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There Is A Church Out There For You
Struggling to find a right church where you can grow in faith? Can’t seem to find connections with others seeking after Jesus in the way you are? Looking for opportunities to serve that meet your skills and calling? Maybe you don’t have a lot of history with churches and aren’t sure where to begin looking. You’re not alone!
No matter the reason, if you’re looking for a new church home, we at Spiritually Hungry would love to help you think a little more deeply about finding a church community to become part of, and that’s why we’re putting together this ULTIMATE LIST OF TOPICS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING FOR A CHURCH.
More than anything, we simply want you to be aware of the questions that will help you evaluate a church you intend to visit.
Not all churches are alike, and if you aren’t aware of that fact, all you need to do is attend one church on a given week, and then another church the next week. Even if those two churches are in the same denomination or faith tradition, and in the same town… they’ll almost certainly be different experiences, right?
Each church has different pastors, worship leaders, facilities, ministries, communities. They’re all unique, and that’s a great thing, because it also means that there is almost certainly a church near you that will fit your spiritual needs.
We Understand The Struggle To Find The Right Church
While both attending seminary in Denver, my wife Alexis and I just never really seemed to be able to settle in a church community that fit our spiritual needs over the fours years we lived there. Being in a big city like Denver afforded us the opportunity to attend practically any type of church imaginable. We visited many, even becoming more involved with a number of them.
Looking back on it now, I realize that as we both grew in our seminary studies, we were also changing personally, as theologians and Jesus Followers. In turn, our growth meant a lot of bouncing around from church to church, seeking out new ideas and worship styles.
However, that experience taught us a lot about different kinds of churches, and what to look for when evaluating a new church.
Is Church Shopping A Bad Thing?
As a professor at seminary once told me, “There’s nothing wrong with church shopping…but eventually, you should make a purchase.”
Some of you might think “church shopping” is an ugly term, but it basically means looking for a place that fits what you and your family needs.
You can’t possible imagine to just blindly walk into the closest church and expect it to be the place that is going to foster the spiritual development of yourself and your family for the rest of your life! That just isn’t how it works.
You absolutely should be checking out what is going on at churches in your area. And don’t feel guilty about attending a service at a church only once – that’s the best way to find out if it’s a fit for you and your family!
However – how do you evaluate what you see and experience at churches you visit?
Answering that question is what this post is all about.
So with that thought in mind, I’ve decided to put together a big list of topics you might want to take into consideration while searching for your new church home.
Finally, at the end of this article is a big check list of steps you can take to successfully visit a church, regardless of it’s a perfect fit or not.
Hopefully this list will motivate you to really start checking out churches in your community, and maybe avoid some pitfalls along the way that might lead you to want to leave the church after already investing into it.
Quick Disclaimer: Although I (like everyone) have my own working and theoretical theology that I try to live out in my personal life and in my faith community, I am going to do my best to set that aside for this article. I fully recognize that God works with different kinds of people in different kinds of churches.
Additionally, this article is written primarily with Protestant tradition churches in mind. You may find that the information within is applicable to other kinds of churches as well, but that is well beyond the scope of this article.
Finally, this article does not address or compare the various denominations and faith traditions that one might encounter while looking for a new church. We will also not be comparing the beliefs and theology of various churches. Such a list would be vast (and debatable).
I want people to attend churches that meet their spiritual needs – not go to churches that I personally would prefer.
Again, this is just a big list of ideas to keep in mind while considering if a new church is right for you!
So without further ado – let’s get started!
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I am currently looking to find a church where I can raise my children and teach them about God. It’s hard to find one where you really feel comfortable and agree with all the teachings, but as you said, it’s good to look around. We will take your suggestion to go to different churches in our area and find one that fits our needs. Thanks for sharing!
I’m really glad to hear that you’re looking into churches around you, and best wishes for finding the right one. You’ll almost certainly never find a church where you love and agree with every single thing about it, and that’s ok! Always keep in mind that a good church will hopefully have thought through carefully the things that they teach and practice, and if you feel like a church is a close enough fit, it’s always a good idea to investigate further why the believe and act in the way they do. You can always learn something from visiting and exploring churches – and even if it’s not a good fit, you’re getting exposed to various segments of our faith and how they live out that faith in practice. Again, keep looking and stay in prayer for that church God has in store for you!