Growing up as a Pastor’s kid, I didn’t have many opportunities to participate in the Christian sport of Church Hopping. If you don’t go to your father’s church on Sunday morning, you might as well punch him in the face on the way out the door. But what I lacked growing up, I made up for in college, as I became a semi-professional church hopper.
I say semi, because I didn’t know all the rules of the game and didn’t properly focus on doing all the little things that make a world class church hopper. Fortunately, for you, and millions of other people that want temporary church experiences, I have organized them into one easy score card.
The Church Hopping Score Card
1. If you leave without even getting out of your car because you can’t find a good parking spot = +1 point
2. While visiting a new church you park in the pastor’s assigned parking space = +1 point
3. You get a free first time visitor’s gift = +2 points for each gift
4. You only visit once but still have the boldness to say, “I just didn’t feel like I connected with the people at that church” = +1 point
5. You refuse to come back to a church if not enough people said hello to you = +1 point
6. You refuse to come back to a church if too many people said hello to you = +1 point
7. Like the closely guarded secret formula of Coca Cola, you’re the only one that knows the correct number of people that should say hello to you = + 2 points
8. You visit on the Sunday the church is having a first time visitor’s lunch = +1 point
9. You take leftovers home from the first time visitors lunch = +2 points
10. You bring your own cooler to first time visitors lunches in anticipation of the leftovers = +3 points
11. You sit in a seat someone has sat in for 14 years running and they do the awkward stand and pause move right next to you before shuffling away in complete bafflement at who this person is = +3 points
12. You come long enough to benefit from everything the church offers but never actually volunteer for anything = +1 point
13. You have a pre planned little speech you give in case the church asks first time visitors to stand up and introduce themselves = +1 point
14. You have a “Hello My Name” is _______ sticker ball at home that is bigger than a soccer ball. = +2 points
15. You can easily name the three churches in town that have the best coffee = +1 point
16. During the “meet and greet” you use a pseudonym because you’re not sure if this is where God wants you to go to church yet = +1 point
17. You have a secret list of “if this happens at this church I’m outta here” = +1 point
18. You’re more than happy to tell the people around you why you didn’t like your last church = +1 point
19. The amount of traffic in a church parking lot weighs heavily on your decision to attend = +1 point
20. You have a scrapbook made entirely of bulletins to chronicle your travels = +1 point
How’d you score? Hopefully, really, really low, because all of those are pretty ridiculous. But had I measured that in college, I would have scored pretty high.
I hope you find a church you love. I hope if you’re hopping you’ll stop long enough to be real with a few people. And if not, I hope you’ll get some really good first time visitors gifts and send me a photo of your welcome name sticker ball. Who wouldn’t want to see that?