I am resisting my professional training and personality trait to make a list and being rating the churches. I have already envisioned the Excel worksheet, neat sections for different aspects of church life, cross-sectioned with weightings and then a simple 1 to 5 rating system (10 point systems are simply too broad).
I resist because it seems somehow wrong to find a new faith community in this manner, although I am trying to determine exactly why. Perhaps I feel it is too analytical or cynical, too narrow for God to work through. Nonsense though. God works through anything God pleases--at least that is what I take away from the Word. Maybe it is not fair. Not fair to rate a community gathered to worship God on their music selections that week, the bulletin order or how many people noticed us hovering in our own little bubble. It probably isn't fair, but it is hard to avoid evaluating.
If I do start that Excel file, I can at least start filling out the part on children's church, as that is most of what I have seen the past two Sundays. The girls have enjoyed their children's church experiences at two churches quite a bit, but weren't willing to let me go. I guess I will have to hold off on rating those churches on sermon message content/delivery or the overall service until I see a bit more.
Of course, I want to be wowed by God's presence in the worship and through the people so much that my brain forgets to evaluate and simply listens to a heart whisper that says "yes, here, this one".
Mike says he's found us a church, apparently hearing that heart whisper. The commute will be tough though for any sort of weekly attendance, given the church is in Beijing. I think even my six-year old would pick up on the irony.