As our society muddles through tough times and the general difficulties of life, you may decide that going to church is more important now than ever before. You want to find peace, community, and a sense of purpose, and you want your kids to learn how faith can help them negotiate life.
In the past, people didn’t choose their church. You simply went to the church your parents attended. But today, there are churches everywhere, and if you’ve been away from church life, you may not know which church to attend.
How to find the right church for you and your family? Read on for some ideas.
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Consider Your Childhood Church
When choosing a place to worship, consider the church of your parents.
At one time, the mainline churches defined ethnic groups, neighborhoods, and even social status. While our society is more ethnically melded today, the roots of your childhood church go deep and can make lasting impressions on what is important to you as an adult.
After a visit to the denomination you grew up in, you may find that the faith of your youth includes all the values, practices, and community you are looking for.
Style of Worship
Some believe that a traditional church, complete with stained glass windows, wooden pews, and hymnals will only appeal to old folks.
The other assumption is that young people only respond to a more modern worship style, where the preacher wears jeans, and coffee and donuts are served instead of bread and wine.
Don’t allow labels like “traditional” and “contemporary” to pigeon-hole you into one format or the other. Instead, think about which type of setting might help you and your family to pray. If a church setting allows you and your kids to pray in a natural, comfortable way, it’s worth joining.
Location and Congregation
Another assumption is that you need to belong to a church close-by. But, some people will travel long distances to attend a church where they feel accepted and part of a community.
Many churches, like this church in Texas, make welcoming people of all ages a top priority and have started multiple locations to accommodate the increased number of happy participants.
Consider the size of the congregation. Do you want to be in a smaller church where everyone is known by name? Or do you prefer the excitement of worship in a stadium-like setting where the latest technology is used to communicate to a huge amount of people?
The correct answers to these questions are what feels best for you.
Outreach and Service
In picking a church for your family, look at how a church uses its resources, particularly in response to the needs of others.
When you attend church, you are not only a consumer, but also a contributor. You and your family give money, time, and service to a church in order to serve the congregation and the community-at-large.
You want to belong to a church that understands good stewardship. Choose a church that models the values of service that you hold and those you want to teach your children.
Tenets of the Faith
Different churches have different beliefs (or, theology,) about God.
Protestant churches lean heavily on the Bible as truth. Catholics believe in the primacy of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. Jewish practice relies on only one part of the bible and does not acknowledge the divinity of Jesus Christ.
You won’t ever find a perfect theology in any church, but it makes sense to examine what a particular church believes in. Keep in mind that God is the main reason to seek out a church membership, and theology, as well as everything mentioned above, is secondary to your relationship to God.
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How to Find the Right Church: Start Attending!
If you are serious about how to find the right church, start by getting recommendations for good churches from friends and neighbors. Then, visit each one a few times. It won’t take long before you know where you belong and where you and yours can begin to live your faith and work to make a better world.
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There is no right or wrong when choosing a church. Choose what you feel will bring the most blessings. Remember: God is greater than the highs and lows, God is greater than the physical realm.