Perhaps you are a new to the Christian faith, or something has happened in your life that has made you curious about God. Whatever your situation, because there are numerous local churches, it may feel like a big task to find a church to go to. You might wonder where to start or how to go about finding a church. Becoming part of a church is a significant step in one’s faith journey. As it says in Acts 2:46-47:
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Jesus established the Church, and we find in the New Testament that the disciples spread the Gospel and started churches as more and more came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Attending church is an exciting and important part of being a Christian. If you are curious about Jesus, going to a church can be a great first step in discovering more about Jesus and becoming a follower of Him.
Here are five tips for finding your first church.
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1. Pray about It
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
If God is leading you to start going to church, be confident that going to Him in prayer about it will be the first and most important step to take. God wants us to pray to Him about everything. Talk to the Lord about your desire to find a church and ask Him to help you find the right church for you.
God has good plans for His children, and no doubt, He has a purpose for the church you decide to attend. As you look for a church, be consistent to pray throughout the process that God will lead your steps and direct your decision.
2. Ask for Recommendations
“Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
I have relocated a few times in my life and needed to find a new church. It was helpful and felt less overwhelming to ask fellow Christians I went to school or work with about local churches they would recommend. Good advice can make a big difference. Hearing their experiences or suggestions helped me find some direction on deciding which churches I would visit.
A good recommendation might lead you to the right church and keep the process of finding a church from getting frustrating.
3. Go with a Friend
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:9).
A good friend will no doubt extend their hospitable help to you as you look for a church. It may feel less intimidating to go with a friend when you visit a new church. Perhaps you can visit a friend’s church, or simply ask a good friend to come with you. It can be helpful to hear a friend’s input and ask for their prayerful support as you find a church to go to.
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4. Don’t Delay
“’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:41-42).
Mary knew putting Jesus first was the right thing to do. Sometimes, we have a lot of distractions that can keep us from pursuing God or from taking the steps to find a church community. Take the time you need to find a church that meets the thirst you have for being part of a Christian community of believers.
However, don’t delay in making your decision. When God is stirring in your heart to find a church, make it a top priority to get connected. Put the distractions aside. The longer we wait to do something, the less likely it will become a reality. Don’t let too much passed time deter you from finding a church.
5. For Those with Children, Look for Robust Children’s Opportunities
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:14).
If you have children in your family, I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of finding a church that has dynamic children’s ministry. Children are a key part of the kingdom of God and the mission to continue sharing the Gospel. They are the next generation that needs to know God’s truth. Jesus embraced the little children and asserted their worth. When looking for a church, choose one that values children and prioritizes ministry to them and for them.
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Scriptures about Church
There is a consistent message in the New Testament that encourages believers to connect with a church family and be an active and engaged member. There is purpose in the church. Going to church is where you can learn about God, how to live like Jesus, hear the word of God taught, be encouraged, use your God-given gifts to serve, and build friendships with other believers. This sampling of verses shows us that church involvement was and is significant to the life of every believer.
“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31).
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:4-5).
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
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Prayer for Finding a Church
I look to You for help in this season of my life. Something is stirring in my heart and circumstances to find a church to call home. I want to know You more, I want to be part of a family that supports me, and I want to be somewhere that I can grow in and use my gifts to help others. Lord, show me the way to the right church. Help me to have eyes to see and ears to hear where You are guiding me. I take this step in faith knowing that You will guide my steps to the church You have in mind for me. Thank you, Lord, that I’m not on my own trying to figure this out, but that You are with me.
In Jesus’ name I pray,
The Next Step
“A person’s steps are directed by the Lord” (Proverbs 20:24).
It is an exciting step in your life to begin looking for a church with the hope of becoming part of a Christian community. You will want to find a church that is Bible-based and rooted in God’s word, one that values worship, has serving opportunities, and makes you feel warm and welcome — like a family should! These five tips will help you in your journey to finding a home church that is a good fit. Most importantly, trust that God is leading you, directing your steps, and is with you as you seek to find your first church.
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Originally published Thursday, 10 August 2023.