – I’m not so much interested in what topics in particular, but how the church/pastor goes about it. Does the pastor choose a topic and then cherrypicks throughout the Bible to find passages that support his theory? (I particularly HATE this method because the passages are often taken out of context and seriously, in this case, I could make a case for many a weird and horrible thing.)

Personally, I’ve always preferred preaching/teaching that starts with a block of text and then expounds on that. What is the author of this Bible passage trying to tell us about God? What are some interesting things that might not have occurred to me about this passage? And of course, most importantly, how can this be applied to my life? Because without that final application, it doesn’t matter how many godly things I may learn about. My life will not change.

2) Diversity in the congregations – This can take on many forms. The church can be diverse in age, race, socio-economic background, immigration status, etc. I find that I am most comfortable with the diversity in race and age. I’m not as comfortable with different classes. That’s just to say that I’m an elitist. *sigh*

3) People I like – It’s shallow but what’s the point of growing in a community of people if you don’t like the people? (Not that you can’t be a jerk and start off hating everybody and then growing and changing and liking people. But you know, I’m not a jerk. At least, not always.)

4) Community Growth – It’s a bit of a combo between 1 and 3. I really miss the inductive Bible studies from my college days. (Can you believe it’s been over a decade already? Gosh, I feel so old sometimes.) I have enjoyed studying books with groups of people. Even when I have to constantly stifle my inner critic and elitist and force myself not to judge the people based on the quality or lack thereof (in my personal opinion) of the discussion. After all, that is just character growth because, as I’ve mentioned, I can be somewhat of a jackass.

5) Children’s Program – Most churches I think will do just fine in this department. Nothing like a bunch of Sunday School kids and curriculum. Although, I think I will be one of those annoying parents that will have trained their kids to constantly question things. I have a beef with some children’s programs, but it’s truly tough. (Mostly, I hate the way the Bible is taught – but I suppose it has to be age appropriate. But why is the mass genocide of Noah’s flood recast as a cute zoo exhibit? I find that exceedingly creepy.)

Anyhow, those are just the things that stick out to me. What about you guys? Anything in particular you look for in a church (or place of worship)?