Church Hunting: What Are We Looking to Find?

Church Hunting: What Are We Looking to Find? | June's Journal image 3

For one reason or another many people have at one point in their lives experienced a season of “church hunting,” searching for a church to attend.  So many people I know right now are doing exactly that, church hunting, and they’re hunting hard.  Some have even been searching for a few years now. It makes me seriously wonder a few things like:

  • What in the world are we all searching to find?
  • Does what we are searching for even exist?
  • Why does there seem to be an influx of people on this same quest?

Hi ho, hi ho, from church to church we go.

Like most persons when church hunting, I prayed for the Lord to direct my family to the church fellowship that is right for us. As we acknowlege Him in all our ways, I believe He will direct our path accordingly (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

I also believe that if there is a specific church where God wants us to be (or not to be), He will tell us directly, and that for the most part God leaves that preference up to us, as long as we choose a church that has solid bible-based teaching and worship.  Apart from those general guidelines, it seems to boil down to a personal preference because God gives us this little thing He calls free will.

I specify that He will tell us *directly* because you’d be amazed at how some folk who have already belong to a particular church believe that everyone is called to attend THEIR church.  If God’s plan is for me to attend someone else’s church, I’m sure He’d clue me in on it too and not just show that one person!   Of course it’s very natural for people to have pride in his or her own church, and to even believe that their church is the best option available.  But it sure can be daunting when folk try to push their personal convictions or church preferences onto others, as though all roads to heaven lead through their personal church experience.

Every church is not for everybody.

Every good idea or “God idea” for one person may not be a God idea for the next person.

Different strokes for different folks.

But back to the topic at hand!  I think what makes the church hunting even harder for parents is that some churches don’t have a children’s ministry, which could be a problem unless you have the vision and the drive to assist with starting a children’s ministry at a church where one is absent. 

On the other hand, some churches who do have a children’s ministry insist that parents use those services so that there are no interruptions (e.g., babies crying) during the adult church service.  This makes a lot of sense; however, churches would be wise to consider their approach, technique or method when informing parents that their children are not allowed in the service.  I know a few friends who were royally rubbed the wrong way with how a church goes about this procedure.  It can also be stressful to seperate a family who is merely visiting, forcing parents to hand over their little ones to perfect strangers or suggest they sit in an isolated room with their family and watch the service on television. The family might as well have stayed home!

Another thing more persons on the hunt seem to desire in a church fellowship is that the church is non-traditional. For example, a church where congregation members dress more casually, music that includes more than traditional hymns, more current or relavent topics and issues that are preached about, etc.

By the way, beware of church fellowships that want “you” to be the answer for anything you see that is missing; that is, unless you feel called to be that answer!  One church we visited did not have any other person in our same age group.  We were told to help change that by joining the church which would then attract others in our age group.  While it does sound “nice” for people to “be the solution” to the problems they point out or see in other churches, it’s not practical for the season that everyone is in. 

For example, we don’t want to join somewhere that doesn’t have our age group in hopes to attract others our age because we are not in a season where we want to do ministry and outreach. We are in a season where we need “sanctuary,” to be restored, a season of sitting and inward growing and reflection after a long burntout season of giving so much.  We need to be somewhere where things are already established.  If your family is in this season too, please beware of church plants.  Church plants (particularly in black church circles) seem to prey on you, pressuring you to join their fellowship because you’ve been “marked” to fill a certain position or role and this is often kept as a “hidden agenda” until you join. Then like a mighty rushing wind (or so it feels) you are pressured severely to lead this and lead that and help a number of programs and you can forget about the season of rest the Lord had spoken to your heart about.

Know what season you’re in.  This can also help determine what church you choose to attend reguarly.

You may even determine not to join or become a member of one specific church.  Uh oh, I just made the head on some people’s hair curl.  But if your family is about to relocate to another area, it may not make sense to join a new church right before uprooting from the area.

On the other hand, you just may decide church isn’t for you.  Now I made some people’s toe nails peel back!  But in all seriousness, many faithful Christians all over the world are leaving the institution or concept of “church” as we know today and are opting to “be” the church instead in more contemporary ways if-you-will, but in ways that actually align with God’s Word.  Remember, a church is people, not a building or a place. I go more in depth about this (not so new) idea in my blog review of George Barna’s book, The Revolution.”  (I’ll link to tihs soon after I have a chance to republish it.)

Some people are on a seemingly forever (and hopeless) quest to find a church  just like their old church that they liked so much in another state or other location.  Or maybe the church had a disaster hit and disbanned.  I attended a church once where I deeply loved the community, the worship, the preaching and the entire vibe, but only 4 or 5 yeras after I joined, the pastor skipped town with another woman and the church literally fell apart and eventually was torn down.

In other cases people may just simply never find what they are seeking because churches have changed so much.  Sadly, many are full of “corruption” if you will or perhas worse they lack genuine relationships and authentic support.

So this and other reasons could be why some people are searching for years. 

In other cases people may just simply never find what they are seeking because churches have changed so much.  Sadly, many are full of “corruption” if you will or perhas worse they lack genuine relationships and authentic support.

Overall, try not to become discouraged if you are currently searching for a church family or community to plug into or to call “home” so-to-speak.  Church hunting can even be a fun season and a season of family building as you go together as a family and experience different church fellowships.

Feel free to express your thoughts below!