In How to Choose a Church – Part 1, I talked about the basics of finding a good church. Hopefully, you found one or more. If the church seems to meet your needs, if the doctrinal statement aligns with your beliefs, the church has built-in accountability, and it’s near enough to your home, it’s time to consider whether or not to visit regularly and make this place your spiritual hub.

READ: Easter-Only Churchgoers Want More

CONSIDER YOUR FAMILY Will you be going to church by yourself, or with a partner or children? Are your partner and children equally welcome? My own nephew was turned away from a Sunday School program because he had Down’s Syndrome, and the leadership said they didn’t want to “be responsible if something happened.”  You can bet my sister did not return to that church! I’ve heard of church leadership quietly approaching mixed-race couples and suggesting another church where they “might feel more comfortable.” And, if you’re married to a same-sex partner, I suggest calling ahead to prevent a hurtful confrontation. Bigotry is not Biblical, but you know, bigoted people exist, even in churches.

READ: Are Gay People Going to Hell?

Don’t fall for the common propaganda that all Christians are racist, homophobic, or ablest. It isn’t true. Pray for guidance, do your homework, practice patience, and you can find a group of believers that welcomes you as Jesus welcomes you—unconditionally.

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Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17, NIV

And speaking of family, does the church have programs that suit your family? Many churches have excellent teen programs, but not much for empty-nesters, or children’s programs, but nothing for single adults. You can find churches with sports programs, music programs, respite days for caregivers, date nights for couples, an open-to-the-public library of Christian books, or whatever else you’re into.

CONSIDER YOUR WORSHIP STYLE My bestie, Gloria, of blessed memory, and I prayed together and talked about the Bible, but we went to different churches because our worship styles were so different. Traditional music and a quiet, reverent, predictable service helped her enter into a calm and worshipful state to experience the presence of God.

I like to keep moving. New music, new presentations, and new points of view get me thinking about the Bible and my walk as a believer in new and different ways, and that helps me to experience the presence of God. Different strokes for different folks.

READ: No One Lied to Us

CHURCHY BUZZ WORDS The following buzzwords are often (not always!) used to let you know what to expect. Remember, these are generalities. Check the church’s doctrinal statement, talk to someone at the church, or watch a few streaming services to get a bead on the specific church you’re considering.

Affirming – Gay friendly

Contemporary – Not stuffy or extremely traditional, relaxed

Diverse, Multicultural – Actively seeks to integrate people of all races and economic backgrounds.

Interdenominational – Welcomes people of various denominations. Accepts differing worship styles and differing beliefs. Usually, not always, non-traditional and interprets the Bible non-literally.

Messianic – Incorporates elements of Judaism with elements of Christianity, believing that Jesus (called Yeshua) is the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world. Interprets the Bible from a traditional Hebraic perspective. A Messianic congregation where Jews and Gentiles worship together can be a great fit for a Jewish-Gentile blended family. I suggest looking into one affiliated with the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA

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Warning: An unusually large number of “Messianic Synagogues” spring from Christians embittered by their churches. These “rabbis” spread division, contrary to the teachings of the Bible, and seek to cut their converts off from loved ones and Gentile traditions. If you’re unsure, ask the rabbi about his or her qualifications. If they’re humble and qualified, as a leader should be, they’ll answer plainly, in language you understand, and without hostility.

“Righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Romans 3:22-24, NIV

Nondenominational – Not connected to any denominational institutions, like Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. Usually (not always) conservative and believe the Bible literally.

Spirit-filled/Spirit-led/Charismatic  – Emphasizes miracles and miraculous gifts, such as speaking in a non-human angelic language (“tongues”), physical healing, visions from God, and financial prosperity for the faithful.

Between Part 1 and Part 2, we’ve just scratched the surface of finding a good church fit. I hope you find what you are looking for. In the meantime, you can talk with God in privacy of your own mind. It’s astounding, I know, but I truly believe that.

I’m moving on from this subject now, but I’ll leave you with this verse, in case all you really wanted to know is how to “get saved.”

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Acts 16:30-31

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  1. Pingback: How to Choose a Church – Part 1 – Kathryn A. Frazier

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