Finding a new home church is a challenge, but it's so worth it. During the first month of my freshman year, I was at new church every Sunday. It was sometimes a little disheartening when my friends said they really liked a church and I didn't. But that's okay. Finding a church you feel like you can attend on a weekly basis and be in community with is so important. I was "church-hopping" and looking for a new church family away from home. I visited some of the most popular churches among Biola students, but I felt like that's not where God was calling me to be. The more weeks that went by, the more my friends started to find their home church, and I became worried that I was being too picky.
One weekend when I was thinking that I just wanted to take a break from visiting churches and have alone time with God, my friend asked me if I wanted to come visit a church plant that was happening in someone's backyard. I agreed, mainly because I thought it'd be cool to go to a church plant in someone backyard. I mean, why not? So I went, and I've been going to that church ever since. After about a month or two, the church plant outgrew the backyard and moved into a bigger facility in Fullerton. This church has been one of my biggest blessing during my time at Biola. And, with this long intro aside, here are three tips for finding a home church!
- Theology - I don't know how many theological opinions you have about things (I know I didn't have too much of it before coming to Biola), but there were definitely a few things that I firmly believed in. You shouldn't go to a church where you disagree with what the pastor is preaching. Sure, you might not agree with everything; no church is perfect, but a church's theological values will shape the sermons, community, and structure.
- Community - I can't stress how important my church community has been to me. They've poured into me, encouraged me when I was down, and walked with me through all my highs too. I love seeing and being with these people on a weekly basis. I love seeing them around Biola and being able to catch up with them, even if only for a second.
- Serving - How does a church serve the community and neighborhood it's in? Does it serve abroad too? Is there place for church members to serve the church as well? Service allows us to humble ourselves and put others' needs before our own. It teaches us how to love those who are different than us and helps the church become united as the body of Christ.
Well, those were my quick tips for finding a church. Of course there are more aspects like church size, what worship time looks like, and maybe what time the service starts. But as always, if you have any questions, just let me know and I'd be happy to answer!