In search of a local church

Moving to a new city or state can be a terrifying thing, whether it be starting school, changing career paths or searching for some place new to see because you have an adventurous spirit. As an follower of the Christian faith myself, these same rules apply, except that on top of finding your new favorite local eateries, the best coffee shops, and the places to spend your Friday and Saturday nights out, you need to find a local church. There is a need to find a community that will encourage you and help you invest in your spiritual health. Unfortunately, finding a church home in a new city is easier said than done. There are so many choices and varieties, from worship styles and denominations, to meeting times and doctrinal beliefs. It is extremely hard to know where to start, but I think the key is to do just that: start.

I have moved around quite a bit over the last five years, including stints in Chicago and Los Angeles. I understand and identify with how difficult it can be to get your feet on the ground in the local church or religious setting of one’s choosing. Both cities provided ample difficulty in finding a church that met my desired spiritual needs and also a plethora of options in which to choose from. By not knowing many Christians in either place, I was forced to start at square one.

As a Christian, I want to share some small and yet easy practical tips that can be tried if you are new to Waco and are looking to find your new church home.

As I said earlier, the key to finding one is by admitting that you need to start. I encourage you to commit your Sunday mornings or Sunday evenings if that works better for your schedule to trying out different churches. It may sound overly simplistic, but commitment is huge and as the semester wears on or job responsibilities begin to escalate, some commitments are often tampered with and ultimately sacrificed. I think that in many cases, the once a week commitment to spending Sunday mornings in Christian fellowship and reflecting on God’s word is the first step.

Second thing is to ask around. Ask fellow students, professors and friends where they go to church and begin to inquire about that church. If there is someone who is in a similar position, ask them to go with you to attend a service at this church. Doing something new is scary and doing it alone can be even scarier, so ask a friend to accompany you.

Warning: this step will require to do your research. While you could take everyone’s word at face value and decide to give a service a try, I recommend making a list of churches that sound like a good fit and research them. If, after researching their doctrinal beliefs or looking at the service times, something seems askew, then you can choose to attend that church once, or cross it off the list. This will take some time and commitment, but I believe it is a necessary step.

Most importantly, actively praying about it. Prayer is an incredibly powerful tool that, as God’s wonderful creations, we have at our constant disposal. Don’t waste that ability. Spend time seeking God’s will in your life and which church He may be leading you to. Our Heavenly Father knows our needs and desires. He knows our thoughts and our fears. Pray that He will lead you a place that fills your spiritual needs and continues to transform your life.

I encourage you to make the commitment to finding a local church to get plugged into when venturing to a new city. It may be a long journey, but once the destination has been reached, it will be more than worth it.