Do you want to attend a new church, but have anxiety and stress about it? Are you introverted or shy, and struggle with thoughts of negativity about joining a church? Or do you simply want some advice on how to attend a church? Either way, this article will provide advice for attending a new church.
Tips on Attending a New Church
The Bible is clear that God does indeed want His children to attend church regularly (see: What’s the Bible say about church).
Starting to attend church for the first time, or attending a new church, can sometimes be very intimidating. Here are a few tips I can offer to make the experience as pleasant as possible:
Don’t Look for a Perfect Church, Look for a Faithful Church
As a great preacher once said, if you find a perfect church, don’t join it- you’d ruin it. That’s funny, but there is also a lot of truth in it.
The point is that churches, preachers, and other Christians are imperfect people, just as you are. If you have such high standards that everyone should be perfect, then you may be forgetting that you are a sinner yourself. Remember to not look at them as perfect people, but rather, saved sinners. They can all make mistakes from time to time and sin. Look only at Christ as an example of God’s will and what a “Christian” should really be like. There are many that claim they are Christians, but do not act like a Christian should. And even true Christians may stumble and fall into sin for a short time. So look for a faithful church, not a perfect church.
Find a Biblical Church
Make 100% sure that the church you belong to teaches the WHOLE word of God accurately. Sadly, many preachers out there only want to preach honey with no bees or roses with no thorns. They love the sweet verses about love, but hate the verses about God’s wrath and judgment. They teach “love thy neighbor,” but neglect to teach against common sins. Jesus spoke more on Hell than He did Heaven. You should seek a Godly pastor who will teach the entire word, and speak truth–regardless of how many people’s feelings he may hurt.
Also, if the pastor does not put effort into his sermons to teach and preach the word, then he is not doing his job. A pastor should put adequate time into sermon preparation. He has an incredible job to help Christians grow, and he should take that job seriously. So if a pastor preaches the same sermon week after week, or doesn’t prepare at all and just gets up and screams the whole time, then perhaps you should keep looking for other churches.
One thing that helps in your search for a biblical church is the technological age in which we live. When I decided to finally attend church, I was able to use Google to find local churches, and then I was able to visit individual church website and hear sermons, read their beliefs, and more. I love the church my wife and I joined, and Pastor Pierce is awesome. Listening to online sermons is a great way to not only prepare for your first visit, but also to compare local churches and pastors to see which one is being faithful to God’s word.
Watch Out for False Denominations/Cults
Watch out for false denominations. Many denominations or churches have compromised on key doctrinal issues. Try to stick with a denomination known for their conservative stance, such as Baptist or Southern Baptist. Also, you’ll want to view the ministries statement of beliefs to make sure they believe in an eternal/literal hell, the trinity, salvation is by faith and not works, etc.
Also, I recommend you also listen to Godly men like Adrian Rogers, David Jeremiah, and others who preach and teach the truth. You can always use their sermons as a measuring stick of how others are teaching. If you ever notice your pastor teaches different things, or doesn’t preach on sin, judgment, etc.–then you may have cause for concern. And of course, the Bible is the ultimate authority on everything.
Always place God first, and rely on the Bible as the word. Sometimes churches like to add their own twist/doctrines/etc. Always hold the law of God in your heart, keep faith in God first in your life. If you ever find that your church begins teaching heretical positions (denying the trinity, allowing blatant sin, etc.), then its time to find a new church ASAP.
Don’t Worship Church, Worship God
God calls us to not neglect the gathering of ourselves together weekly. You should place great emphasis and joy on attending your weekly service. While church attendance is an important part of our Christian walk, it shouldn’t interfere with our other duties God has called us to do.
Some churches have so many activities going on, and some people can get so involved that they neglect God and family. Church is a great place to serve, worship, and fellowship–but it should never cause us to neglect other aspects of our lives, such as family and our relationship with God. If those things ever begin to suffer, you may want to stop engaging in so many church activities.
Nevertheless, you should, at minimum, attend weekly if possible.
Take Along Some Friends
For some people, going to a new church can be a frightening or awkward experience. A great way to feel more comfortable is to take along some friends or family members. This way, you’ll have some people you can feel comfortable around until you get to know others in the church.