Being a part of a church family is important to my husband and I. We want to be connected, be filled with His Word and grow in community. And we’ve learned (the hard way) what being disconnected does to our lives and our family.
But it can be hard to church shop. Hopping from church to church can be exhausting, and while I look forward to visiting a handful of new congregations, I wouldn’t want our list to be too long.
Related: Stress of selling your home got you down? Here are 6 scriptures to help
So Mi Amor and I sat down this weekend to really nail down what we wanted: what is non-negotiable or deal breakers, what we hope for and what we can live with/without. It’s a tough list – we loved our last church and were plugged into the men and women’s ministries, not to mention how much our toddler loved going every Sunday too. But I know in my heart we will find that again…and I’m excited to do that!
I know there are many out there that move often and find themselves in a season of searching. Hopefully these tips can help you settle and grow in your new community. And I pray you can keep a positive outlook through the whole process.
Related: Walking out in faith: How radical obedience changed my life
How to find a new church after a move:
Make a list. Just like us, figure out what you need, want and cannot live without. Also decide what is negotiable. Make a list just like you did when you were home shopping – it may sound absurd but it will be so helpful! For us, a children’s ministry is a must, while we are very hopeful for men and women’s ministries too.
Spend some time Googling. Search “churches near me” – or be very specific, “non-denominational churches near me” or “baptist churches near me.” I personally like near me vs. the town because it can pick up additional churches you may not find otherwise. If you have time, search both – you’ll usually get different listings for near me vs. your town.
Ask around. You may not know anyone, so Facebook groups and Nextdoor are great options. I did a search in our neighborhood’s Facebook group and a mom’s Facebook group before asking and there was a wealth of knowledge there where we could make a comprehensive list based on the comments and suggestions.
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Once you have your list…
Do some church intel. Read through the church’s websites, read reviews and do some Facebook stalking. We always thoroughly review a church’s mission and look for certain keywords (discipleship is important to us) and also words to avoid.
Watch their sermons online. You will get an excellent idea of the service style, sermon messages and size of congregation. We all have our own preferences and this is an excellent way to determine if the church matches (or doesn’t) some of your core values.
Make a schedule and start visiting. We added the top five churches to our calendar and started down the list. It is so important to visit in-person before making a definitive decision. One thing I have learned in our past experience finding a church, all the research in the world isn’t enough until you set foot in the church and meet the people behind the doors. While I know that church is more than the people, the building or even the pastor, you have to be comfortable in the space and want to building community. That is why so many options and styles exist!
Once you start visiting…
Take note of your core values. You’ve already noted what is important to you, so take note as you visit the churches. If a lively worship is important, how was it? How were the other people worshiping? How were you greeted? If you are married, were there other married couples? If you have children, how was the children’s ministry, the volunteers and how did your kiddo(s) like it after service? Jot or make a mental note of all these things, I promise you will appreciate your notes later when narrowing down your list!
Visit a second time. Before you get connected or make a final decision, visit at least one more time. We’ve left churches after our first impression was totally off. And, as horrible as it is to admit, we dismissed our last church a year before actually attending (and LOVING) because of a silly reason: they met in a gym. I couldn’t get past that, but later learned that it was because they made the decision to meet in the building they already had instead of having a capital campaign and asking for tons of money when the space was already available. Isn’t that amazing??? I hated myself a little inside for that decision.
Talk to other church members. Ask questions, make conversation, get a feel for why they attend. It not only gives you an insight into the church itself, but opens up that community I talked about earlier. It is so easy to remain anonymous, and even though we have done that too, it is not the purpose of church! Getting connected, serving, being discipled and discipling others, will ultimately grow you, your family and those you interact with. It is the way that we (the church) will reach others.
And through the entire process: PRAY.
This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. Praying will open the communication with God to plant you exactly where you are intended to be.
Related: How to start a prayer journal + free printables
And I’m happy to pray for you too – just send me a message me and I’d love to add you to my prayer journal.
17 thoughts on “How to find a new church after a move”
This is great! We moved recently, and need to find a new church…so glad I ran across this post! Thanks for sharing these tips, I’ll put them to use!
Hi Erica, I am so glad it can help! Figured since we did all the work it was worth sharing! Praying we both find our home churches soon.
These are such good pointers to consider. I haven’t moved recently but have been wanting a church and had no clue how to start! This would work for people wanting to find a church even without moving!
Hi Stephanie, you are absolutely right! Before we were Christians we did many of these things (except watching sermons since we were clueless). I’m glad it can help in your search!
I love this! Being military means moving a lot. In the past 3 years I’ve lived in 5 different towns, 5 different churches. Luckily bases have one, but it’s not always my cup of tea. I love these steps to find your home, it will definitely make the next move a bit easier on us!
I can’t even imagine, Makenzie! Thank you and your family for your service. I hope this helps take some stress off your next move.
This is a great list! Church is so important to so many families. My husband and I often talk of the churches we attended when we were younger. Its so important to find the right one. My experiences were not very positive. His were. He had a church with much more community and involvement. That is something that would be important to us.
Thank you, Lisa! We have mixed experiences as well and thankfully know exactly what we are looking for. But sometimes we are surprised by what God has planned 🙂
Never read a post with actual step by step on how to choose a church, yet so many people are often looking for churches. Thank you for writing this!
Thanks for your comment, Isabel! I hope it can help anyone looking for a church as it has helped us as we select our new church family!
We actually decided not to move at one point because we didn’t want to leave our church family. I hope we never have to, but if we do then I will come back to this wonderful advice. Thank you!
I totally understand that! I pray we find a church that we feel this way about soon!
So great! As an Army family, we move every couple of years and “church shopping” is always one of the first things we do. Often, even before we look for a house. Blessings to you and your new church home!
Thank you, Liz! I can’t imagine how hard it is to church shop every few years. Thank you and your family for your service!
Hello Lisa, great advise! We moved to New Braunfels 18 years ago and pretty much went through a home church search for 6 months until by default and I know He had His hand on this. I was invited to Tree of Life Church (non-denominational), being Catholic you can imagine our reluctedness. We attended out of courtesy and that was the end of our search.
Hi Susan, thanks so much for sharing! Thankfully we know God has it all under control and are enjoying meeting amazing people through the entire process. I’ve heard great things about Tree of Life, we will have to check it out! My husband was Catholic growing up so he can relate to your sentiments 🙂
Hi Lisa, I’m grateful for your advice about making a list or browse the internet. I will advise the same thing to my brother who has just moved into his new house. He’s been promoted and needed to be relocated. they’re now looking for a Christian church where they can attend to every Sunday. Cheers!