How did you find the church you attend?

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  • Hi Everyone,

    Dh and I are trying to find a church home and we are not doing very well to date.

    We are visiting churches that are not even close to what we are looking for. We are not looking for a church that has "entertainment" every Sunday. We have visited a number of churches that have very overproduced services and we are not really comfortable with this.

    A new trend we have also noticed is to only sing and perform very contemporary music. We would like a mix of tradition hymns with some newer music. We have yet to find a church that isn't only into very loud, easily forgotten, repeative music. No choir, only the same group of members that entertain each week.

    Another disturbing trend we are noticing is the lack of communion/Lord's supper. When we have asked about this, we have been told that they are trying not to "turn off" seekers. I don't understand how this would be objectionable to a seeker.

    Alot of the services we have attended also gear the entire worship service to those who are not Christ followers, only to the seekers. This leaves us really wanting more.

    I would really appreciate your advise for finding the right church. We really want to find a church home and are beginning to become disappointed with what we are finding.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  • There does seem to be a large dividing line between types of churches these days. We used to attend a large non-denominational church with a very well-known pastor. Many of the 6,000 attendees would show up in jeans and T-shirts. Now, I'm all in favor of encouraging seekers, but I felt that the members should have been setting a better example and showing more respect with their attire. They also chose more contemporary music than traditional hymns.

    We chose to leave that church because of problems one of our sons was having with his Sunday school classes.

    We switched to a Baptist church - again, a fairly large one, with a locally well-known pastor. It was much more to our liking, in that it catered to the believer much more than to the seeker, although it had a wonderful way of making everyone feel welcome. We've had to stop attending there for the winter (I'm almost ashamed to say why) because I don't own any winter dresses! Not a single woman there wears dress pants! And I've only seen one person in jeans.

    There is another Baptist church in town, that is smaller, and my son attends Awana there. We want to try going there, but we've been fighting illness the past few weeks. From what I've heard, I shouldn't feel too out-of-place in dress pants during the winter there.

    So, my advice would be to try a smaller church. Look for a church with an older congregation - they're less apt to have newer music.

    Kelly H.
  • Hi Jenna

    I started by asking friends of mine what religion they were and about their churches. You see, I hadn't been to church since I was 6 years old, so I was clueless as to wehere to begin.

    I decided that Lutheran was the home for me. I visited different churches and found a loving and comfortable environment in one very close to my home. I was saddened when I had to move as they were the only church home that I knew, but I asked them for a reference in my new town and they gave me a great one. I am very happy in my new "home".

    You didn't mention what exactly you want out of a church, only what you didn't want but I know that one of the things I wanted was a relaxed and community felt environment, one of forgiveness and caring. I did not want a God fearing type of environment, so the decision I ended up making worked out well for my family.

    I wish you the best of luck!
  • Quote:
    Originally posted by HOMEWriter
    We've had to stop attending there for the winter (I'm almost ashamed to say why) because I don't own any winter dresses! Not a single woman there wears dress pants! And I've only seen one person in jeans.
    No disrespect intended here Kelly but this was actually one of my reasons for making the choice that I did. Noone should feel uncomfortable going to church because they don't have nice enough clothes. God doesn't care if you are wearing a dress or rags, just that you visit Him.

    I purposely sought out a church environment that I would feel comfortable in because I simply don't own nice clothes. I wanted to be able to attend a service in jeans and not feel uncomfy. I don;t think I'm being disrespectful, I think God is happy that I am there at all.
  • <So, my advice would be to try a smaller church. Look for a church with an older congregation - they're less apt to have newer music. >

    This is great advice. When we began our search for a new church home after our move, it took quite awhile to find the right one. We were experiencing many of the same problems that have been listed here ~ problems may not be the correct word I should be using. Maybe it is better to say that with none of the churches we visited during our search (until the last one) did we experience that "comfort level" we were seeking.

    At long last, we attended a worship service of a very small church that we had previously been told was (and I quote) a "dead church." Much to the contrary, we found a small congregation with warm and hospitable Christians, a lovely old (very old) church building and a very down to earth atmosphere. The minister (a woman) wore pants and a nice top and cardigan sweater and no robe! For many weeks, my husband was the only one wearing a coat and tie in the entire congregation, and most of the women opted for either pants or skirts and tops It was decidedly unpretentious, and very attractive to us!

    There was no large screen in the altar area with the words to the hymns scrolling down, young children were not segregated from their family units during the sermon for a separate "downstairs" time, and each and every person in that congregation of 30 people thanked us for coming to share their service and asked us back again.

    And it wasn't in the denomination either of us had been affiliated with previously. But, when you find the right one, it is all worth it!!

    I would suggest the following:
    1. Look for smaller churches with perhaps an older congregation.
    2. Check out rural congregations if at all possible. There are still many, many churches in rural areas that do not "expect" fancy clothing.
    3. Call the church office during the weekdays and talk with someone who is familiar with the church's service. Ask about the music so you are prepared for what they offer if you choose to attend a service.
    4. Communion should be on an established schedule ~ ask about when and how communion is offered when you call the church office before you attend the first time.

    By doing some telephone work ahead of time, you might save some time in your search for the right church! Most important, just keep looking ~ that church you are seeking is also waiting for you!

