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Throughout my marriage life, we’ve attended 8 different churches, a few times we actually tested out more than one church at a time. By this I mean we moved into a new town and tried 3 different churches to see which one we liked. Have you ever had to choose a new church? Finding a church can be hard. How did you pick one?
Growing up my family didn’t really choose a new church. We attended a family church that my mom had been going to when she was a child. Later the church would splinter off and we would attend the new one because it was closer to home and everyone’s age groups. Many pick churches because they like tradition, while some like worship or inspiring messages.
Size Matters in Choosing a New Church
For some size matters when it comes to picking out a church you will attend. I’ve learned that two of my favorite churches I’ve ever attended were the complete opposite in size of one another. I remember when I was first introduced to the church of my heart that it was a small church and I absolutely fell in love with it. When it was time to move away I wanted to pack up my church family and move them too.
I knew I couldn’t and I knew I’d have to search for that loving feeling once more. I knew finding a church like that would be hard. The church I attend today is a megachurch, upon first entering it I was ready to run out. It was so huge I felt swallowed up. Small groups made this huge church feel tiny, today I know many people that when I see them there are hugs and stories shared. One week apart seems like forever.
Denominations Can Matter in Picking out a New Church
Now I grew up in a family that had many different types of faith, so picking a religion was hard for me. I had no clue which one was right or wrong. For others who may have grown up strictly with one belief/religion, they’ll probably (unless they had a bad experience) find a new church in that denomination. It is what they know and what is familiar.
5 Things to Consider when choosing a New Church
- The Welcome we receive. For me, it must be a warm welcome. I won’t lie I love hugs or getting to know you type of things. When I’m passed a bunch of papers and basically left to figure it out I tend not to want to go back because I feel like I’m just a number to them.
- Children’s ministry. Since I have 5 kids I always want to peek in to see what types of stuff they are doing. Are they boring or are they getting the kids to interact with them? Do they have coloring sheets or some type of worksheet for the kids to be working on or bringing home to learn a new verse for the week? What’s the interaction between the children’s pastor and the kids?
- The message or feeling we got from it. If I sit and listen to the sermon I want to be moved or in agreement with what the pastor is saying. If I feel unmoved I may not come back. But if he said something that spoke to me I’m definitely going to come back for more. Or even if I felt God was speaking to me in prayer. I also ask my kids how they felt and what they thought of the lesson.
- Small groups. I absolutely love small groups and highly recommend them whether you are new to a church or are a seasoned member. Small groups are little groups of people that meet up and study together, sometimes it is a bible lesson, a book you read together, or a club done through biblical teachings.
- Driving distance. For me, distance is a key factor in which church I will choose. I’m guessing if the members really felt like family and the messages hit home with me I’d drive the distance. But since money is an issue and only one car we tend to be extremely picky. I look for a church typically within the town I’m living in, the closer for me the better but they must meet the first 3 for sure. I’m will to budge on the small groups.
I don’t think there is any wrong way to pick a church but I do believe everyone should feel comfortable. If you are picking out a new church as a family you should all set certain guidelines you want or circumstances you don’t want. For our family, we will give each church three shots, if we don’t fall in love with it by the first or second time that is.
I enjoy worship music, so the church needs a worship team. Some denominations do not like music so if this is a preference you’ll want to check out which ones do and don’t. I hope you are able to choose your new church very soon.
How can I find a list of churches in the nearby area?
Years ago you opened the phone book to pull up all the churches in the area. I have found a few new ways to pull up churches in the area, one is the newspaper, they typically have a page of churches and the times they hold services. Another is to go online and search “Churches near you” or use an app.
How do you choose a new church?