1. Religion & Spirituality
Finding a church can be a difficult, time consuming experience. It often takes a great deal of patient persistence, especially if you're looking for a church after moving into a new community. In "How to Choose a Church," I offer practical steps, along with questions to ask yourself as you work your way through the process.

Here are just a few of the tips:
  • If you don't know where to begin looking for a church, ask people you know - friends, co-workers, or people you admire, where they go to church.
  • Visit a church at least 3 times before making a decision.
  • Don't try to change a church. Most of them are set in their mission. There are so many different ones out there to choose from, it's best to just find one that's a good "fit" for you.
  • Remember, there is no perfect church.
  • Read: How to Choose a Church
Comments
August 17, 2006 at 12:12 pm
(1) Mike says:

As you may or may not now I am currently in the process of looking for a new church.

One thing I believe a person who is looking for a new church should do is search the website or Google the denomination and see if there are any secondary books or doctrines the church in question holds to.

For myself, because I am looking into the Lutheran branch of Christianity, I have printed out the Augsburg Confession and I plan on buying a copy of the book of Concord as well.

I currently have Luther’s Small Catechism and am reading that, as well as the Lutheran Handbook. This may seem like a lot of reading and investigation to do, but I believe this is an important step that can not be overlooked.

Once you know what a particular sect of Christianity believes, you can be a better judge of whether or not the church you are attending is being true to the doctrine of that particular denomination and also if the church you’re investigating is right for you.

When I get to my investigation of the Presbyterians, I plan on reading The Institutes of Christianity by Calvin. Have you seen the size of that book? I’m not looking forward to it at all. :-)

August 18, 2006 at 8:25 am
(2) Mary says:

Mike –

Thanks for the insight and good advice for choosing a church.

Let me know if you do finally settle somewhere. I’d love to hear about your choice.

October 25, 2008 at 11:50 pm
(3) Angie says:

This may come as a really late comment (refers to date of post-2006), so I’m not to sure if anyone will be reading it. Either way, no harm leaving a comment yea?

Anyways, I do have a lot of queries regarding finding the right church for me.

Just an insight to what my “church and faith journey” has been like…

I am 20 now, studying in a nearby private college. I attended a church when I was very much in pre-school. My parents were ( and still are ) non-believers, and the best reason they had let me attend church at that time was because they wanted me to make some friends.

As I grew older, God and Christianity became a blur to me. Unlike the other children (whose parents were believers), no one encouraged me to read the Bible, or even implied the significance of a deeper faith for Christ.

Things became really blur,that I left the church when I was 10.I felt that everything was just irrelevant,and the church didn’t understand my family situation well enough.

When I came into high school, I began to question once more about God and my faith. So a friend of mine, had brought me to her church, and I thought (at that time), this was it…it was time to go back.

Yet, as weeks went by…even the person whom had invited me there, wasn’t whole-hearted and serious with the church and God.

Sometimes I would go to church alone…and feel so isolated from the youth, even if the youth consisted of many people about my age.

That insecurity became so evident, that I became AFRAID to go to church. I was not afraid of the word or afraid of “god-ly” people, but I was afraid of being alone in a congregation.

For weeks, I would make up excuses not to attend church. And during the few times that I did (with a lot of mustered courage),I always regretted it.

I grew more insecure, and more unforgiving towards myself, when the church members question my lack of attendance.

Some pass judgement that I simply did not attend church because I placed many other things before God. And yet,when I tried to explain to them that I didn’t feel home in this church, the same replies that I got were “that is why you should attend church more often!”

I feel that it was wrong, but I actually (unfortunately) became hateful of the church. I didn’t expect the church to be perfect, but their imperfectness became more evident, when I had witness members gossiping away about other members.

Other friends have invited me to their churches, but because the years of insecurity have accumulated, I became too afraid to say yes.

About a few weeks ago, i rededicated my life to Christ. After many years of not attending church, and a built up of fear of meeting people…where do I start? Was it wrong for me to hate the former? How do I forgive them?