  • No disrespect taken!
    I've been to church in my jeans many-a-time! But, the more conservative churches really frown on women in pants of any kind - even dress pants. That's what I'm uncomfortable with. If we ever get to a warmer climate, I may take up wearing dresses all the time, but I just can't bring myself to do it in the snow!

    That's a big, huge controversy for many women - whether or not they are Biblically obligated to wear dresses to set themselves apart from men. I won't even go there ... don't feel like debating the issue, especially since it's such a personal decision between each person and God.

    Kelly H.

    PS: Amanda, you've seen me in person - that's how I dress every day ... well, most days I'm in sweat pants!
  • We were formerly with a fundamentalist/evangelical church in Minnesota, and I wore dress pants even back then.

    I personally could never fault someone for wearing pants or jeans to church. It just isn't that important to me ~ it's only important to see that person in church! I guess jeans or pants fall into the same discussion as long or short hair. (And yes, my hair is short!!) LOL

  • My Church
    The church that we attend is the same church that my mom and dad attended as did my grandparents, as did my great grandparents,and it even goes so far back that some of the relation helped settle the congregation.
    That to me is an old church and they can have their own faults, women voting was a really big one, We have alot of single mothers in our congregation and how did they except to not let them be heard.
    As far as the dressing goes, I was taught that in church you put on your Sunday best. OK that was 40 some years ago and things have changed alot. I feel God would be happy to see me in a pew not in a Donna Karen outfit.
    Now I'll start on something that really upset me years ago, we have to sign in when we sit down, they say its so they can keep track of who is going to commuion(you have to check that off if you intend to go) but, I really think its for keeping tabs on us.
    They tell us to greet new people with open arms and thank them for coming, so why would you have to tell someone that. That should be a given but the elders are to busy doing something else to lead by example.
    We have started the new contemporary service one Sunday a month and its the most popular because the Pastor had nothing to do with it, I think he put two and two together because now there is a sermon 20 min. long in this too on top of the skits and songs they do. Can you just feel the love coming from my puter?:mad:
    I have joined the ladies groups and found them to be VERY clicky.
    Talk about not fitting in (good greif)
    Hubby and I have just decided to hang in there until my parents are no longer with us because for us to transfer would kill them,
    couldn't bare that
  • Thanks everyone so much for your wonderful advise!

    Dh and I are actually Baptists, but we have no objections with other denominations. Actually, all but one of the churches we have visited have been non-denominational or of another denomination. We have not been attending church for the past few years. We had a hurtful experience in our last church and it had been rather difficult for us to get back to church. We are ready now!

    We are actually looking for a church that is a little more conservative, but not to the point of being dead. We don't actually object to contemporary music, we just feel that there seem to be an emphasis on entertaining the congregation, rather than worship. The musicians themselves also seem to have a status above the rest of the congregation. As Baptists, we believe in equality for all in the body of Christ.

    We are also looking for a church home for our children. Our son in 20 (he lives with us, while attending university) and our daughter is 17 and in high school. Our daughter seems particularly troubled by the problems of finding a church. She is upset if we attend a church for a month and then decide that is is not a good fit for us. We are sensitive to her feelings, but we know this is a very significant decision for us and we don't want to make it so quickly that is will be a mistake.

    We have actually been considering a smaller church, closer to the city center. It really helped me that some of you confirmed that this might be a good choice.

    Your advise is very much appreciated! We will be trying again this Sunday.

    Blessing to you all!

  • We recently and prayerfully made the desicion to make a change back in November. ( My son's 10th b-day) to be exact.
    I had struggled with the desicion to move for years.

    After talking things over with my dh we decided that church home where we had been for 13 years prior simply was not where the Lord would have us.

    Regarding dress, scripture says that we should be modest and offer our best but the real issue is the heart:

    1 Samuel 16:7
    Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

    I think the most important issue is that the church you choose bear fruit and have sound doctrine:

    Matthew 7:16 By their fruit you will reconize them.

    Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but ony he who does the will of my father in heaven.

    Titus 3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander noone, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men.

    I understand the struggles you are having. We also were hurt badly by folks in our prevous church. There was alot of gossip (I realize there are problems everywhere though )and not much scripture at all. I felt like I could have joined any social club. I had to remind myself that I was serving Jesus Christ and not man.

    The church we had been attending had alot of social activities, and incentives to attend....but in all of those years it honestly seemed my children didn't learn anything to equip themselves with spiritually.
    The first week we were in our new church home, my son was running up to me all excited about the scripture he had memorized. I see a change in my spirit!

    I think that I personally needed to look at the fact I had milk too long, ( so to speak) and now I needed to be fed the meat of God's word. I needed to be around like minded women who would not only encourage me but help me to be accountable!

    I honestly don't think that a denominaton is a real issue. DOCTRINE is the issue, not the dogma.
    When folks ask me what "religion" I am, I tell them none. I have a personal realtionship with Jesus Christ. I heard it said once that religion is our way of trying to reach God........

    Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we may be saved.

    John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his followers must worship in spirit and in truth.

    Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you brothers in view of God's mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God which is your spiritual act of worship.

    James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans adn widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Hope I have not offended anyone. This is what I look at.
    May the Lord strengthen you and grant you wisdom as you seek HIS will!