How to Find a New Church

Not for the first time in my life, I find myself in the position of looking for a new church. From past experience, I know this isn’t a fun process. Can anyone offer some actionable advice on this topic? For example, a friend of mine and others have said to look for a Bible-teaching church. Well, of course. Shouldn’t all Christian churches be Bible-teaching? And yet, they’re not. That’s why I left my previous church. How do I tell if a church is Bible-teaching without going there for months to learn what they teach? Unfortunately my family and I have only been to church once since this past spring, partly because I dread the process of church shopping. To complicate matters even more, my wife is Catholic, so the types of church she’s comfortable with tend to limit our choices. Starting with denominations can be futile, because what a denomination says it believes and what the local church teaches can be two very different things. Just to add a little more data, I was raised in a United Methodist church, but it was more Baptist in style. Help?

Thanks

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@biker4Christ I hear you Ned - finding a Church can be super difficult. I’ve also found that the denomination alone is not a good guide - each local Church is different. Below are some thoughts on finding a Church, though I don’t want to trivialize the difficulties - especially when there are differences within the family. It generally takes me months to find a Church and 6 months to a year to get really plugged in. May the Lord Jesus guide you guys to a safe community where you can grow in Him - that is my sincere prayer :slight_smile:

I think I generally break this process down into 2 stages:

Determining My Stage of Life / What Type of Church Appropriate

What are my gifts (teaching, leading worship, administration, etc)? How do I want to plug in?

Who am I responsible for (spouse, children, friends who join you, etc) and what are their spiritual/safety needs? How do they want to plug in?

Qualities I Look For in a Church

1 - Clear, Biblical teaching - sermon outlines are helpful in my opinion and show the teacher actually prepared well (or at least tried)

2 - Healthy community (no recent splits, apparent bigotry, irresponsible use of finances) - I find that Churches where the pastor has stayed around for ten plus years seem to have this more often

3 - A Place to Serve

4 - Accountability (Leader are not appointed without background checks, etc)

5 - Clearly stated beliefs - no clear statement of faith sends up red flags for me

6 - Good google reviews - def should not be the determining factor, but if half of the people who have reviewed it are upset, this may be a sign of broken community or manipulative behavior on the part of the leaders

Making the Decision

I tend to attend a Church for months before joining and put the needs of my family above my own (or at least I try) since I believe God calls me to lay down my life for them. I think it takes time in a community and daily prayer to discern if a community is the right place to invest and be invested in - especially if you are responsible spiritually for spouse / little ones.

I would rather go without a home Church for 3-6 months while discerning God’s leading than jump in somewhere that is unhealthy spiritually or socially only to be hurt or forced to leave. That could still happen, but it seems to happen far less when I take the time to discern.

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