Searching for a church to belong to in an area I'm unfamiliar with has really made me think about what characteristics are important to have in a local body of believers. When I moved to attend The Master's College, I received much help in the church hunt, because churches were both numerous and had numbers of attendees. All I had to do was talk to a classmate to find out additional information.
I ponder such things as these...
"Well, this church seems really good. There are lots of people my age (which is nice for fellowshi), the messages are applicable and biblical, there are plenty of opportunities to serve within the community. BUT it's kind of large. I was able to walk in and out of the service without talking to anyone, besides thanking the guy who held a door open for me. Do I like that? Would I feel comfortable having to make myself known to people, is it my responsibility? Or is it the congregation's? Another thing is, many of the people there are artistic free spirits. Would I blend in?
"And I really feel at home in this other church. It's smaller, and they've practically invited me to serve with them already, in more than just one facet, even before I moved up here. But there's hardly anyone my age--I'm stuck in the middle. Their preaching and doctrine is sound, and I love that.
"My roommate's church seems cool. It's smaller, and they really reach out to the community by having a food giveaway every Saturday, and free flea markets every once in a while. The only thing that bothers me just a little, is that the paster (a she) takes John 10.10 ("life abundantly") to speak of material things. Her reasoning for having wealth is okay (to spread the good news), but God has not ordained everyone for prosperity. To give and give, and tell people that why they are giving is because everyone is supposed to be rich...I don't know if I'm comfortable with that. Not to say I don't rejoice in the fact that this church is reaching out to its neighbors!! Praise God for that."
So you can see I'm dealing with a few issues.
-opportunities to serve
-interpretation of Scripture
And I think those issues are key things in churches. I just have to figure which things are more important, and which things I can sacrifice just a little.
*EDIT* Please let me know when I make an atrocious grammatical error!! :-)