Local organization involvement is one of the best ways to become part of a new community after you move. Religious group affiliation is a vital component for nearly 80% of all Americans from an organization-based integration standpoint.
After you move, regardless of whether it’s to the next town over or across the country, you may experience difficulty finding a church home that feels as comfortable as the one you left. Below, we guide you through the process of finding your new church home after a move.
Set Your Criteria
Before you begin your search, think about and list out the criteria you want your new church to meet. Include baseline characteristics such as:
Denomination: Of course you want your new church to align with your religious beliefs and sect. Do you also have denominational preferences? For example, if you’re looking for a Christian church, would you prefer to worship with Baptists? Catholics? Non-denominational groups? And so on.
Logistics: What service times work best for you and your family? How far are you willing to travel to attend a service?
Opportunities: Were there any particular opportunities you had at your last church you’d like to pursue again? Certain churches may offer clerical positions, such as Sunday school teacher, or voluntary opportunities, like youth group leader.
Focus: Even if a church represents your denomination, its congregation may focus on one particular aspect of the faith. Do you prefer scripture-based sermons? Lessons applicable to daily life? A combination of the two perhaps?
Size: Large, grand halls or sanctuaries can evoke a feeling of wonder, while smaller settings offer warmth and intimacy. Decide which size most appeals to you.
Think about the aspects you liked most about your previous church and congregation, as well as what you wish could’ve been changed.
Attend Meetings of Several Local Congregations
Once you have a clear outline of your hopes and goals, do some basic internet and phonebook searches to find the times of several services near your new home.
If finding online or newspaper listings gives you a hassle, speak with your new neighbors about their religious worship habits. If you end up attending the same church as your newfound friend, you may have an easier time feeling at home in the congregation during your transition.
If possible, visit services at each prospective church. You may not be able to attend multiple Sunday services each week, so try to learn if the churches have mid-week activities or services.
Speak to the Leaders of the Congregations
Once you narrow your options down a bit, contact the leaders of each church. Preferably, you’ll want to meet with them in person but if that isn’t possible, speak on the phone as opposed to email. Get a feel for the relationship the pastor, rabbi, or imam has with his or her congregation.
Get the Opinion of Congregational Members
During your first meeting, introduce yourself to some of the other members-especially if you recognize people from your new neighborhood. While you may feel hesitant to reach out to strangers, building relationships with your fellow congregation members represents one of the best ways to determine how well you’ll fit in at a particular church.
Dive into the Doctrine of the Congregations
At this point, you can begin to discuss the church’s particular practices or doctrine. While learning more about each individual church’s doctrine may not help you make your final decision, knowing this information can help you eliminate any churches that do not align with your specific beliefs.
Doing you doctrine investigation may help you narrow down your search to one or two churches. Once only a few options remain, begin the process of trying to get involved in the congregation. Be mindful of how it feels to volunteer alongside other congregation members, participate in worship ceremonies, and attend regular meetings and services.
Keep an open mind if you haven’t made a firm decision before you get involved. It’s all right to move closer toward multiple churches to find the perfect fit.
It is very important to keep in mind that no church will feel exactly the same as your old one as you look for a new church home. Also remember that the right church will offer new experiences and opportunities for growth and spiritual discovery for you.
Are you anticipating a move that will require you to find a new church home? Stevens Worldwide Van Lines wants to help you! With Agents across the country, we can get you where you’re going with as little stress as possible. To get started, head to our home page and fill out the form for a free, in-home estimate!