August 9, 2011 at 6:57 am
(4) Celia says:

Hi Angie,

At last, I meet a person who shares my feelings towards church. I love Jesus and I want to know about my God and I want to worship Him fully. But the very reasons that you’ve specified here, I hate going to church. People say that when you go to church just worship Him and don’t think about what other people are doing or gossiping. But I find it very very difficult to ignore their hypocrisy. I know there are good people in the congregation but I feel very self-conscious and isolated being around them.

And Mary,

Thanks for the link (the one you gave Angie). I am going to read the same. I hope God shows me the right path.

God bless!

October 27, 2008 at 10:53 am
(5) Mary says:

Hi Angie,

May I suggest posting your question in our forum community?

Christianity Forum

October 28, 2008 at 2:23 am
(6) Angie says:

Thanks Mary, for the reply.

Yes, that’d be a good idea.

October 28, 2008 at 8:44 am
(7) Mary says:

Angie –

This article may give you some food for thought.

Why I Don’t Go To Church Anymore! It’s written by Wayne Jacobsen, author of So You Donít Want to Go to Church Anymore. (Jake Colsen is a pseudonym for the combined work of two writers Jacobsen & Colsen.) If you like to read, this book may also help you. I haven’t read it, but a friend of mine who was struggling with similar questions told me it really helped her.

October 28, 2008 at 10:47 am
(8) Angie says:

Hey Mary,

Thanks for the link on Jake Colsen’s:Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore.

It gave me a broader perspective on certain issues regarding the church.

Rest assured though, I would not use this as an excuse to just settle without a church, but to look for a church that is truly relational with God, rather than one that is too institutional.

Thanks loads, you have really helped!

January 18, 2009 at 12:21 am
(9) RL says:

Hi there!
please take a look at this church website: http://www.tjc.org this church is called “True Jesus Church” and its doctrines are in complete accordance with the bible, please see for yourself. Good luck with finding a church!

November 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm
(10) CM says:

your link for churchshoppers.com does not work.!

November 22, 2009 at 10:50 am
(11) Mary says:

CM –
Thanks for letting me know!

January 10, 2010 at 5:46 pm
(12) Rick says:

After two years. Our family is finally i a church. Thanks be to God.
1 Do not compromise what you believe just because you like the people and they have a great social agenda.

2. Understand the doctrine of the church. This is difficult because they all seem great on the surface.

3. Remember that there is no perfect church but some are less perfect than others.

4. Find out how the church spends money. There is no such thing as a race car ministry where the pastor is the only one with the keys to the race cars.

5. Just because you have a “secular job” you are no less of a servant of God than a pastor or church staffer.

6. Keep your family together in church while they are young. One the kids are old they eventually stop all the rebellion and actually enjoy the whole family thing again.

7. Its OK to take a break from church as a family. Family is the core of Gods creation.

8. Remember the priority list.

God
Family
Job
Church

January 24, 2010 at 9:43 am
(13) JGBleakside says:

This is terrible advice, and I can’t believe it’s up here. I’m not speaking subjectively, but with an understanding what the church is there for. The church is not there for you. Secondly, if you feel a church is going in the wrong direction you should change it, especially if you feel compelled to. It takes a year or two to really get into the roots of a church but if what you feel needs changing is really important, then it’s worth it. The idea of letting them walk blindly when you can see that the church is in dire need of revitalisation is just abominable. The church is not there for you to ‘feel comfortable in’. No no no, not at all. The church is there for God and God only. It’s highly arrogant to feel a church should change it’s teaching to please the people, this is where the Catholics are going wrong. The Church should teach and worship in a way that is pleasing to God. If you don’t like it, then find out why. This is why Biblical truth is rarely taught nowadays, because some find it too ‘disturbing’. I find this painful to read, and I think you should have some sort of Biblical backing for such arrogant desires about how you shouldn’t help a church teach better and just be happy with a church that suits you. As I said, you don’t go to church for you, you go to church for God.

March 12, 2010 at 4:57 am
(14) Kieth Shezi says:

Goo day Beloved,

I believe that each one must find an environment where growth is encouraged. But remember the church is also like a hospital where the wounded from the world come to. Some people hurt others because they have also been hurt. So chances are, in church you are bound to be wounded by a brother or a group of people. I believe itís not only about going there and asking what am I going to benefit from it. The first thing I ask when I walk into a group of believers or church community is “Lord where do I fit in, what can I give to your body or how can I help?”

