Mrs. Mac, our church secretary, got a very interesting call yesterday. A woman called and announced that she was "shopping for a church." I've heard the term before, but never really gave it much thought. It has a lot of implications that really are quite alarming.
If you are "shopping", you are comparing, which doesn't seem like a bad thing on the surface. But WHAT are you comparing? Are you lining up the color of the carpet in this church against how comfortable the pews are in another? Are you holding a timer to the preacher to see if one keeps you longer than another? Are you looking for a bargain? 'This church only meets twice a week instead of 3 times, so we won't have to invest as much of OUR time.'
If you are looking for a church that can do a lot FOR you, you're going about it all wrong. Churches are not here to provide meals for your family when you lose a loved one. They are not here to provide activities for your teenager or to babysit your children. They are not here to make you feel good. While all of those things probably do happen at some time at any given church, the church has a much more important purpose.
The church (meaning the people, not the building) has a two-fold mission: 1) to worship the One true God and Jesus, His only Son; and 2) to show the world how much God loves them. The church meets together to hear from God's Word and then to do what that Word says so we can make the Love of God visible to the world.
A church is not found by 'shopping.'
It is found by listening to God.
...Is His Word spoken from the pulpit?
...Is His love stirring in the people?
...How can I serve in this place?
It's not about shopping.
It's about being obedient.