Coming out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s a wild time of the year for shoppers to find the best gifts for our families (and sometimes ourselves) at the best prices possible. We search the internet for deals at multiple stores and then run from location to location trying to gather the best of what is being offered by the retailers this year. Some of us love trying to find the best deals while others grow weary of this new annual tradition.
Not surprisingly, this mentality of comparison-shopping is how most Americans pick a new church to attend. Gone are the days of attending the closest church in the denomination that we were raised in. Many people don’t even know what a denomination is anymore. And so as “brand” loyalty has waned, people now look for a church that is the best fit for them and their family. The problem is, many people don’t know what they should be looking for in a church when they are trying to find the right church for them.
Since we understand the importance of attending a church that fits your needs, we have accumulated a list of important questions to consider when selecting the best church for your family.
1) Does the church teach about Jesus or about rules?
Many churches have become so wrapped up in teaching about what Christians are supposed to do and not do, that they actually fail to teach the message of Jesus Christ who came to this earth to reconcile us to God through no effort on our part. Jesus himself was not one to get caught up in following all the rules as much as he cared about bringing glory to God. Find a church that focuses on Jesus, because he’s the One who changes everything!
2) Does the church have programs you and your children will enjoy attending?
If you don’t like to attend, then you won’t. It’ important to feel like you belong in a church as you begin to grow in your faith. And you will never feel like you belong if your kids are bored to tears or the music puts you to sleep.
3) Do the people in the church practice what they preach?
A church that teaches about Jesus should be serving the needs of the community and showing love to everyone inside and outside the walls of the church. Too many churches TALK about what YOU should be doing but then live a lifestyle that demonstrates they don’t actually believe it themselves. You will never grow in a church like that or under leadership like that. Make sure the people in the church are living a life you want to imitate.
4) Is the size of the church a match for you?
How you are received into a large church versus a small church will be vastly different experiences. It is much easier to remain anonymous and enjoy a wider array of classes at a large church while at a smaller church it is much more likely that people will get to you know and your family very quickly. You need to decide for yourself which is more important, having classes for your exact needs or having people who truly know you.
While some of these questions may only be answered by visiting a church yourself, you can save lots of time by first looking through the church website or even placing a call to the church during the week with your specific questions (but please don’t call on Sunday morning, it’s a bad time to call).
Most importantly in this process, however, is to pray about what church you should attend. At least once I felt like God wanted me to attend a church I wasn’t crazy in love with after attending. But it turned out to be a great church for my family and me during that season in our lives. While you can do all your homework to narrow down you list, listening to God will help you choose the right church to call home.
And while finding the right church may take longer than you thought and may be more tiring than expected, don’t give up. Finding the right church to call home, like finding the best deal on Black Friday, is incredibly rewarding!