The church you choose to attend is a far more important decision than most people realize.
This is a place where you and your family to connect and learn about the divine...
And deciding which church to attend has probably never been a more difficult question than it is today...
but fear not, we have the steps get to an answer together.
FIRST, consider whether you want to attend in person or online. Prior to 2020, the options for online churches were fairly limited but today almost every church has some way to engage virtually (and PS, even if you choose to attend in
person, this is REALLY going to help us find the right church for you). If you don’t have a strong opposition to finding a local, in person, church, that’s probably the way to go. Online church has come a long way but it’s EXTREMELY hard to feel “a part” of a church you’re only engaging with through a computer screen.
SECOND, consider whether you’re specifically set on a particular denomination or not. If you are, for example, only interested in Catholic Churches, your search is going to be a lot simpler. If not, then denominations at least will help to rule out churches that don’t fit.
THIRD, consider what "non-negotiables" exist for your family. Are you someone who could not attend a church that does not allow women to serve in leadership capacities? Do you have deeply held beliefs about any individual theological position that would disqualify a church? Do you need to be at a church with people your age and your children’s age? What about diversity? Keep these things in mind becaus
e you don't want to be blind sided later in the process when you're already invested.
FOURTH, we will talk about the finer details of “fit.” Fit things are things like church size, music style, the individual connection you feel with the preaching or staff. These things are often considered FIRST and honestly that’s a huge mistake if you’re looking for forever church home. You don’t want to fall in love with a particular preacher or worship environment only to find out later that they are
overtly anti-woman or believe that the world is flat or evolution is a conspiracy.
So here is how all these things come together with a process.
Start by searching churches (either by denomination or just generally depending on your preference) that are within 10 or 20 miles of your home based on how far you are willing to drive.
Next, sift through those faith communities rulin
g out ones that clearly don’t fit (for example), you might not care about denomination but you might know that Reformed Presbyterians (extremely conservative) or Episcopal (generally very liberal) won’t fit for you.
With the remaining “contenders,” visit their websites and read their faith statements. If you have questions about individual theological
stances or church policies, ASK! It never hurts to email or submit an inquiry if you’re unsure if a church is worth considering for you. An email is not a commitment.
Finally, with the last few churches who have remained, listen to a couple sermons or watch some old services and figure out which you would like to visit. If none seem right, you might have to widen your search. When I lived in rural South Carolina I had to travel 50 min to church to feel safe and connected. In all likelihood you won’t have to go that far but just know, it’s WAY better to be at the RIGHT church and drive 10 minutes further.
Try and find three that seem great, AND VISIT ALL THREE!
If the first one is “perfect” you can always come back. The worst thing that will happen is an awkward Sunday or two. Better to know, and remember, you already have done your research.
You got this. Let me know if you need a hand in the search, whether Hope Cov. is on your list or not!