Finding a Church
The church is not a building, a denomination, or a flavor of worship. The church is a community of believers – people who assemble to worship, learn, and serve together. Being part of this community connects you to other believers who can encourage you as you grow in your faith.
The right church may be the church you were raised in, the church where you are currently a member, or the last church you attended. Then again, it may not be. Sadly, many churches are dying because they present Christianity as a list of rules to follow instead of proclaiming the good news that God loves you, wants a relationship with you, and has gone to great lengths to make that relationship possible. Some churches miss the opportunity to share the very relevant ways in which God can (and will) show up in our sometimes messy lives. Instead, they focus on judging others, maintaining traditions, or talking about religion like it is a history lesson. Avoid these churches – and don’t let them turn you off finding a good one.
While the kind of community in which each of us feels comfortable will vary, here are some pointers we heard from others that offer a good place to start. Look for:
- Warm, approachable, inclusive, friendly people
- Most people seem full of joy and genuinely happy to be there
- People of all age groups are there, but especially young adults and children
- Men attend in significant numbers
- Some of the people there don’t look like the kind you’d expect in church
- The sermons are relevant and understandable
- The messages emphasize God’s love and forgiveness
- The Bible is read and referenced a lot
- Leadership is humble
- There are efforts to connect people to each other through social gatherings or in small groups
- The church is involved in missions and outreach
- There are opportunities to learn and grow in your faith through classes, book studies, or Bible studies
- People seem to really know God and share how he is working in their lives
This type of church exists. It’s worth looking until you find it.