How to find the right church?(10 Posts)
So while I've always had Christian belief this is the first time in my life that I feel like I'd really love to attend church and become part of a community.
How do you go about finding the right church and what sort of 'welcome' should I expect? I did a bit of research on local churches and found one I liked, when I emailed I got a one line answer not providing all the information I was after. Am I being overly sensitive to feel a bit rebuffed? I'm looking for somewhere that runs a Sunday school I can attend witb my toddler..
Why not tell posters where you are and you might find people with local knowledge answer.
I wouldn't read too much into a one line answer. You may have got a minister who is a bit rubbish with email. I come across a fair number of those. You can only really work out what a community is like by having a go. Bigger churches are more likely to have good children's work but they may be too big to do welcome that well. Smaller churches may be great on welcome and family feel but don't have a separate Sunday School/Junior Church set up. Be prepared to try a few places out. Good luck!
I would go along to the one you emailed anyway, sometimes people are just useless at email but much chattier in person. And go along to a few others too, see if you can get more of a feel in person.
Most churches have websites which should tell you what they do for children e.g. Sunday School, playgroups etc. I would suggest going along and see if you like it. I'm Catholic but went when mine were little to a playgroup in a Baptist church and also Messy Church and other activities in C of E as our Catholic church was very small and not much for children. Always made to feel welcome in different churches.
I remember my first time going to church. It didn't work out!
Luckily I kept on trying. I lived in a city and I looked at their websites and chose the biggest brightest ones with the most going on. I went to about 6 different ones until I found the one that suited us best.
My church is lively crowded with lots of children's groups. It's packed with babies, toddlers, young children and teens. It dies 3 services a day on Sunday. In the week there are Women's groups, bump and baby groups, toddlers and lunches for students and elderly.
However my church isn't for everyone. Some people prefer old dusty churches where they still have pews, hymn books and an organ. Some prefer cathedrals, others school halls.
I have never regretted trying going to church. It's brought me a great sense of comfort and fulfilment, security, fellowship, friendship and joy. When I had my last baby I didn't need to cook for weeks as I was given so many frozen casseroles!
Good luck and just try a few. There will be people welcoming you at the door and they can look after you (or you can just avoid eye contact and remain anonymous if that's what you prefer!). You can always email ahead to ask them to look out for you (although as a PP has said that does depend on how computer literate they are).
Have a look at the Mystery Worshipper on Ship of Fools.
Be aware that churches do things differently.
So in some churches there will be people to welcome you and chat to you.
In others there might be someone to hand put a service sheet, but who won't chat unless you start.
Some churches, such as Catholic churches, don't do chat before the service. We like to be quiet and prayerful beforehand, and then chat afterwards, but not usually in the actual church room. So there might be a hall or parish room serving coffee afterwards, or else people might hang around outside. (The noise of small children is usually/should be accepted.)
A Catholic church will often have someone handing out newsletters and service sheets, who will be happy to talk, but we have a tradition of going to church even if away from home, so just because they don't know you, they won't presume you are 'new'.
So don't be put off if no-one talks to you before the service, hang around afterwards and they will.
I have been to about 5 churches and only two of them I felt god wanted me to settle there.
The first church I stayed at for around 3/4 years and it was a very traditional church, with Sunday school. A huge older generation fellowship, and a small younger generation fellowship. But so very welcoming. And I felt and still feel part of that community even though I haven't attended there in many years.
I then moved home and I visited a few in my new area, none of which 'felt' right... even though they were really welcoming, and warm.
I finally found the church we are at now and have been there 4 years happily and it is very suited to young families and we have a real sense of community and we are part of a group of churches that worship together, though in different buildings/areas. So in the area I live I attend a bible study with that church but actually attend their sister church. So it's amazing and God has blessed me.
So please don't give up, try out different churches and stay where it feels right. As I am sure that is god placing you there.
Go along to a few, and see how they feel! That is the only way you will get a true sense of the community.
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