If it were up to just me, I might want a church where I could be invisible.
I would be comfortable if I could just punch in a bit late to avoid having to talk to people and punch out as soon as the service ended to avoid having to talk to people. If I had an invisibility cloak, I would wear it. I could lose control completely and cry during the singing or the sermon or whenever without fear that anyone would see and ask if something was wrong. If "church" was only a place to go once a week, a box to check off, that might be what I would want.
Invisibility is not what I need.
So I am looking for a church that is not big. A church where people from the community (including those from places other than the white, upper class USA) come to be broken together. A church where the doctrine is solid, but love is a verb, and people notice when you are not there and are concerned about you. A church where I can participate in the music, where I am challenged to think and to act and to be an active member of the body of Christ.
And I think I've found it.
Yes, we finally went church hunting with intent (with the remaining members of my small group who had not yet found a new church). We talked about what was really important (deal-breakers) and things that shouldn't be as important. We generated a list of places to look, and then we started visiting.
We found outstanding messages and good community representation at this one church, but it was huge, and no one knew anyone else, so it wasn't much different from the church we used to attend. Here is where I learned that unless I can sing the music (a hymnal or worship choruses everyone knows do the trick just fine), I will not really feel like I am participating in worship, and I need to feel like I am participating.
Another church was filled with only GenXers and Millenials and no real opportunities to serve in the community.
The folks I was attending with sort of ran out of steam at this point. Two of us tried this other church, and I got a huge crush on it immediately. I thought they would never like it, though, because it was not the kind of traditional Baptist church I thought they were used to.
But then, after the holidays, we tried it again. And again. And then they wanted to try that other church with the great pastor as a palate cleanser to see if they were just "settling" because they were tired of looking, and then they left that service early because it didn't have what they had seen at the church I was crushing on, so now we're going to this church together, a little surprised that we found something so great so quickly.
I am cautiously optimistic.
It is a church very much like the one I grew up in: kind of rowdy but firmly grounded in the Bible and each other. I'm pretty sure that at some point, they're going to go further than I am comfortable with towards the "charismatic" side of things, but I might just be hypersensitive because of my undergraduate college years and dead dream of teaching at my alma mater someday and thus needing to stay in very doctrinally sound (never challenging any edges) sorts of churches. We'll see how things go as two introverts, one extrovert (sort of), and two kids try to find out where we can fit in this church, where we can be ministered to and where we can use our gifts to serve others.
Let the adventure continue.