Tips for Finding a Church
Every week we receive emails from people all around the country (and even around the world!) who want help finding a Bible-believing, Christ-centered church. Some are searching for a place where they can find out who God is. Some are moving to a new area and don’t know where to start. Randy Alcorn strongly believes that everyone benefits from being involved in a local church family.
Because we all have different needs and/or tastes in music, programs, and services, it’s really difficult to select a church for someone else. We would encourage you to begin to pray about which church God might direct you to. Ask Christian friends about the churches they attend, and visit with them. Search online to find church options in your area. Click to the links for these churches and see what you think. Sometimes you can listen to sermons online and look for a “what we believe” or “doctrinal statement” page. Call them, and ask specific questions about the ministries they offer that you may be interested in. Visit each for several weekends to get a feel for the atmosphere of each church before you decide. Commit to getting involved in your new church beyond just attending church on Sunday. Your investment will be rewarded as your knowledge and relationship with God grows.
We do have a limited referral list of churches that have ordered Randy’s books or study materials in the past, have been recommended by our staff or other friends of EPM, or that we’ve found doing online research for cities all around the country. Because we haven’t visited most of them personally, we can’t guarantee their biblical teaching. For those who wish, we can send a few recommendations that we hope might be good places to begin visiting and asking questions about. Just contact us with your zip code and any details about your preferences that may be helpful, such as specific ministries you are seeking or family needs. If we don’t have any churches on our referral list for your area, we can do some limited online research for you.
To do a complete search for yourself, you can start at www.google.com, enter your zip code and search. When it finds the map of your town, click on the map to open in Google Maps. Click the “search nearby” link. Type “church” in the search box, and Enter to search. You can then click “see results in list view” and it will show you a list with locations on the map. Click once on any church name to see more information. If the church has a website, click it to find their “what we believe” or “about us” pages. You can also narrow your search by entering “community church” or “Bible church”, etc. in the search. Be careful about narrowing it down too much, though, or you may miss churches that may not have the word “church” in their name (like “Solid Rock” or “Anthem”). Other online resources such as Sovereign Grace Churches or Church Angel may be helpful as well.
If you don’t have a denominational preference, Randy recommends looking for a non-denominational church. Even if you grew up attending a particular church denomination, we would encourage you to be open to a non-denominational option. Sometimes well-intentioned pastors and leaders of various denominational churches can become too focused on the doctrine and practices of their particular denomination, and become distracted from teaching the basic truths of God’s Word and from emphasizing salvation in knowing Jesus. Randy personally attends the non-denominational church where he was a founding pastor in 1977.
When you do find a new church home, please contact us to let us know! We always like to hear personal recommendations that we may pass on to others who may inquire about churches in your area.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)