My family and I have recently begun to look for a new church home. I won’t go into the reasons we left our previous church except to say that we just did not “fit” there. So now we have to find a church where we do “fit”. It is proving to be more difficult that you might expect. There are a few reasons for this.
First, unless you have a change of life circumstance (such as moving for a new job) you are probably leaving as a result of some problem. The problem may be with you or with the church. As a result, there are probably some frustrations or hurt feelings to overcome. If not dealt with these will hinder most of us, at least for a while, in the search for a new church home.
Second, many churches are structured and function very similarly to every other church in your area. This similarity can be a strength but it can also be a weakness. So when you visit a new church, especially within the same denomination, you are likely to be very familiar with what is going on there. What are you to do if one of the reasons you are leaving is the “traditional” structure? For example, lets assume that one of the reasons you are leaving your current church is the emphasis on a person’s decision (decisional regeneration) in the way the altar call is done. If every other church you can choose to attend does it the same way then you really have no options. This would contribute to the frustration you have.
Third, everybody has personal preferences in some things. For example, some prefer a certain style of music in the worship service. Some prefer a certain style of preaching or a particular Bible translation. It is common to hear someone say something like “I won’t go to a church that does contemporary music” or “I won’t go to a church that does not use the King James version of the Bible”. So, in the search for a new church you want to find one that fits most of your preferences. These preferences are important but should not be the sole cause for rejecting a church. Placing these types of limitations on the search for a suitable church may cause God’s will to be missed.
Fourth, sometimes there are other factors in the search for a new church. For example, some have children so they are looking for a church with a biblically sound and vibrant youth and children’s program. There are many good and healthy churches that may have a small number of kids. They do a good job with the kids they have but there are just not many of them. Bigger is not always better but bigger does usually mean more opportunities / activities.
All of these factors apply in my personal situation. There may be other factors that would apply to you. None of these should outweigh God’s will in our decision. The problem comes when we look at these factors and try to filter God’s will through them. This should never be the case. I see nothing wrong with keeping these factors in mind while looking for where God wants you to end up but they must be put in their proper place.
Are you currently or have you been looking for a new church home? If so, what factors are you considering that I have not mentioned here. Leave a comment and let me know what they are…chances are other will have the same or similar ones.