Finding a Church Home
It’s now time to make your faith your own. This phrase was said to me multiple times as people told me the importance of choosing a church. As a senior in high school, I felt super overwhelmed about how I would make the decision of where I was going to go to church. My family and other spiritual mentors would tell me even if I chose a Christian university, I still need to find a church. Now, as a freshman in college, I’m not an expert at all, but I thought it may be helpful if I shared the advice I was given and have come to find out on my own.
First, you have to compile a list of churches near your university. While creating a list of churches, you might consider some factors. For example, transportation: do you have a car or a friend to bring you?
Then, after compiling that list you need to look at the statement of faith. The statement of faith will tell you what that church believes. This will help you decide if the church has the same beliefs as you.
After you see that their beliefs align with yours, look at their different ministries. Do they have a ministry that you can get involved in? Whether that be a college ministry to be poured into and where you can surround yourself with Christian friends. Or even to find a youth ministry where you can pour into students.
Personally, I made sure the church has mission opportunities, whether those opportunities are at a local nursing home or a mission trip in a third world country. It is important to me that the church that is pouring into me is encouraging the body of believers to go out and fulfill the Great Commission. The Lord is such a miraculous gift given to us, we should want to tell people about Him.
Next, you have to make sure the churches you have chosen are churches that you can attend consistently. The consistent part is key because you want to be able to be filled with God’s word continuously. A factor in the consistency would be to look for the service times. Which service are you actually going to attend? For some of us, it is hard to wake up for an 8 am class, will we really get up for an 8 am service? When looking at which service to attend be honest with yourself.
Now that you have a list of the churches you want to visit, their service times, transportation and have checked them out to make sure they are a great possible fit, the next step is to actually go and visit those churches. Personally, I started off with a list of multiple churches, but before I started visiting them, I narrowed it down to four specific churches.
While visiting those churches, observe and know what is important to you in a home church. Personally, before visiting each church, I would not talk to anyone about what they liked or disliked about the church that I was visiting. I wanted to formulate my own opinion. My list started out with being greeted and feeling welcomed right when I enter the church. I want to feel as if I am coming into my home, because this is going to be my spiritual home. Also, the worship is very important, as I want to be able to feel close to the Lord while I am praising Him. Lastly, the preaching has to be gospel-centered and broken down in a way that I can understand. I want the pastor to challenge us as a congregation, not to just make me feel good, and have the message apply to our lives.
Again, by no means am I an expert. This is just a compiled list of what I feel has worked for me. I believe that God will lead you to the church that you are supposed to attend. The important thing is to remember that chapel and taking Bible classes is not a pass for church membership. We need a church community that will challenge us in our faith to help us grow in our relationship with the Lord. I believe the world wants us to think just having a little God here and there is good enough, but that can not be farther from the truth. We need God and should WANT to spend time with Him. In church, they will only teach us more and more about our love for the Lord and how to show that love to others. Personally, the only way I feel I could have failed in a church decision is if I leave in four years in the same spiritual state that I came to OBU. I just want to grow closer to the Lord. For me, it is comforting to know that at the end of the day, I just want to grow closer to my Savior.