Finding Community

Since I was born I have lived in 6 different states (and two different times in two of those states). Growing up in a Christian home meant finding a new church every time we moved. I don’t remember “church shopping” for the first decade of my life, but ever since we moved to Colorado I have vivid memories the experience. So now from CO – NM – TN, I have picked up on a few things to consider when you find yourself in a new city and searching for a new church community:

Can you do life with these people? 

Not do they look like you. Not are they cool enough. But can you see yourself actually doing life with them? Are they inviting and sincere and warm?

What about the demographics of the church – is everyone your age? Students? Married? Older? A combination?

Think about what matters to you in your friendship, and as best you can decide whether or not the body of the church are people that you can do life with.

Does worship resonate with you? 

If you don’t like raising your hands and find yourself in a Pentecostal church, it probably won’t be the most comfortable experience for you. Likewise, if dancing and shouting is normal for you, a more traditional church might not be the way to go. The worship doesn’t have to be perfect or have the best sound equipment. Nor do they have to play every song you love. At the core of it ask yourself: do I feel confident and comfortable to participate in this church’s worship experience?

Do I agree with their core beliefs? 

You won’t agree with everything the pastor says. Nor will you agree with every belief held by every member. The church is a group of imperfect and opinionated human beings, each entitled to their individual beliefs and values. That being said, can you agree with the core beliefs of the doctrine of the new church? Can you follow their values in order to participate in the church body? It’s okay to ask questions about values you don’t understand. Can you start to buy into their heart behind it?

If the answer is no, check both your heart and the church’s heart with the Word. The church isn’t right simply because they’re the church, nor are you right simply because it’s what you believe. Sometimes two parties can be right at the same time.

And keep in mind, at the core of all churches, we share a common faith.

Stop comparing it to your old church. 

This was such a struggle for me when I moved from Colorado to New Mexico for college. Before I left for school my parents found a really great church in Denver, and I compared every church in Albuquerque to it. But instead of comparing flaws to flaws and positives to positives, I found myself comparing the negative things about the churches I was visiting in NM to the positive things about the church in CO. It wasn’t a fair comparison, nor should there ever have been a comparison.

Your home church isn’t your home church anymore.

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