31 Ideas For Making Your Next Church Visit Successful
In this final section, we’ll go over some practical steps you can take to make your next visit to a new church a great experience – even if it isn’t the right church for you!
First of all, this list assumes you have found a church already to consider. It could be a church nearby, or perhaps a friend invited you to visit. Either way, the following steps will help you get the most out of your experience during the worship service.
Before Your Visit
- Pray for your new church visit and genuinely ask God if this could be the right place for you. Pray for the wisdom to discern if God is calling you to become part of this new church community.
- Visit the church’s website to learn about the church, the pastor and staff, and find out what has recently been going on recently.
- Different churches have traditions regarding how the congregation dresses for services. Some are very casual, but other churches may have the tradition of dressing up for services. If you’re concerned or don’t know, consider wearing “business casual” clothing, neither too dressed up or too dressed down.
- If the church has video or audio of sermons online, find a sermon given by the lead pastor and listen to it.
- If the church is part of a denomination or affiliation you are unfamiliar with, search for information about it online.
- As much as possible, try to understand where you will be going during your visit and what that experience will be like.
- If you were invited by a friend or family member, make sure to ask them questions you have about the church. You may also want to plan to attend with them on your visit.
- Explain to your family or anyone who might be attending with you that you will be visiting a new church and ask them to come along. Listen to any concerns or questions that they may have, and help them understand what the process will be like to visit the church.
On The Day Of Your Visit
- Be in prayer for the service, the church, and for your discernment in the church finding process.
- Don’t be nervous! Many churches want you to feel comfortable and welcomed, and are happy to have new visitors.
- Plan to arrive a little early for the service, in order to find your way inside properly and be able to ascertain what is going on in the church pre-service. Arriving 15 minutes early is more than sufficient.
- Expect to be greeted at the door, or perhaps the parking lot. Also, do not be surprised if staff members say hello or talk with you upon your first visit.
- There is no need to announce that you are new to the church. If someone asks, it’s ok to say, “I’m just checking it out today.”
- If the church asks for your contact information, pass it along to them if you feel comfortable doing so. They may wish to follow up with more details about the church you could be interested in.
- If you are visiting with a friend or family member, feel free to let people know. It will help them better understand where you are coming from.
- Don’t worry about sitting in someone else’s seat during the service.
- If you have children or teens that may go somewhere else during the service, like children’s church or a teen group, make sure to ask about those details before the service.
- Try to relax, enjoy the service, and engage in worship.
- Don’t feel compelled to take part of any element of worship that you are uncomfortable with, such as kneeling, hand raising, or coming forward to the alter.
- If you feel like the church is clearly not a good fit, try to remain throughout the service to give it a chance. It’s ok to leave immediately afterward if you still feel that way.
- Make sure to provide contact information to the church in whatever way they are collecting it (it should be made obvious in some way).
- Collect any literature the church may have about itself during your visit.
- Don’t feel pressured to attend any small groups, classes, meetings or Bible studies that you might be invited to. It’s ok to say, “Thanks. I might check that out some other time.”
After Your Church Visit
- Remain in prayer and ask God to make obvious what next steps should be taken in regards to the church you visited.
- Ask yourself what questions you may have about the church you visited. If any issues or concerns were raised, you may want to investigate further, either by checking out their website, or by calling or writing the church.
- If you visited with a friend or family member, talk with them about the visit. Be honest and straight forward about your feelings, especially if you don’t feel like it was a good fit.
If You Are Still Interested In The Church You Visited
- If you are contacted by someone at the church as follow up feel free to ask them any questions that you might have.
- Plan to attend another service in the near future.
- There’s no need to stop looking or planning to visit other churches. You should check out all of the churches that initially interested you if you are at all doubtful you’ve found the right one.
- Take some time to sincerely envision what it might look like to be part of that church community, and investigate how you and your family might be able to grow in your faith there.
- Pray for how God might lead your next steps at this church.
If You Are No Longer Interested In The Church You Visited
- If you are contacted as follow up, and no longer interested, just tell them politely that you don’t feel it’s the right fit. Don’t ignore calls or emails, or be afraid you’re hurting their feelings – you’re not. It’s far better to be straight forward. If you submitted your information, it’s best to simply let them know it’s not a fit for you so they can spend their time following up with others.
- Recognize that visiting different churches has value in and of itself, even if you never return. It’s always good to have a wider perspective on worship and how it is done in different places.
- Think about the things you didn’t like about that church, and see if other churches on your list have the same characteristics, based on your research. If so, you may want to consider eliminating those churches from your options to save time.
- Be in prayer for your next visit to a new church, and know that God has somewhere in store for you. Don’t become jaded by not finding the right church immediately. Instead, see it as an adventure, and one that will grow your faith.
Well that’s it!
We sincerely hope and pray that you find the right church community for you, and wish you all the best.
Hang in there, keep your hopes high, and don’t get stressed out. Finding the right church should be both fun and informative, while knowing that God is with you no matter where you go.