What To Look For In A Church

After joining this community, I felt A LOT better knowing I was not the only one who had a hard time of finding a church.

Related Post: My Toxic Church Experience 

It isn’t even about not wanting to go to church, but the fact of it becomes tedious and heartbreaking when the place you thought you would belong at doesn’t work out.

I didn’t realize how many people struggle with finding a church. I didn’t understand it when I had my home church growing up. But when I moved away…that all changed.

I get it now.

There’s basically two main parts to looking at a church the shepherd, and then the flock, but I thought it would be helpful for those in the same situation to make a post about things to think about when looking for a church.

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1. Domination

The church you go to needs to follow the word of God.

If you’re like me, the church domination you attended previously may not be around. Check around and see what churches are near you.

You can easily look up what each domination believes in online.

Also, if you have Facebook, I know some churches have pages and you can read comments and reviews, as well as get an idea of how active the church is.

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2. Shepherd/Pastor

Once you’ve selected a church, there are somethings you need to be on guard about when visiting. These are going to apply to the pastor first.

The pastor needs to preach holiness. It needs to be evident the pastor preaches about topics that are first biblical, and then convicting and can keep us all, including the pastor, accountable. As we all should, pay attention to what exactly is being preached.

Are the sermons (should you attend more than once) only speaking the love of Christ and fluffy like? Pastors are not shepherds to boost our positivity, they are there to direct us in the steps that will help us know how to draw closer to Christ, and how to become more Christlike.

We need to grow in Christ, and sermons that do touch on convicting topics can be taught in a way with encouragement, and not accusation. You want to see, hear, and sense a connection with the shepherd. You don’t want a pastor that feels disconnected from his flock.

Churches will have problems. We see this in scripture, but just because you happen to walk into one, doesn’t mean you have to stay especially if it is dealing with the pastor.

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3. The Flock/Church Body

It’s true that the body of Christ is made up of sinners, that’s what we originally were before going to Christ, and church contains both the strong and weak. It is true you are probably not going to get along with everyone.

However, if you don’t connect at all to the body of believers in the church you are visiting/debating on, you don’t have to stay. You don’t have an obligation to them.

Don’t stay in a place that is stumbling you up as a believer in your relationship with Christ, and others. 

The church I struggled with, the pastor taught amazing sermons and many were convicting and thought provoking. However, I was completely disconnected to the majority of the people there, and none of my peers in the church had time for me. There was this sense of very basic and light belief in Christ among the majority, despite the sermons. Constant talk of blessings, Christ loves us, I’m glad I’m not a sinner was the mentality. It felt very shallow.

The flock tended to have a huge focus on works, including charity, which isn’t bad. But pay attention to where the main focus is in the church. Focus needs to be on Christ, not on how awesome we are helping others, and not on how beautiful our church looks. Church is the body of believers, not walls.

Also, issues certain people had, I wasn’t warned of or informed of, and this made VERY unpleasant experiences when a man constantly approached my husband and I after every single service. I dreaded it.

You need to be in a place people look out for each other .

Our relationship with Christ has to be daily, not just in church, and our relationship with the body of believers also needs to take place outside of the church walls. Fellowship is important, and you need to be in a place that encourages believers to meet up together outside of church.

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4. Community For Teens

I plan to write on my experience as a teen growing up in my church. My church, at the time, didn’t really do much for the teens. The one time we had a youth pastor, it became a disaster for the teens who got attached and built up by him only to leave.

If you are a teen looking for a church, don’t be afraid to keep looking till you find a place that not only listens and cares to what you have to say, but you have peers you can connect to.

If you have children, or teens consider the environment teens are given. Are they encouraged in the church? Do they have opportunities to volunteer, make a difference, and feel a part of something? This is a time where teens often feel alone and misunderstood (for good reason, they are and adults forget), and for them to be able to find a place to encourage them in the right way with Christ can be crucial.

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5. Place To Grow Up In For Kids

It’s important to see what is being taught to kids and what kind of bible stories, and songs they are learning. Children’s church is often where the basis of bible stories are taught. It helps when there are a number of peers around so they can form friendships in church.

It can also be important to know what kind of leaders/teachers are available for children.

I know I’ve had Sunday school teachers that took the time to get to know their students, encourage them, and push them as young believers. I’ve had other adults take the time to get to know me, and listen to me.

