Choosing the right church can be daunting in today’s world where even small cities have between 10 and 30 churches to choose from. By considering a few of the things listed below, you can ensure that you end up in the church home that is just right for you.
1) First you need to make a list of what you are looking for in a church, so that when you go to visit churches, you will know what you are looking for. Some things to consider are:
– What Bible do I use/ do I want the church I go to to use?
– What kind of feel do I want my church to have? (Ex. structured, unstructured, layed back, strict, fun, friendly, family oriented, etc…)
– What kind of music do I want the church to have? (Do I want southern Gospel? A choir? A full rock band? Just one singer leading the congregation in song?)
– How close to my home does the church need to be? 10 minutes? 20 minutes? An hour away?
– What days am I able to go to church? Do I need a church that meets Sunday and Wednesday? On Saturdays?
– What do I believe? (This is especially important, because if you are a specific denomination, you may have trouble attending churches of other denominations that do not believe the same things that you do). Things to consider in the belief category are: How is salvation achieved? Is salvation eternal? Is it a works or grace based faith? What are their beliefs about the Bible? Are they liberal or conservative? Are they cult-like? Do they require participation in certain activities or events? What are their beliefs on how men and women should dress? What are their beliefs on how men and women should act in their day to day lives?
– Do you want a church active in the community, or less active? (Door knocking and handing out tracts vs. sticking to the church).
– Do you want a church family, or a church where the congregation will leave you alone?
There are of course many other things to consider when looking for a church, but the above list are some of the main things to get you started on.
2) Ask friends and family which churches they like and why.
3) Look online and in phone books to get a list of churches. Start calling churches to ask about things that are important to you, such as what kind of Bible do they use? What are their beliefs? Do they have a website you can see their doctrines on? Are they active in the community? Do they have childcare available during services?
4) Begin to visit churches. If something makes you uncomfortable, don’t ignore it. Address the issue and decide if it is something you can live with while you attend this church. You definitely don’t want to go to a church that you don’t feel comfortable in. This includes the way people act, as well as their beliefs compared to yours.
5) Don’t be afraid to try a church more than once if you think you like it, and don’t be afraid to ask the pastor, or even other members of the church about church beliefs and policies that you have questions on.
6) Even if you go to a church for a few months and then decide it isn’t right for you, you can continue your search for a church that is a good fit for you.
7) Remember that regardless of where other family members go to church, it is important to find a church that you are comfortable with that is a good fit for you and your beliefs.
Also remember that people, even pastors can sometimes be in error in what they teach. Even if you attend church twice a week, it is still important to be reading your Bible at home and studying so that you can know what you believe. Sometimes pastors misinterpret things and can get it wrong and lead an entire congregation astray from the truth. If you are in your Bible at home however, and know what you believe, then you can allow yourself to be knowledgeable about God’s Word and not be lead astray.
Keeping these 7 points in mind when looking for a church will help you find that church that is right for you. Good luck in your search for a good church home!