The big church search
You’ve just started uni. You've unpacked your books, stuck up all your posters, you’ve figured out how to wash your clothes and cook some pasta. Life’s pretty much sorted, right?
Not quite! As Christians, we’re called to be part of a local church.
But church isn't just an add on or a required check box. The Bible teaches us that God’s plan for his church is immense! Church is the primary way that we will keep going as Christians, as brothers and sisters meet to spur one another on, and it’s the way that God choses to make his name known to the rest of the world. These are massive reasons! It’s a really exciting prospect that as you start uni, you are able to get involved with a local church that has these aims at the heart of what they do.
So where do you start on finding a church? Here are four ‘A’s to help you:
Ask: Why not ask your church leaders at home to recommend one? You could also get in contact with the UCCF Staff Worker in your new city and ask them to recommend some good churches. Finally, ask students you meet at CU. Lots of unis have a church search where freshers will get together and explore some different churches together. Make the most of that opportunity.
Attend: Try a couple of different churches. Don’t be put off by something you’re not used to, or a particular service. Attend a few things and give the church a chance to welcome you. Attend anything they put on for students and ask older students questions about the church.
Avoid: Avoid a consumer attitude where you might choose one church for its music or another for its teaching. It will inevitably make it harder to settle in properly. Avoid shopping around for the whole of your first year too. Give yourself a deadline: for instance, you could take stock after the first 6 weeks, and decide to commit to that church and get stuck in.
Ask again: Why not have some questions to ask yourself as you think about choosing a church? Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect church! Not all the answers will fit, but look for a church that answers the most important questions.
Here are a few important questions you might want to ask:
- Is the church faithful to the gospel? Is it committed to preaching the Bible and proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Saviour?
- Is the church committed to growing you as a Christian?
- Is the church excited about evangelism and supportive of the CUs in the city?
- Is the church obviously a Christian family who love and look out for one another, and welcome newcomers?
- Can you imagine feeling at home there, getting involved and serving practically?
Sarah Dargue is a former UCCF Staff Worker in London.