When you’re a kid, it’s important to know other adults hear what you’re saying.

6. Outreach To The Community

We are to go out into the world, and it’s important to let the community know there is a body of believers reflecting the light of Christ.

Make sure the church you are looking at also gets out to the community.

Above all, find a place that welcomes you, not just newcomers. Find a place that encourages you and convicts you as a believer. If it is not just you, make sure your family is comfortable as well and their needs are being met as well.

Sometimes people are able to find the right place almost immediately, but other times it is not that easy.

You aren’t alone.


Hope these helped.

Anyone relate? 

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29 thoughts on “What To Look For In A Church

  1. Finding a church family is hard work. I’ve been to a NUMBER of places of worship that just didn’t fit what I needed. The church I grew up attending mostly consisted of an older crowd (a traditional Southern Baptist congregation) and it just didn’t work for me. They have definitely taken steps to change things around (adding a small group and a TRUE young adult service) so I think I’ll give it another go! Thanks for sharing! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is! Like I’ve heard some awesome stories about people who found their church in one try, and I was ignorant for thinking my situation would be like. Everyone is different, and all churches are different. I wish you the best in looking, and may God direct your steps 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good post sis! I love everything about it and I can relate with most of it especially the teens bit. My experience with church made me stray away in my teenage years (not making excuses for my sins). And I always told God that I was going to fill that gap if He helped me trace my steps back to Him. Thank God I am keeping to that promise.

    Just to add to what you mentioned, it’s very important to have a pastor that is no controlling. Run away from any church where the pastor wants to know ALL about your life and gets angry if he hears anything about you that he didn’t know. Run away from vision killers. There are some who will talk you out of God’s purpose for your life just because you don’t want to do it under the umbrella of the church.

    Run away from a church that has unhealthy cliques.

    Run away from a church where the leaders take assume the church as their property instead of Christ’s.

    God bless you Sis!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, amen! I think if there are some cliques in the church, unfortunately, that’s normal, but basically every single person has their own groups, yep get away from that. That’s where I was in the toxic church experience, everyone knew each other for years, so newcomers couldn’t join or feel connected to anyone.
      I so agree with you about the pastor, I touched on it lightly with knowing you have a connection to the pastor, but I LOVE how thorough you added to it. Pastors aren’t perfect, but it is a problem when they WAY overstep their boundaries of advice giving, and rebuking things that they have no idea over.
      Pastors need to be Christlike, and being gentle. Rebuking and keeping others accountable is definitely needed, but there is a proper way to do it.
      I’m planning on writing another post about how modernized the church is now, and the problem with people forgetting church is community. I’m so glad you liked it.
      Thank you for being my sister in Christ. 🙂 I love sharing our writing and having in depth discussions!

      Like

      1. “so newcomers couldn’t join or feel connected to anyone”. Yea that was my point. I have seen how unhealthy cliques can ruin relationships in church. And the issue of overstepping boundaries i have experienced too. Jesus led with love and wisdom. I am not referring to accountability because that is VERY important in a church. What i mean is a situation where your total life has to involve and be played out to church leaders. And another thing someone was saying to me recently which i can also relate to is the idea of enforcing our personal convictions on others. This can also be detrimental in a church. I feel everyone has a part to play in making the church what Christ wants it to be. It has to be a place where we build and not to tear down each other. A place where we help pull each other up and not tramp on those who are down.
        Blessings to you my sis 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re so right! And it’s sad. I haven’t had leaders or pastors to where they wanted to know everything about my life (or only cared about the negative stuff, once they heard about my relationship with Him, they didn’t care, which is odd). You are absolutely right! We all have a part to play, that’s why He is the Vine and we are His branches. When multiple people in a church try to do all pieces of the branches, and order others to just sit and do nothing, it does indeed destroy believers.
        Those who are deceived don’t know it. Most wolves in sheep’s clothing are self righteous believers thinking God has directed them in this manner, when He hasn’t.
        May God Almighty open all our eyes. May we pray for our enemies.
        Blessings abound upon you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is perfect!

    I grew up around churches. My family went twice every Sunday — once in the morning and once in the evening. I hated it, not because we went twice, but because of the way people at the church treated other people.

