[photo: erin dunigan]
I have been serving congregations in San Francisco for about 20 years and have a pretty good grasp on the Christian church landscape of San Francisco. One of the wonderful aspects of San Francisco's diversity is the breadth of church manifestations that exists here: conservative to liberal, high church to house church, young and hip to intergenerational to down right old ... we have it all. Whether one is simply curious about Christianity or has been steeped in church culture for a lifetime ... it is difficult to find somewhere without getting a little overwhelmed by the possibilities.
Whenever folks come to visit the church I serve, I always encourage them to do a little "church shopping" during this time of discernment. Now I know some folks, if you are still reading, are rolling their eyes, "Great, just another marketing-lingo using pastor, jerk!" ... but why not put the same kind of intentionality into searching for your spiritual home as you do in looking for someone to care for your children, finding a good doctor or even discovering a great restaurant? Of course you will not be paying for services rendered, but you certainly want to make sure that you find a good fit.
So let me offer some advice, if you are looking for a church home here or anywhere else. I am sure there are lots of lists out there, but here are a few things I would suggest.
Five helpful tips to keep in mind
Five Filters to install
Number one thing for me if I were choosing a church
A church should care more about your spiritual health rather than your attendance at their particular church. If you get a whiff of the idea that you are an offering unit, membership number or potential worker bee, run, run as fast as you can and move on to the next place.
There are so many wonderfully loving, justice seeking and faithful congregations here in San Francisco, that this time of searching can be really quite liberating. Feel free to ask questions here if you want and/or lift up any of your congregations.
This post has been edited from its original posting on www.reyes-chow.com.
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