I typically attend 3 worship services each week, so I don't have an inflexible mental framework for how a worship service is "supposed" to be, but every time I'm somewhere other than one of my "usual" churches I find myself reminded that I have... if not expectations then certainly preferences.
I want a printed order of worship that's very clear and readable (and anything where the congregation participates verbally should be clearly spelled out, either printed in the bulletin or a clear indicator of where to find it one of the books at the pew -- oh, and this should definitely include how the Lord's Prayer goes ... a note saying "trespasses" or "debts" if nothing else).
And knowing that not everyone spends their pre-service time reading the program, I want the people leading worship to help newbies with verbal cues (including things like, "Please rise for the call to worship" -- though I also want all "please stand" portions to be asterisked or otherwise marked... and I've grown fond of the "please stand/rise as you are able" convention; this morning's bulletin said "you are invited to stand with your heart or your posture").
I expect the Prayers of the People to be opening it up for the gathered congregants to lift up joys and concerns in the moment.
I want the speakers (be they lay readers, preachers, Communion celebrants, whatever) to sound like they're actually thinking about the words that they're saying and like the words mean something and to not sound like they're rushing through them.
I want clarity as to whether I am invited to the Communion table (and also clarity about how Communion is going to be done -- intinction or whatever ... and I think there should be clarity as to whether the Cup is alcoholic or not, but since I have no personal issues with alcohol I don't always notice this lack, though I am always pleased when I see statements of inclusion, like a note about the bread being gluten-free).
I kind of want people to notice that I'm new and talk to me. I want there to be some sort of Fellowship time after church. I expect the Passing of the Peace to involve greeting almost everyone (but I do expect it to be phrased as a variant on "peace be with you" -- the flat "greet your neighbor" at Somerville Community Baptist threw me, though I can't say they were dishonest because nowhere was it billed as a Passing of the Peace).
I've gotten used to the God language being gender inclusive and the language of hierarchy/power/war/violence in hymns and whatever being toned down. This is more a statement of what I've gotten used to than what I personally want, though I've found that I've come to dislike male God language when it seems unnecessary.
On Friday, Carolyn was asking me why I go to so many churches, and I don't have an answer (despite having been asked the question a number of times recently).
I am interested in seeing how different churches do things, but I don't so much approach it sociologically/ethnographically. It's more that I keep collecting church services and so I notice the ways that different churches do things.
I definitely have an academic approach rather than a devotional approach -- I go to learn things rather than to "worship." But I do think that it's important for there to be a community aspect, and I want the music to have energy. I'm not sure how much of that is my having opinions on what a good worship service is objectively and how much of it is my personally desiring specific things out of my church service experience.
Those of you who attend church [edit: or any worship service] ... why do you go?