    You bring up great points about how a church and feeling connected. I lost my faith because of the disconnect I had with so many people I met in church. However, 10 years later when I started to come back to my faith… I found an amazing church with an awesome outreach. I helped serve and I felt a part of the community at the church. We are like family.

    Needless to say, I kept going back and I was also baptized at this church recently. This church saved my life. I truly believe choosing the right church with the qualities you listed is very important!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy for you!!! People wonder why teens don’t come back to church, and I think it’s between they don’t see a church as a home and community for them to go to with other believers. I know what you mean by finding a place you feel like family, I had to move away from a church I felt like that with, and it opened my eyes to so many things missing in many churches today.

      Thank you so much for sharing! A lot of people really feel alone in their experiences and I think if we just opened up about what the truth is, people might just listen a little bit better 🙂

      Like

    1. Yeah, and I have a major issue with that. When I go to church, I don’t want what I refer to as, “surface talk.” I want to know one of your lowest points, and how God was glorified through it. I want to discuss the deep stuff our relationships with Him as believers, and the deep meat of scripture.

      That makes me an odd duck I guess.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I love that in our tiny church I have a few people who speak the truth in love. I am a private person but I do crave a closeness with a few wise Christians I truly respect.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes, yes, yes. We can relate. When we moved from a small city to our tiny rural town, it was very hard to choose a new church. We tried perhaps a dozen before becoming members at our tiny country church about 25 minutes away from our home. It’s a distance to travel (and it’s still not perfect, but what church is?), but I feel it met our most important requirements (fundamentally Bible-based, wonderful servant pastor, a core of caring people) and offered our entire family opportunities to serve and make a difference.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I like what you said about the church being the people and not the walls. This is so true! I think that gets lost a lot. We, the people, are the church, not the building, not the organization, not the business or the show or the structure, but the people of God.

    So, if you are (we are) looking for the church, look for believers in Jesus Christ with whom you can relate spiritually, who will encourage your hearts, help you to grow in your faith, and with whom you can share your gifts and they with you, which is what we, the body, are supposed to do. And, you don’t have to gather together in a building called “church,” for we, the people, are that building. We can meet anywhere, even on here! 🙂 And, we can meet any day of the week and any time of the day, too. The early church met daily from house to house and in the temple courts, which, by the way, is still us, i.e. we are the temple of God, not a physical building.

    I also like what you said about holiness being preached rather than fluff or feel-good stuff. I so agree with that one!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You are on target with all your points! I don’t understand folks who don’t follow the Bible. Sometimes I find myself in groups where this is the case, or maybe I am stumbling on what the others believe. I am learning to speak my point gently and treat them with love. It seems to help the others come around over time, or at least explore my ideas. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I don’t know why people struggle so greatly with things that are blunt in scripture. But flies flock to honey not vinegar, and our words need to be so as well. A reflection of Christ, a light on the hill. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can understand, especially with the books not considered canon of the Bible, and then people reading them, being confused with the texts that say odd/or opposing things, etc. I understand people struggling with some of the harsher texts of the Bible, like good ole Paul. People struggle understanding context of why certain things were written, and it’s important we know this while we read. Though I still believe, God can use scripture out of context of why it was written to speak directly to us too 🙂 And then there is the basic man wrote it. Man did. And man is one who still writes today, like Christian writers, and preaches like pastors. But when the Spirit of the Lord is within that person, it is shown through wisdom and clarity. I think people miss out on this, and I think maybe for those who are conflicted believing, many don’t take the time to hear their concerns. I actually am inspired now to write a post on this 🙂 I need to write down the idea(s). Thank you for this comment!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

        Like

  7. Ultimately, we should pray and ask the Lord to lead us where He wants us to go. If we’re sincere, and listen, He will open the door. Please believe me! I went to a church where I saw more and more red flags. I simply began asking the Lord to lead me where He wanted me and I visited a few churches. One night I walked into a church and felt the Fruits of the Spirit. The preacher preached about things I was studying in the Bible and the Lord let me know this was the place. It couldn’t just happen for me. It has to be for everyone. Just ask, seek and knock. And listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, agreed! What God has opened my eyes to is that the church body is way beyond the doors to a church building. There are shepherds and leaders, laborers in the field preparing the harvest, not only in a church building, but elsewhere as well. Amen, He will guide us where we need to go and be, but we must turn to Him and keep seeking His ways! He will absolutely provide.

      Liked by 1 person

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