Well, one post to start wasn't enough, so I'll have to write 2. I thought about including this in the first one, but that would make it entirely too long.
My family and I moved to Omaha, NE from Louisville, KY in June of 2007. Since that time I've been looking for a church. I thought I'd write some about my search. I'll use fake names, because I'm largely sure that the churches I've visited love Jesus and in no way do I want to take away from what they're doing. But for various reasons they didn't work out for me.
This was the first church I visited when I got in town. I decided that I was going to be methodical about my search. So I did a search for "Baptist" on yahoo's yellow pages. I started with the closest one, and each week went to the next one on the list.
As I started driving to this church, I realized that I didn't know what "kind" of baptist they were. I've attended a KJV1611 church for a couple months before realizing what was going on. (For those who don't know, these type of churches think that only the KJV published in 1611 should be used, and the rest of the Bibles espouse heresy.) Additionally, I've worked with people who went to Baptist churches with women pastors (a stance, I do not agree with).
So I get into this church, and realize from the bulliten that the pastor was a guy (His name was Ray, or Dan, or something short and masculine). As I'm reading about their activities I see a brief doctrinal statement. In that statement they specify that the are pre-tribulational. Not a huge deal, as I myself have been pre-trib before. Heck, I might be right now, I'm not sure. But putting it in the statement of faith for their church seemed a little much.
They were nice. By that I mean, nobody really snubbed me. The pastor and door greeter talked to me for a couple seconds.
Nothing remarkable in their music, although all their songs appeared to be very purposefully chosen. Additionally, the sermon was about as standard as you can be.
I never went back. There wasn't anything wrong with this church, but there wasn't anything that said "This is where my family needs to be."
2) Recently moved church plant.
This church was actually closer to my home, but their old location is what Yahoo still had. I was a bit disappointed here in that their website said the service started at 10:30 so I got there at 10:25 (I don't like getting to new churches TOO early, but usually 5 or 10 minutes is enough). Problem was, their service didn't start till either 10:45 or 11, so I was there a long time.
This church was small enough that they knew I was a guest. This lead them to have the associate pastor "latch on" to me. Which was nice, he introduced me to several people there. All those people were nice as well. But at times I felt like I wanted to get away from him. Or maybe that I was on display as he bounced me from person to person.
The service started, and it was a store front with the ceiling painted black, spotlights (or lights of some kind) on the praise team while the rest of us were less well lit (we had some light, but our attention was forced to the front.) Again the songs weren't remarkable, except for the fact that several of them could have been sung about someone's girlfriend (since there was no mention of God or Jesus, but rather, how "you" make me feel.)
The sermon was on the importance of reading God's word. No doubt true, but it is a sermon that I have so rarely heard preached well. For 20 - 30 minutes this gentlemen went on and on about the importance of God's word. Yet, he did not preach God's word during that time. I left the service knowing nothing more of Jesus than when I went in. I did not feel as if I met him there (maybe a problem with me.) And only felt like "I should read my Bible more" in the same way that I know "I should eat out less and eat more vegetables."
I didn't even consider going back to this church. It just seemed like they were forcing it too much, and they, as a church, were really a place for young believers.
Wow, that's only 2 of the churches I've been to here (there are at least 9 so I'll have to shorten it up :D )