Given my role at VCC, I spend a lot of time in other churches, with other pastors...and I'm learning a few things. Things like:
1) I'm able to enjoy almost every genuine expression of Jesus' bride. Churches are different...they all have a certain vibe, a certain spin. What I'm learning is that if I can stuff my judgemental attitude for an hour or two, I almost always find something I like. What God is doing in churches is always good. If you can push past what the people are doing to see the Kingdom at work, it's very cool everywhere you find it.
2) Steve Sjogren is right: The mark of a church planter is an incredibly high tolerance for pain. The amount of struggle some of these guys go through is almost irrational. What would make someone endure what they endure for a meager salary and little or no earthly recognition? Calling. Those that have it can hold on in amazingly tough circumstances.
3) If the band is great but I can't find the bathroom, it has serious effects on my overall worship experience. That's all I have to say about that.
4) It seems that the happiest churches I find are the ones who know who they are. They may sample models and styles, but they've come to a comfortable place with who they really can be and they enjoy that spot in the Kingdom. Those who are constantly striving to be the next Willowback Saddlecreek Community Mosaic are generally very sad places with frustrated pastors who don't understand why their community won't respond on cue like Barrington, Lake Forest, Cincinnati or LA.
Enough punditry for the moment.