We are at a place where we are looking for a church home. Yesterday, we traveled 13.5 miles to visit a Baptist church that we had heard some good things about. I had listened to a couple of sermons and thought they were good.
We arrived and parked in the lot. There were no signs to lead us to where to enter, but we saw several people heading to the back. We followed suit, and discovered that was where the main entrance to the sanctuary is. We entered and found a seat. Someone did hold the door for us and we were handed a bulletin, but other than that, we received no greeting or acknowledgement. We sat within 3 feet of where a man was standing and talking to others. Turns out he was the pastor. No, I don't believe that the pastor has to greet every visitor, but I also believe that the church will often follow the pastor's lead. If he only talks to the same people every week (and I am not saying that is the case here, but it could be) then the church often follows suit. My wife did comment about how they seemed friendly amongst themselves.
If I could say anything about this visit, I would say that is was clinical. The message was good, but lacked passion or challenge. It was very intellectual. It was well researched and delivered. The church was the same. The people were nice and appeared to enjoy one another, but it seemed to lack depth. Lots of handshakes, brief conversations, and then off to their seats.
So on the way home, my wife asked what I thought. I told her it was okay, and that there were some positive things but also some things that bothered me. The bottom line for me was that we needed to look closer to home. Not to find a better church, but to find a place where we can get more involved without being hindered by a 25 minute drive one way. We need to and hope to find a place in our own community where we can be a part of a family, even if is slightly dysfunctional.