Although 50% of the population of the United States belongs to a church, not everyone attends their church regularly. The number of young people who belong to a church is also considerably lower than the percentage of older adults. This decline is one of the reasons why over 6,000 churches shut down in the US each year.
Church closures are just one of the many reasons that those who value church membership may find themselves seeking a new congregation. Others include relocating or having theological differences with the church leadership. The reason for seeking a new church may impact what you’re looking for when choosing a new place of worship, but there are many other factors to consider when church shopping.
Some churches have several services each week. This is something that may appeal to those who have a job that involves shift work. Nurses and firefighters may not always be able to get to church on a Sunday morning. The ability to attend services on Saturday evenings or mid-week may also be an important feature for college students who regularly go home on weekends or those who travel often. You may also want to find a church with a good youth program if you have teenagers.
You may be looking for a new church because you have relocated. Proximity to your new home may be one of the factors you consider. There are also other location-based considerations. If you need to take public transit you will want to consider how easy it is to reach the church from your residence. Will you need to walk several blocks or make multiple transfers? Those who are driving may also consider whether or not the church has sufficient parking. Downtown churches may have a lack of available parking for members to use.
There are churches with small congregations of dozens of people. There are also churches that have thousands of members. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The important consideration here is that you find a church that is a size you feel comfortable with. Introverts may find it difficult to navigate large crowds. Extroverts may feel that a small congregation doesn’t offer them enough interaction.
A common reason that people leave churches is that they don’t feel welcome. Strong leadership will ensure that there are people who make an effort to greet newcomers and provide vital information about the church and the services offered. This is one way the church can demonstrate professionalism. Others include the church supplies used to produce notices and decorate rooms. Before donating to a church you may want to consider if the church is spending money wisely while also taking the time to create a respectful atmosphere.
Many churches have a bulletin board outside the building. This can convey the church’s tone. Boards that regularly display jokes may suggest a more relaxed environment, which may or may not appeal to you. It is a good idea to attend at least one service before making a decision to ensure that you feel comfortable with the atmosphere.
You may want to attend a church where you can dress casually or you may prefer a church where people wear formal attire. Some churches offer a different approach for different services so you may want to attend different services in the same church before deciding if any appeal to you.
Churches are grappling with many issues today. Changing societal views about sexual orientation and gender issues have caused both churches and denominations to split. It is important to review the church’s statement of doctrine and familiarize yourself with what that specific denomination believes. You want to ensure that you agree with what the church is advocating and that you feel the church accurately represents your personal beliefs.
Churches are public places of worship. People can attend services without even sharing their name. Ideally, every person who is attending services is there to learn about God and attempting to live a good life. Unfortunately, some people may use churches as a way of identifying vulnerable members of the community. Use public records and background check services such as golookup to find out about church attendees who may have ulterior motives for attending services.