We decided that since we can't get to our home church every Sunday due to finances, it's a 3+ hour drive each way, we would attempt to find a church around here to fill in the rest of the weeks.
The first one we called is a few miles up the road. Being that we are VERY picky, we had a few questions. We decided that since they practice open communion and have female lay readers this was not the place for us. It seems they feel that since they are the only "Lutheran" church for 50 miles that they can't turn people away from the rail. They see this as loving but I have a hard time seeing it that way.
We did find a pastor 50 miles from here in Bakersfield that seemed to be a bit better. They use a hymnal, LSB, have closed communion, and no lay readers. Sounded too good to be true. Of course being the EXTREMELY picky people we are we just decided that wasn't enough. The people at the church were very friendly. There was the less than stellar children's sermon focusing on Memorial Day, um...why do people feel the need to do children's sermons? Do the kids really need everything so watered down? I don't think so. But I can handle that, barely... The sermon was more of the Bible trivia type with no Law & Gospel, I could probably put up with that since the liturgy is good... The announcements during the service were just too much. After the offering but before the prayers was where they decided to discuss the youth group raffle, Sunday school, VBS, etc. To my horribly picky sensibilities it seemed disrespectful. We are supposed to be there to be receive God's Word and to interrupt that to discuss the goings on of the church was just too much. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be that way but I can't see it any other way.
It's frustrating! There was a few more things that we didn't care for, communion only once a month was one of them. But all together we know it's too much. Everyone has different tolerances so it might work for some but not for us. We've made a lot of mistakes at churches over the years, leaving when we could have stayed and staying when we really should have just left. One thing I have taken away from all those experiences is that when your mind is telling you not to go back, don't. Forcing yourself to fit into a church that's practices are more than you think you can handle is a very bad idea. People get hurt, especially if you end up leaving a year down the road. You become a part of that church and when you leave it hurts not only yourself but the people of that congregation. Even if you are leaving on good terms people get hurt and it has the potential for ruining any relationship with these people you might have had outside the church.
So this means the next closest church we can try is 1.5 hours away and that is stretching our resources. I knew there was a reason we decided to drive 3+ hours when we first moved here, I guess needed to be reminded...