Finding a church

I’ve already stressed how important it is to stay in church during college. It’s also important to find a church home after graduating, after moving or after leaving your childhood church. And it’s immensely important to know what to look for in a church.
Whether you’re looking for a church to attend in your college town or looking for a new church after college graduation, it’s good to know what’s important in a church family.

You need to find a church that fits the biblical standards of a church and fits you.

So, what are the biblical standards of a church? Before you pick a church to become your home, you need to understand what the Bible demands of a church and how the churches you visit align with them. According to the description of the first church plant in Acts 11:19–26:

  1. A biblical church preaches the gospel. It preaches the sound gospel that proclaims faith, not works, leads to salvation; the gospel that predicts persecution for faith, and not one claiming that faith in God leads to a prosperous life on earth.
  2. A biblical church also carries out the biblical mandates for the church. The church must be committed to faithful obedience. The church must be committed to sharing the gospel and making disciples. The church must be committed to teaching sound doctrine.

So when you visit a church, pay attention to the sermon being preached and the priorities being stressed. Maybe even check their website and look for a page that explains their beliefs. Make sure they match up with what Scripture says.

While the biblical standards of a church are of the utmost importance, it is also necessary for your personal walk that you find a church where you can fit, a church that you enjoy. What are some of the things you should consider when finding a new church?

  1. Worship. Worship is a large part of the church experience. Be sure to consider what kind of worship you prefer when visiting churches. Do you like hymns? Do you like modern/contemporary worship? Do you like choirs? Do you like praise teams? Do you want both? While worship shouldn’t be all about the type of music or the volume of the bass drum, you must be mindful of what will lead you to worship. If you are bothered by loud, pounding music, you shouldn’t join a church where worship is loud. The music may cloud the experience for you and make it difficult for you to genuinely worship God.
  2. Fellowship. What kind of fellowship and Bible study do you prefer? Do you want Sunday School? Would you prefer a mid-week Bible study? What about Wednesday and Sunday night services? Does the church hold churchwide fellowship events? Does it have age-specific events and services? Fellowship is crucial to the Christian walk so it is imperative that you find a church with activities and Bible studies that you can get involved in. You need to find a church where you can build relationships with fellow Christians and get involved.
  3. Size. Size may seem trivial, but it is important for an enjoyable church experience. In a broad sense there are four sizes of churches: small (100 members or less), average (several hundred members), large (about a thousand members) and mega (thousands of members and multiple locations). You need to know what size works best for you. Do you want to know everyone in the church? Are you okay blending in with the crowd? Are you looking for large age-oriented ministries? Are you more comfortable in small multi-generational groups? No matter the size of the church, you can get involved and impact the kingdom of God.
  4. Ministries. Is there a specific type of ministry you feel called to work in? It could be preschool, children’s or youth ministry; special needs, English as a second language, community outreach, international missions trips or the food pantry. Find a church with the type of ministries and gospel activities that you feel called to support.

Prayerfully consider where you should root your Christian faith as you search for a church. Having a church and a community of believers to lean on is invaluable in the Christian walk. So no matter where you land, make sure it is a biblically-sound church and get involved.

Jessica Ingram

Jessica Ingram is a regular contributor to The Rope. She also is the event coordinator for The Alabama Baptist/TAB Media. She graduated from Mississippi State University in 2017 and is a member of The Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham.

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