Finding the right place of worship can be a difficult, time-consuming, and draining experience. People worship and praise God in many different ways, and not all of them will feel right to you.
The search for the right location is personal in many ways, but there are things that you can do that might help you make a decision. Here are a few to keep in mind.
Ask Yourself What You Believe
Asking yourself what you believe will narrow your choices for a new church more than you would think. There are more than 200 distinct denominations of Christianity in the United States, each with its own doctrinal beliefs. Looking at churches that fit within your denomination is a good place to start, but it shouldn’t be your only qualifier. Each church has its own culture and faith statement that may set it apart from other churches within its denomination. You can usually find a church’s statement of faith on its website, and it is a far better indicator of whether the church is in line with your own beliefs.
While researching churches online and looking at their faith statement is an excellent place to begin your search, you will eventually have to visit a few churches to know what they’re like. You’ll be able to see first-hand what their services are like and how formal they are. Some churches all but require you to wear nicer clothes and engage in a very structured service, while others might be more casual.
When you visit a church, take the time to speak to members of the congregation. You might like a church’s statement of faith and enjoy the pastor’s sermons, but that won’t mean much if you don’t click with the other church members. Some congregations are more accepting of new members than others, and some might not be accepted at all of the others who are in any way different from them.
Follow Your Gut
As with anything else in life, you need to follow your gut when finding a new church. If you visit a church that feels like home and has a congregation and staff who treat you like you belong, you might have found the right church. If you don’t feel comfortable in a church, there is no reason for you to stay. There are other churches out there, and you should never feel rushed to find the right one. Keep looking and doing research, and you will find a new home church sooner or later.