Making a decision to join a Church might seem like an odd thing to do: “Aren’t they all irrelevant? Don’t they have lots of strange and outdated beliefs that you have to accept? With all sorts of rules that you have to follow? What if they don’t accept me for who I am?" For many people belonging to a Church is a vital and positive part of their lives. Church membership offers a supportive community, people with whom they hold shared values and links to a tradition and faith that goes back for over 2000 years. That is not to say that churches are stuck in the past; far from it.
Finding a church
To help you find a church that is right for you, you might want to consider:
- the type of congregation you want: younger, older, families
- the style of worship you want: traditional or modern
- whether the church has a children’s programme or youth group
Check out a church
You can get a taste of what a church is like by:
- checking out a church activity at a time that suits you (many churches run study groups in mid-week and daytime programmes for parents with small children etc)
- contacting a Minister to discuss the kind of church you’d like to be part of
- talking to a friend who goes to church
- attending a service in a non-traditional setting e.g. Cafe Church
- dropping in to a regular service
- checking out the Church on the web!
Visit parish websites
Find the church nearest you
If your local church doesn’t seem right for you, don’t give up! Some people travel long distances to go to a particular church because of the type of community they find there.
If you’ve never been to a church or you’re coming back after a time away, it can be useful to know what happens in a church service. Services have three basic parts:
- welcome and meditation (praying)
- the message or sermon (based on the Bible that links faith to current issues)
...and there is singing! Don’t worry if you’re not a good singer. Just give it a go!