A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Church

When you wake up Sunday morning, you should be excited. Excited for a day of rest but mostly excited for what message church may have in store for you that day. If this isn’t the case, you may be feeling a spiritual disconnect.

As Christians, our church should be our second home. The church was meant to be a place of growth, support, and spiritual encouragement found through sermons, church friends, and church involvement. So if you are listening to the sermons, have plenty of friends in your support network, and are involved in the life of the church but are still feeling disconnected, it may be God showing you it is time to move on to another church.

The trouble is, finding a new home church can potentially be a long, laborious process, especially if you go into the process not precisely knowing what you are looking for. So, to help you out, here is a step-by-step guide on how to choose the right church.

  1. Figure out your beliefs and compare them to the church’s.

Believe it or not, not all churches think and act alike, and sadly, not all churches believe doctrine essential to the faith. If you haven’t already, figure out what you believe to be essential elements of the faith according to Scripture, and compare them to a perspective church.

Many churches, if not all, should have a page on their website entitled “what we believe” or something along those lines. Take the time to read through before you go visit. If they have posted a statement you may not agree with, take some time to read the Scripture they have posted alongside that statement. If they have taken a verse completely out of context, or even if they do not have Scripture backing up their beliefs, that is a red flag.

  1. What is the atmosphere like?

The next step is to start visiting the church. Notice when you walked through the church doors, what was it like? Did someone greet you? Did someone recognize a new face and ask how they can help you (typically happens more at smaller churches)? Did it feel warm and inviting? Were there children running around, or older people grabbing coffee together? If the church atmosphere is lively, that is a good sign.

  1. How was their worship?

What songs did they sing? Was it all CCM? Were there hymns? How were the people around you worshipping? We all have our own preferences with worship, but when attending a new church, try to keep an open mind. Maybe you aren’t used to the songs yet, or you aren’t used to not having a hymnal in front of you. Keep an open mind, but also watch out for a few things. Make sure that the worship lyrics are not all about the self in every song, and make sure that the worship is easy to follow. If the worship leaders are not being clear on the melody, how will you ever engage in worship?

  1. What are your key takeaways from the message?

Listen to the message and try to write down some key takeaways. How was the pastor speaking to the audience? How was his tone? Were you engaged the whole time? What was the message, and was it drawn directly from Scripture? Was the pastor cherry-picking?

  1. Look at their involvement opportunities

After the service, if you connected with the church, talk to someone about involvement opportunities. What are some ways you could serve if you were to pick this church as your home church? Serving is a large part of our Christian walk, so make sure the serving aspect of your faith can be fulfilled at this church.

  1. Be Open to New Ideas

Lastly, stay open to new ideas. If you come from a traditional church but you have heard great things about a local non-denominational church, check it out. The music and service style may not be what you are used to, but at the end of the day, their service could be firmly rooted in Christ. Stay open to the possibilities of where God could lead you, and don’t put God in a box.

If you are looking for a place to start, Reality Church comes highly recommended. Reality Church is a non-denominational church in Lancaster PA, with firm beliefs rooted in Christ. For those who are new, they even have a welcome party to get you connected with other churchgoers and service opportunities. Reality Church isn’t just a good starting place for your home church searching, it can potentially be your forever church.