Many of us will attend church this morning. I’d like to show you how to rate your church service while you’re at it.

Well, first of all, church is not a service, it’s a community. Which means you can’t actually “go” to church, you can only engage in church (or not). That said, nearly all of us will evaluate our church service using remarkably similar criteria:

  • How good was the preaching?
  • How good was the worship?
  • Did I feel a sense of belonging because people were friendly and inclusive?
  • If you’re a Geek, you may also ask, “Did they use any cool media or movie clips?” which is really asking, “Was this relevant?”

How to rate your church service: How good was the preaching?

As long as the word of God is being opened to people by someone who has prepared well with their heart in the right place, God has something for you somewhere in the message. Whether or not you “get it” has less to do with the delivery than it does with your attitude. If you go looking for spiritual nourishment, you’ll find it. God is on the prowl, trying to nab you with something each and every week. The real question is, is your heart in a receptive posture or a critical one?

How to rate your church service: How good was the worship?

Believe it or not, that’s almost entirely up to you. To be clear, God is the only one qualified to rate the worship, since he’s supposed to be the audience. People who come to church determined to worship God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength… succeed. Of course, the worship teams aren’t off the hook either. They have to work out their own excellence issues before God because what they do can make it more difficult for us to focus. But the only criteria I should be concerned with on a Sunday morning is, “Did I leave my all at the altar, not because they played my song, my way, but because God is worth it no matter what happens on stage?”

How to rate your church service: Did you feel a sense of belonging?

I long for people to feel welcomed and included. Community is where spiritual growth thrives and outreach flourishes and God has a heart for the lonely. The thing is, the only way for people to feel included is for you—and every other person in the church—to invite others into our personal space. Community is never someone else’s job. Ever. It’s always about me. You want community? Build it.

How to rate your church service: Was it relevant?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good movie clip. I enjoy exploring new worship songs, and a snappy dramatic sketch can do wonders for helping a message come alive. When a preacher connects what he sees in the Word with what he sees in the world, I get a clear sense that my faith is going to be critical for my survival on Monday morning. But relevance is far less about engaging culture than it is about engaging me. Preacher or not, its my job to connect what I see in the word with what I see in myself. If a Star Trek reference helps that along, great. If not, its still there, waiting for my heart to embrace.

In other words, what you “get” out of church today is up to you.

  • What attitude you bring to the table.
  • What worship you leave at the altar.
  • Who you reach out to.
  • How you process what you hear.

Now, these “how to rate your church service” ideas, while true, may give you hives. You may attend a church that makes each and every one of these more difficult than they have to be. If the preaching isn’t biblical, if the worship leading lacks excellence and passion, if no one reaches out or cares for you, and you’re left wondering “So what?” week after week, you may not be in a good church.

But I’d like to hear from you: What do you love about your church? How does your attitude shape your experience?