Finding a Home Church
You’ve moved to a new area, away from friends and family. You loved the church you attended and you miss your church family, but the drive is just too far.
Or the church you were attending is closing its doors.
Or the church that you were attending is starting to make concessions that seem to compromise what it says in the Bible and you no longer feel that you can be a part of that church as a result.
Or you have recently given or redevoted your life to Jesus but do not yet attend any church on a regular basis.
Whatever the story, there are times when folks find that they need to find a new home church. Many of the individuals and families who now attend Olive Branch Baptist Church have similar stories to tell.
We would be delighted to have you as part of our family, and we invite you to get to know us. But if we are not the right fit--or if you stumbled across this page and live nowhere near Rostraver--we want to also help you find a home church that is right for you and your family. This page is not about selling you on our church. Instead, it is about some of the things you can do and should consider as you look for a church to attend regularly.
The Importance of a Home Church
Christian fellowship is extremely important. As a Christian, you need a family to support and guide you in your walk with God. It is a difficult path to take. On the journey, fellow believers provide encouragement, comfort, and teaching and they help hold you accountable.
Finding a home church means being a part of a family. Members of that family may not always agree with each other. But we need each other. It is our job to build each other up and to work together to minister and reach out to the world.
There is comfort in being among fellow believers. And fellow believers also help you to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible and how to live a Christian life.
Having a home church means developing deeper relationships with fellow believers and setting down roots from which to grow as a Christian.
At Olive Branch, we are happy to be Baptists, but we are Christians above all else. And Christians, no matter what denomination, are all part of the body of Christ.
Denominations are the outgrowth of differences of opinion about certain aspects of Christianity. Some of the differences are more significant than others. And some of those differences are deemed to have more significance in some denominations.
When examining a denomination, take a look at whether it holds true to the teachings of the Bible. To be a Christian denomination, they need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came to Earth in human form and was 100 percent God and 100 percent man. They should believe that Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins, rose again, and ascended into Heaven. If they only believe that Jesus was a good man, but not God, or if they believe that He didn’t really die, there is a problem.
The denomination should also believe that an individual cannot save himself or herself through merely being good or doing good--instead, salvation comes from accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Good living should be the natural next step from there, but we cannot save ourselves through works.
Questions to Ask
Evaluate a church first on whether it holds true to the teachings of the Bible and is truly a Christian church.
Then look at the aspects that make it part of a particular denomination. Do you agree with--or can you at least live with--these practices? What aspects are most important to you?
Finally, look at that individual church: the people, the teachings, the service it does in the community. Is the church alive or dead? Is it merely a social club? Is it working for Jesus Christ? Is it a deeply divided church? Is it applying what the Bible says?
Those are very important questions that test doctrine and the health of the church. However, there is another level to finding a home church. And once you have determined whether that church has sound teaching, it is a fair question to ask: Do I feel comfortable here? Am I going to want to come on a regular basis? Am I going to grow as a Christian here?
It is okay to ask all of these questions.
It can take a while to find a church that really allows you to grow. And it can be a very draining process.
For many of us, walking into a church full of strangers is scary. You don't know exactly where to go or what the service routine is. You feel out of place. You wonder how people will react to you--will they ignore you? Glare at you for sitting in their pew? Smother you with their excitment to have fresh faces in the pews?
This is where the internet is a blessing. It allows you to scout out churches from a safe distance and eliminate some possibilities without walking into a church building.
Several of the folks who now attend Olive Branch Baptist Church discovered us through our webpage. We have seen this trend and have tried to design our site so that it gives as much information as possible to make you feel like you know what you are getting into and ensure you feel at home if you do decide to come visit us.
Many churches post sermons online. These are a great resource for testing doctrine as well as your comfort level with that particular church.
A Word of Caution
There are times when it is absolutely a good idea to change churches. For example, when the church you are attending is teaching something that goes against what the Bible says. But be careful, too. If you are changing churches regularly, this can be disruptive to your growth as a Christian.
Changing churches should always be accompanied by prayer and deep consideration. It may be helpful, too, to talk to your current pastor about what is bothering you.
As Christians, we are in this together to support and love one another. Our prayer for you is that you may you make decisions that are guided by the Holy Spirit and based in the Bible and that you may find the peace of God and draw closer to Him.