When we travel, I frequently use Hotwire. We’re always pretty satisfied even though they don’t tell you the name of the hotel until you book it. Hotwire always sends out a survey to see what you liked and didn’t like about the hotel and if you would recommend it. You can write a review so others can see what you thought about the hotel. I have an account at tripadvisor.com so others can see what I thought about hotels, restaurants, etc. (You can look at my reviews and see I’ve been either been pretty satisfied or gracious.)
Our experience at a hotel is almost entirely about our likes and dislikes. We liked the fact they had the single cup coffee makers in the room. We didn’t like that they don’t have complimentary breakfast. We liked the pillows, but didn’t like that the heater was loud and kicked on and off all night. It was good that our room was not near the ice machine or elevator. I think we all do our own assessments when it comes to hotels and many other things. I know many people do the same thing when it comes to church.
I liked the music, I didn’t like the music. The sermon was boring. The children’s message was too long. I liked the choir song. The woman behind me with the horrible voice sang too loud, the person reading the Psalm spoke so soft. Those kids should be wearing robes when they light the candles. I didn’t like the way the preacher did Holy Communion. Those kids should sit still during the children’s message. I like it when the ushers are men and they wear suits, why do they have to have women and kids as ushers?
We typically act like we’re rating our “experience” at church just as we would at a hotel or restaurant. The difference in church is that is should be less about our likes and dislikes and more about the effort we put forth to hear and experience God. I remember one person who said they were having trouble following their pastor’s sermon (whether they were boring, long, I don’t remember) and I suggested that this person take notes during the sermon to try and stay interested. God may speak to you things the preacher didn’t say or should have said! We can’t go to church and treat it like a hotel stay or a meal at a restaurant expecting it to be about everything pleasing us. As a matter of fact, it’s the mature Christians who are closer to Jesus that can put their own personal preferences aside knowing that sometimes the things or ways we don’t prefer may be just the thing that draws someone else to Christ! Someone give me an “Amen”!