Elena’s once-friendly church became deeply divided by the actions of a man who tried to take it over, so she decided to leave and find a new church. There are dozens of churches in our area. Rather than choosing only one, she decided to take the time to visit every church in the county so she’d know what was available.
Two years later, having spent at least one Sunday in each church, she settled into a comfortable routine of church-hopping between three churches that offered sign-language interpretation. You see, somewhere along the line her heart was attracted to the work interpreters did to help the local deaf community. She enrolled in sign language classes and prepared for a ministry of interpretation.
Church-hopping, however, is not an ideal situation when you need a church that will be your long-time spiritual family. Part of having a church is to fellowship and get to intimately know the other members of the church, something hard to do if you’re constantly changing your place of worship.
Normally people are not left without a church unless they are new to an area. If you have to move or if for some reason your church becomes inhospitable, you might want to follow Elena’s example, and shop around.
What types of things should you look for in a new church?
Before attending a church I’d first look at the church’s website to see what they believe in. Why bother going if their beliefs don’t match your own? Most churches these days have a website. If the church doesn’t have one at this point, I’d consider that a red flag. Also, if the church doesn’t explain their beliefs, or seems secretive, I’d stay away.
Are you attached to one denomination? If so, you might decide to attend a Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, or Lutheran church only because it belongs to that denomination. Others gravitate to churches that feel like “family” no matter what denomination they affiliate with.
There are differences between large and small congregations. A large congregation is often more impersonal as the pastor has so many people to lead. He many not be able to remember everyone’s name. Smaller churches are often more like home, where you can feel like part of a close-knit family.
Many people want a specific style of music. Nancy’s husband likes churches where the old hymns are still sung regularly. A younger person might prefer contemporary praise music with a band. Another person may want to be involved with an old-fashioned choir. There many be multiple churches that could meet your music criteria.
How is the Bible Being Taught?
Pastors have distinctive types of preaching as well. One might follow the Bible, teaching verse-by-verse, whereas another could be presenting topical sermons. Some pastors do a combination of these things, at times going through a book of the Bible and at other times choosing a theme to follow for several weeks at a time.
Do you need any specific types of ministries? If so, seek out churches that cater to your needs. Some churches have strong women’s Bible study fellowships. Others may offer ministries for men, for singles, or for young adults. Figure out what your needs are and see where you might fit in.
What Does the Holy Spirit Say to You?
You might choose a church based on how well you connect to the Holy Spirit while you’re there. Or you may feel “led” to a church by God’s supernatural intervention.
Do You Really Want to Attend That Church?
Beware of choosing a church based on co-dependency. In other words, others may pressure you to participate, and if you don’t feel 100% comfortable with what’s going on, beware! You shouldn’t choose your church based on what someone else wants you to do. You need to find your church home – and be happy in that situation. Of course, if the other person is your spouse, you may have to make compromises. Hopefully both of you will be happy with the same church!
The Problem With Church-Hopping
My friend Elena, who I mentioned at the beginning of this article, is still attending multiple churches. I don’t recommend that for everyone.
I started at one church because I love how the pastor teaches the Bible verse-by-verse, but later started going to a different church for women’s Bible studies twice weekly. I love the people at my church, but there isn’t a regular, strong women’s ministry there. At times I feel pulled emotionally between the two churches, as I now have friends in both places. It isn’t the best situation, and I’ve had to make some hard choices about where I’ll spend my time.
Stay in Prayer
In any case, while you’re looking for the perfect church to call home, remember to pray about it, and be confident that the Lord will lead you to the right place, where you’ll find love, happiness, and appreciation.
Here’s a good video that presents ten important issues to consider for choosing a good church. I agree with everything this pastor says! I wrote my article before I found his video so his comments are much different than mine.