At my church, we're starting plans (slowly, but surely) to add a Saturday evening worship service, for a variety of reasons, which maybe I'll write another post about soon. Anyway, in planning, I was talking with a parishioner about how people end up at the church they attend. I was 'born into' one church when I was little. My parents eventually led me to a new church home when I was a sixth-grader, where I went grudgingly at first, but eventually came to love. I stayed at that church until, well, I became a pastor! During college, I attended one of the UMC churches in town, but hopped from church to church too. During seminary, we had a very strong community of worship in our own chapel. So I've never really been in the position to seek a church to call my own.
So I want to know - how do people find a church? If you've had the experience, I want to know, if you are willing to share:
How many churches did you visit before you landed where you attend?
Where you invited by someone to the church you now attend?
What were you looking for in a church?
What did you find that 'made' or 'broke' the deal for you?
Is it the music, or the preaching, or the fellowship that keeps people coming back to a church, or running from it? I'm sure it is a combination of all these things and more - but if you have some insights, I'd appreciate your sharing.