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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.