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Finding the right church for you and your family isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful process either. For starters, don’t just pick the closest church that practices your religion. Just like you wouldn’t buy the first house you seen, it is wise to shop around and really get a feel for what suits you best.

By looking for specific traits, you should be able to find a church that fits well when it comes to your beliefs and your needs for community.


The first thing to take into consideration is the denomination. For example, Christianity has a number of denominations. There is Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, and much more. If you’ve been part of a denomination in the past, it is likely this will feel more familiar to you in your search. If you’ve never been part of a single denomination before, it is best to research the varying beliefs and practices of each one to see what fits you and your family best. You should also find churches in your area with specific denominations.

Your Beliefs

Another important beginning factor is to determine what each church’s belief system is. This can easily be found in their doctrinal beliefs. By learning about the church’s doctrine you will learn things such as if they only study the Bible, or if they also study the Gospel, and so on.

Service Structure and Style

Prior to visiting a church make a checklist or keep a notebook handy to record the service structure and its styles. During your search you will probably be visiting many churches so you don’t want to get them mixed up. Each church holds their service differently. Some faiths have long ceremonies with eloquent sermons and a church choir. Others may be a bit less formal with a short sermon and the congregation singing. All of these things will affect how comfortable you are with the church.

A couple of other factors of the church can also make an impact on how close you’ll feel to it. For example the size of the church and its congregation. Some people prefer large churches with hundreds of congregation members while others prefer a small intimate setting where they know each individual member. Additionally, the attire required can affect your decision about the church. Some require a more dressed up look, like the saying “your Sunday’s best”. Other churches can be a bit more relaxed where jeans or khakis are welcome.

Schedule a Visit

Before you actually visit a church, give them a call to schedule the visit. You are more than likely welcome to show up unannounced but churches will often provide you with a new visitors packet and even meet with you. This is a perfect opportunity to ask as many questions as you’d like regarding the church, its services, its beliefs, and its community programs.

Visit at Least 3 Times

Visiting a church once is great, but you can’t really form a complete opinion about it in just one visit. Services aren’t that long and you won’t get the chance to get to know the other congregation members or church leaders. Visiting the church three times usually gives you a much better picture about the practicings of the church and the type of community they foster.

Programs Offered

If you are looking for community, knowing what programs the church offers is key. Some churches will just offer the basic ministries and services. Other churches may offer much more in-depth programs, Bible study groups, classes, and youth groups. Obviously, these are usually voluntary programs but it is nice to know that your church offers additional services.

Community Gatherings Offered

Finally, if you are really looking for community, you should find out what type of community events the church puts together. Depending on your faith, the church may have certain events for certain religious holidays or holidays in general. For example, you church may host a congregational potluck around Thanksgiving or have a special Christmas ceremony. Additionally they could have a church Easter egg hunt during Easter Sunday. All of these types of events will play a role in terms of how much of a community feel the church has.
About the author:

Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies and a contributes to the Christian Counseling of WPA blog.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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