Very recently, my husband and I came to the conclusion that the church we were attending was not the right fit for us anymore. It was pretty disappointing for us. He had been attending that church his entire life, and that had been my grown up home church. We were both baptized there, we were married there, and we dedicated our child there. It was a blow that we no longer felt welcome in a place that had always been our home away from home. But it happens, and when it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on. I haven’t talked about it too much just because it was such a complicated situation, but it is what it is. We needed to go church shopping! At this point, we have found a new home church that we just love, and I’m so happy to have found something, especially before the new baby comes. It’s hard to move around a lot with a fresh little one, so having a home base church is going to be a huge help.
Here are the steps we took in deciding on our new church:
- Sit down and discuss what you’re looking for
My husband and I sat down together to talk about the specific things we wanted when we were looking for a new church. Among the things on the list, we wanted to find something with only one service, was small-medium sized, and had children’s programming/children’s ministry. These were the top three things that were most important to us when finding something. It could be different for you, but it’s so important to talk it out first so you each know what the other wants in a church.. and so that you know that you’re both on the same page.
If you’re church shopping by yourself, maybe it’s writing down what is most important to you. As long as you have some ideas of what you want before you start really looking, then you won’t pick one just because.
- Research, research, research
My husband and I each did our own research and came up with our own lists of churches we were interested in going to look at. We didn’t outright cross anything off our list, but we compared lists and started with the ones that we both had on our own lists.
In doing our research, it was important to us that the churches we were looking at have a website, and that they had some kind of mission statement or values on their website. We wanted to find something that aligned, at least a little bit, with what we believe in. If a church didn’t have a website, it made it harder for us to select that for the next part of the process, in part because then we couldn’t find out when their services were.
- Start shopping
We started by going to a couple of the churches that made both of our lists, and ended up finding one from there. Another thing that was important was how welcome we felt when we were at the church. We went to a church with someone and the only people there who talked to us were the people we were with. Whereas, at the church we chose, we made friends right away. It made a huge difference to us if people were actually welcoming, and if people noticed we were new.
- Go a few times
I don’t think it’s fair to pick a church based on ONE Sunday, so we went to the church we ended up choosing a few times to get a good feel for it. For example, one of the churches we went to had a guest speaker the first time we went. It wouldn’t have been fair to pick that church based on that particular Sunday, because it wasn’t even the main speaker! It was a very good service and everything, but if the speaker isn’t going to be there all the time, that’s not a good indicator of what the church will be like on a regular basis.
This is the fairly easy part. After a few Sunday’s at our new church, my husband and I sat down and fully decided that this was going to be our home church. We then started giving, and we signed up for the nursery programming for our daughter. We also prayed about it before fully deciding. It felt right.
How do you pick where your home church would be?