I donít think church should be a place where people are controlled nor manipulated. As much as there is the fear of the Lord there must be care and compassion.
We must be willing to understand that others have wounds or hurts, and that we must not stand in condemnation or judgement against them. But instead lend a helping hand and see where or how we can help. Maybe someone could have listened to your story and tried giving you advice or befriended you instead of saying come to church more often.

I also feel you need to know the reason for going there. Itís also for growth in God’s word. As much as we need fellowship you also need to guard your association in the house of God!

If it means befriend just God and go to fellowship with the word to gain more understanding and growth, so be it.

I have experienced a lot of wounding in Church. As a baby Christian who has dabbled in the occult due to ignorance and boredom I used to get oppressive dreams from demonic spirits. The church I attended then though I was Satanist when I asked them to help me. The word says all these gifts without Love mean nothing to God. So to God the most important thing to him is love,because faith works by love. Had they loved me and still tried to help me I would have been more helpful in ministry and took my part. I feel a lot of people do not understand Godís purposes. The only one who has any right to say ďMy churchĒ is none other than Christ Himself. Even as a Pastor you are entrusted with the Lordís flock and each must give account on the day of reckoning!

Many days were spent in tears because of the persecution. I eventually left, and every other congregation I joined I found a place where I could be relevant. I knew I had a destiny in God and sometimes it might mean overcoming your fears and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right place, right people, and all of this in the right time.

Remeber God’s love is she abroad in your heat by the holy Spirit who now lives in you. (roamans 5v 5) so all you need to do is forgive them and ask god to use to misinister the Lords true personality.

You know you have been chosen of God when man reject. it was so with david, it was so with Joseph also.

Maybe you had to go through what you did so you become a diffarent christian and treat others diffarently because you know what it’s like to be treated in that way.

Be encouraged! You are accepted in the beloved and you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
May God use you to minister to the lost even those who are also afraid of the house of God because of offences. May you be His hand and face to show His true character of acceptance, mercy and patients to such!

God bless you! Keep growing in Jesus name!!!! :)

November 7, 2010 at 10:32 am
(15) corine says:

I’m really afraid when it comes to going back to church but I know its the right thing for me right now. I’m asking what can i do about this feeling and how do i find a small church for me to go too?

November 8, 2010 at 8:51 am
(16) Mary says:

Corine –

Did you see this article?

How to Find a Church

February 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm
(17) anonymous says:

I love Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior with all my heart and soul. When I attend church I am so overwhelmed with tears and turmoil in my heart that I do not want others to notice. I want God to talk to me through his word. I believe in God strongly and I believe that God is here with me. Although at times I ask why about the past, I no longer question why. I look forward to another day that I can take a timeout and pray. Is it such a hard thing to kneel and pray? I don’t do it often. I have decided to try praying and let God give me the guidance and wisdom to believe that I should not worry but be thankful for the many blessings I do have. God bless you all who praise God in the church and feel as though they have a family and/ or friend who can say it will be okay.

June 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm
(18) Cheyne says:

I have to move around a lot for work. USAChurch.com has helped me find a new church every time.

Please consider adding http://www.usachurch.com to your article above!

Thanks

March 12, 2012 at 10:50 am
(19) Jackie says:

I am a catholic, my parents are catholic, my grandparents were etc..etc.. I am in real conflict right now, I haven’t been to church in about a year because to be honest with you I find it a chore and boring. My eldest daughter know a little about our religion having been baptised and done her communion, my youngest not much. I feel like I am failing them. How do you make that step “outside” of what your taught (religion) to find happiness and completion? Recently we saw a movie soul surfer based on a young girl who tragically lost her arm during a shark attack. The scene in the beginning where they are singing Blessed be the name of Lord” gave me goose pimples, so much so that I immediately went and downloaded the gospel song they were singing. My children and I sang it and now know the words to it, that is what i want but am scared to “betray” my catholicism. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with all the different types of denominations. I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I need advice.

Thank you so much for listening.
Jackie

January 5, 2014 at 9:44 am
(20) William says:

Mike stated something. He said he was looking into secondary books. Shouldn’t the Bible (The Lord’s word) be enough? Doesn’t he say do not add to nor take away.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.