Long time no blog! The summer has been so eventful and as much as I miss the sunshine (where has it gone?!), whilst Autumn is pretty much in full swing, I’m pleasantly glad to be back in my term-time routine.
With so many ch-ch-ch-changes going on, kids and teens back at school, readjusting to the new school year. Rush-hour traffic has increased for those commuting to work every day… Then there’s University students returning to uni, or some actually making the transition into uni… Or some folks having moved to a new city to start a new job…
Moving to a new place can be difficult at first, you’ve said your goodbyes, people are going to miss you, you’re starting to miss them… But while they’re readjusting to your absence, you’re taking in and learning so many new things, introducing yourself to about a million people, getting lost and trying to learn how to get home or buy essential goods, trying to get things unpacked, trying to settle in and make your new home feel like home. Phew! So much!
But despite these transitions, one thing remains: God remains constant through all the trials and the changes. So turn to Him, and find a fellowship.
I can’t stress this enough, but finding a church should be a priority on your list of things to do when you move. He will be the same as ever, so in a time of transition, it’s vital to find a suitable church to get yourself plugged in to.
Now you know why, I thought it would be good to share some pointers and questions on how to find a suitable church, as there are so many churches out there!
How to find a suitable church:
- Where Jesus is Lord.
Is this church pointing people to Jesus as the one who has forgiven their sins? Do they declare that Jesus is Lord of their lives?
“Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” – Colossians 1:18
- Where the Bible is taught
Is this church teaching the bible accurately and seriously? Using it to back up their teaching, using it as a basis for what they believe and how they are to live?
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Where people encourage one another
Are there opportunities to spur one another on to love and good deeds and to encourage one another mid-week during a life group, as well as on Sundays?
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
- Which is outward-looking
Is this a place where you can bring your non-Christian friends? Would they hear the gospel here and be challenged to respond? Does this church encourage and equip you to share your faith with non-Christian friends and colleagues? Are there opportunities or groups or courses for unbelievers or new Christians? (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
Other icings on the church cake to take into consideration, but is less of a priority (compared to those above) and more to do with personal preference, and is entirely subjective:
- Do I like this church?
- Does the style of worship lead me to truly worship?
- Does the size/atmosphere/liveliness of the church suit me?
And while we shouldn’t belong to a church purely for our own selfish satisfaction, belonging to a church should be for God’s glory, for our edification and the edification of others; while equipping us in ministry and encourage spiritual growth (through giving and receiving). Of course no church is perfect, so it would be advisable not to make comparisons to other churches you have attended in the past. It might be good to attend a few different churches when looking, but try to settle after about a month or so (or as soon as possible!), as it may delay you settling down. But please do, most importantly, pray about deciding which church to regularly attend.
And as much as it is sad to say goodbye, we know God will keep a watch over you. May He lead you to a suitable church, a place where you can settle and call home and have fellowship through an extended church family.
Jesus said “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:20