Last week, we briefly touched on the importance of being aware of where you stand on issues of faith as they pertain to worship and your ability to find a suitable worship home. To know if you fit with a particular church, you must also know where they stand. In an ideal world, everyone in the congregation should know where the church stands on things. So, you should be able to walk up to any of them and ask a few simple questions to figure out if you worship like they do. But, at the very least, they will know about the issues that they think are important.
The problem is that this is not an ideal world. (Thanks Adam and Eve ) The average person in the congregation will not feel comfortable answering your questions unless the questions are superficial. But there is so much more behind the church services. While I know that the last thing most of us want is to have to read up on a church before showing up, but that is exactly what I am about to suggest. When I was living in Germany and looking into different churches for my family, I was able to take the time to look into a handful of churches and choose the one whose worship lined up with mine. It was amazingly freeing to get to the U.S. and not have to worry about finding a church. We already knew where we could worship in spirit and truth.
That is what I want for you, too.
The easiest way to look into a church is to find their website. Most churches will have a link back to something that tells you what they believe, either through the denomination, or directly from the church. For example, you can find the basic beliefs of Overflow on the Churches of God page, here.
There are some minor points that I would discourage emphasizing during your church search, but there are some things that matter immensely to the churches you might be visiting. These are the things that you need to figure out. A little bit of reading can help you realize what they are. Below, I have included links to a few of the larger denominations within the U.S. If you are outside the U.S., a quick google search can probably help you find which churches are common in your area, or you can search on a case-by-case basis before visiting each church.
As you could probably guess, these websites will be trying to present their beliefs in a positive way, so you must be willing to discern God’s truth while you research. Happy hunting!
- United Methodist Church
- Southern Baptist Convention
- Lutheran Church
- Assemblies of God
- Roman Catholic Church
- Church of God in Christ
- Grace Brethren Fellowship
Many of these statements will relate to a church near you, but many of them will not! Reading beliefs of a specific church would be better. And talking to the pastor about any questions you have would be best. Plus, you will get a feel for his or her pastoral care.
I know that this is a lot, but the church you attend will be leading you somewhere. Don’t you want to know what direction they are heading?
If you run across anything that feels tricky, please send me a message, and I will help you sort it out.