You want to go to church, but you simply haven’t done it yet. The Christians you know are different – they’re kinder. They apologize when they’re wrong. They show up to help out when you need it. They seem authentic. They’ve made you curious about church.
You’ve figured out that not everyone who says they’re a “Christian” actually appears to be one. There’s a wide degree of difference among people who claim to follow Jesus. Still, you’re curious.
Maybe you’ve felt God tugging at your heart. You’ve gone through something that you know requires God’s help, but you’re not sure what to do or where to turn.
Then there’s Jesus himself. You really like him. Who doesn’t, right? Everything about Jesus is compelling. You’re curious, so you want to go to church to find out more.
Maybe you’ve been invited. But you haven’t gone, because you’ve never been to church before, and you don’t want to feel awkward or out of place.
Or perhaps you simply want to go on your own, but you’re not sure how.
I wrote this for you.
You want to go to church, but you haven't done it yet. Maybe you've been invited, or you simply want to go. But you've never been to church before, and you don't want to feel awkward or out of place. Here's what to do. Click To Tweet
How to attend:
The days and time of the church service are usually broadcast publicly, often on a billboard or flags outside, maybe on their website. At that time, you can walk right in with all the other people flocking toward the building, just like you’d go into a movie theater. But no ticket or invitation is ever needed.
People will usually greet you at the door, but not always. They might offer you a piece of paper or a pamphlet that will provide information you may need during the service. Go ahead and take it. It may help you follow along.
If you’re shy about these greeters, just nod and walk on by. That’s perfectly fine.
An usher might be there to help you be seated, but maybe not. All churches are different. If there’s an usher, let that person seat you. If not, sit wherever you want.
Once seated, you don’t need to talk to anyone. But, on the other hand, if the people around you are friendly, want to shake hands, and converse, and you’re the talkative type, go right ahead. If you’re an introvert, simply smile.
The behavior of the people at the church helps you decide if you want to return. Sit and observe. Only you know where you feel comfortable.
Things that might occur:
There will be prayers and songs. How many and the style of music varies from church to church. Participate as you feel comfortable. There may be something that touches your heart in these.
There may be an offering taken where a basket of some type is passed around the room. This is how a church gathers donations from members to pay the pastor, take care of the building, and other expenditures. Feel no need to put anything in that basket. Just pass it on by. No one will notice.
Someone will stand up to present a message from the Bible. These vary in length. Listen. Notice what parts move you or confuse you. Jot down any questions you have.
If a friend invited you, ask them these questions later. If you’re there alone, after the service ask anyone nearby. They’ll either help you, or they’ll guide you to someone who can. You could also simply come back the following week to see if the subject is discussed again.
At the end, there are usually more songs and prayers. Then the service will end, and everyone will filter out of the room. You can do whatever makes you comfortable. Talk to those around you, or head straight for the door.
Once home, talk to God. Ask him to show you what to do. He wants to help you with this decision. Return the next week, if you feel comfortable with this church. Otherwise, visit a different one. Find the place where you fit. A church is like a family.
Growing up, my husband didn’t attend church. He wasn’t comfortable with steeples, stained-glass windows, and fancy clothes at church, so we attended a more laid-back church that met in schools, public buildings, and homes. There are many of these. They post signage of some type outside the building at the time of the service.
Here are some good resources to help you find a church near you. These are what we used when we relocated across the country recently. I hope all of this helps.
How to find a good church:
Five Things to Look for in a New Church: click here.
Acts 29 churches – These meet in both public buildings and also in church buildings.
9-Marks churches – These usually meet in their own church buildings.
The Gospel Coalition Directory – This contains churches of both types.