Finding a new church is tough. You can only visit one a week. The search can last for months. Here are some practical search tips. Remember, there is no perfect church.
Make a pre-search checklist of your criteria from ideas found on the web and other sources. Rate churches according to your checklist. Keep your notes for the summary comparison after all your visits.
Where does God want you to serve?
Use prayer to seek the Lord’s direction. He will give you wisdom and guide you where to find a good church.
Your denomination and your beliefs
There are many Christian, nondenominational or interdenominational churches. Discover the doctrinal beliefs of churches as you search. Read church statement of faith, doctrines and/or mission statements. Before joining, be sure the church is Bible-based.
Do you want to worship in a structured, formal atmosphere or an informal worship setting.
Type of worship
Consider the style of worship that you find comfortable and that allows you to most freely praise God. Some churches have contemporary music, others traditional. Some sing familiar hymns. Some have praise bands, others have orchestras and choirs.
Pick the style of worship which makes you comfortable.
Smaller church fellowships usually offer a limited variety of ministries and programs. Larger ones can support an array of opportunities. However, a small church may provide a more intimate, close-knit environment.
In some churches T-shirts, jeans, and even shorts, are appropriate. In others a suit or dress would be more appropriate.
What’s right for you?
Call before visiting and search church websites. Using a list of specific questions, call a church before visiting. Often you can cross some off the list at this point. For example, is a youth program is offered? Ask for an information packet--it can tell you much. And visit the church website.
After visiting a church several times, ask these questions:
- Is this church a place where I can connect with God?
- Will I learn about the Bible here?
- Is fellowship and community encouraged?
- Are people's lives being changed here?
- How can I serve in this church?
- Does this church "reach out" by missions, financial giving and local programs?
- Is this where God wants me to be?
If you can say yes to these questions, then you've found a good church home.