How to find a church

In our Advance the Faith Academy modules, we talk about what the Church is and why it’s important for you to be involved in a church community. With that, comes the exciting adventure of finding a church! Maybe you already attend a church that you love. Great! Stay involved! However, if you have not yet found a church to regularly attend, there are a few things that you can keep in mind to determine where to get plugged in. Be encouraged that the process will be worth it! Having a church community to support and help you as you grow in your faith is life-changing! 

 Regardless of where you find yourself, it is important to learn about what Scripture says when it comes to the Church to help you pick a church that is aiming to function in a biblical way that honors God. Remember that churches are started by people and while no church is perfect, some churches can get too sidetracked and forget the purpose that God has established for them. However, don’t let this discourage you! There are plenty of churches out there that passionately love Jesus and are seeking to honor Him and His Word! No church is perfect, but they can at least aim to teach and uphold key biblical truths.  

When searching for a church, you’ll want to keep in mind what is important to you. If you have kids, the children’s ministry will be particularly important to you. If you are in college, you may want a church that has a thriving college ministry. You may want to make sure it’s not too far so that you will be able to attend regular activities. And understandably, most everyone wants to go to a church that is friendly and welcoming to those who are new. Watch the following video to learn some of the other things that are helpful to keep in mind when trying to find a church: 

Allen Parr Video: How to Choose the Right Church For You | 7 Questions to Ask 

Discovering What A Church Believes

How do you discover what a specific church claims to believe and teach? Well, of course you may want to visit the church and engage with some of the people who regularly serve and attend it. You may even ask if you can speak to one of the pastors about their take on the purpose of the church and the role the church desires to play in the community. Finally, most every church has a website. These websites usually have a tab entitled something along the lines of “What We Believe.” Usually, these are a list of statements followed by corresponding Bible verses that seem to support what is being said. You can look at these and see if the verses seem to support them well. You may even consider watching a few of the church’s past sermons if they have them posted online to get a feel for what the teaching is like. Finally, a church’s website may show that it is a part of a specific “denomination.” If a church is a part of a specific denomination, you can research what makes them unique when it comes to beliefs, worship style, or practices.  

So, What About Denominations?

The following video provides some insight about different denominations and what this means for how churches of different denominations are to interact with one another: 

Video: ALL – What’s with all the different denominations? 

This video used a few words that you may be unfamiliar with. One of these terms is “doctrine,” which simply means “a set of beliefs and teachings.” The most important doctrine, or teaching, is that Jesus is the Son of God, our Lord and Savior. If a church does not uphold this, they are not a true Christian denomination. Keep in mind, that there are some faiths that believe in Jesus’s existence, but don’t recognize Him as the Son of God or Savior or deny that the Bible teaches us about Him accurately. Once again, these would not be considered Christian denominations. However, for those who do uphold the key beliefs mentioned in the video, we can know that different styles or expressions of worship seen in different denominations do not have to be viewed as a bad thing. It is actually quite beautiful that God’s people express worship in many ways! Humans are flawed, and that is where difference of stylistic opinions comes from. However, common ground can be found in upholding Jesus as Lord and Savior. Therefore, exactly how one worships (style of music, certain rituals, dress, etc.) is not so much the concern but rather Who is worshiped. We can celebrate the diversity of denominations without allowing these differences to create disunity. After all, Christians all share the same goal of sharing the gospel. Beautifully, God can use these different kinds of churches to reach different kinds of people. 

Next Steps

Now that you have a general understanding of the qualities that are important to look for in a church, you can begin the process of looking for a church to check out. This is just an important reminder to not get discouraged if you don’t find the right one right away or if you aren’t sure if a church is right for you after the first visit. As long as there are not any major concerns about a church, as discussed, try to visit it for a few weeks before visiting a different one. Advance the Faith wants to help you find a great church where you can grow in your faith alongside the community. And so, if you still have questions or need some guidance on this, please reach out to our team! We will be happy to help you research and find a church to check out. We know it takes a lot of courage to walk into a church for the first time and so if there is any way that we can make that process a little less intimidating, we are happy to help!  

As an additional resource, here is another video with a few more helpful tips on finding a healthy church: 

Video: How to choose a GOOD church! 10 TIPS!