Silly Question but How do I Start?

Zeknichov

Pigeon
I have never been to church in my life. I grew up atheist. In the last year I just had this feeling that I've been living life wrong and something wasn't quite right. Something pushed me to explore religion and something just connected in my mind that God exists. I read the bible from start to finish for the first time (that was not easy btw). I started watching a lot of youtube videos from well respected Christians regarding Christianity. I have started making changes to my mindset, my morality and choices in life with noticeable positive changes to my well-being. I wish to take my faith in God further. I think it's time to go to a church and get involved in a community.

As I'm trying to figure this out, one thing holding me back is that there seems to be a billion churches, denominations, etc... In my limited online experience with Christianity, it seems the people I likely would associate best with and most respect their tutelage would be Traditionalist Catholics, maybe Orthodox or some Baptists. At the same time, I would appreciate the potential for church to be a community/social endeavor. Part of my journey to here has been because of all the immorality and degeneracy I've seen in the mainstream which IMO seems to be hurting myself and others at a much deeper level than people realize (the soul) which has led to me feel disconnected to modern atheist society built on sex, materialism and power. Having an opportunity to find a community of people who place importance on moral virtue and an objective one at that, would be nice.

My main silly question here is: how do I find a church that fits what I'm looking for? What should I even look for? The idea of going to a new church every Sunday seems like a bad one because how can I truly know from one sitting? Is what I'm looking for even a thing? Should I even be looking for what I think I want? What questions do I ask? Who do I talk to?

I'm definitely overthinking this as I always do but this is quite new to me so any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
 

Dr. Howard

Peacock
Gold Member
I have never been to church in my life. I grew up atheist. In the last year I just had this feeling that I've been living life wrong and something wasn't quite right. Something pushed me to explore religion and something just connected in my mind that God exists. I read the bible from start to finish for the first time (that was not easy btw). I started watching a lot of youtube videos from well respected Christians regarding Christianity. I have started making changes to my mindset, my morality and choices in life with noticeable positive changes to my well-being. I wish to take my faith in God further. I think it's time to go to a church and get involved in a community.

As I'm trying to figure this out, one thing holding me back is that there seems to be a billion churches, denominations, etc... In my limited online experience with Christianity, it seems the people I likely would associate best with and most respect their tutelage would be Traditionalist Catholics, maybe Orthodox or some Baptists. At the same time, I would appreciate the potential for church to be a community/social endeavor. Part of my journey to here has been because of all the immorality and degeneracy I've seen in the mainstream which IMO seems to be hurting myself and others at a much deeper level than people realize (the soul) which has led to me feel disconnected to modern atheist society built on sex, materialism and power. Having an opportunity to find a community of people who place importance on moral virtue and an objective one at that, would be nice.

My main silly question here is: how do I find a church that fits what I'm looking for? What should I even look for? The idea of going to a new church every Sunday seems like a bad one because how can I truly know from one sitting? Is what I'm looking for even a thing? Should I even be looking for what I think I want? What questions do I ask? Who do I talk to?

I'm definitely overthinking this as I always do but this is quite new to me so any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
Glory to God, that's great to hear that you are moving forward. What I did when I started looking for a church, was I just used google maps and looked up churches around me. I would watch a sermon recording from the church if it had one, then use that to decide if I wanted to go and sit for a sermon.

It will be awkward when you don't know all of the routines, but don't feel embarrassed. Old people there will likely ask you questions etc, they are just trying to be helpful.

Don't commit until you feel led to, take the time to learn and visit churches and you'll start to be able to figure out different denominations.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I would consider going to Church with a friend or family member who you know and who goes to one of these Churches you are considering. That way the person can introduce you to the process a little.

While I agree it might feel strange being a "Church hopper", it might also make sense to get started even in an imperfect way. Most priests or pastors will also make time and meet with you to talk to you, and you can find this through their website.

As a Catholic with a strong preference for latin mass, google latin mass in your city and go. Dress nice, sit near the back and just take it in. Don't go up for communion.

Think of a person who decides they want to go to the gym, there are many ways to do it - talk to a personal trainer, just sign up and use all the equipment wrong, get a friend/family member who is already working out to help you and you shadow them. I prefer the latter path.

At the same time I would pick up a Bible and read one of the Gospels - Luke is very easy to read. Also you can read the psalms which are prayers.
 

DanielH

Robin
Don't feel embarrassed, the people in church will be ecstatic you're there. If there's coffee hour afterwards, talk to the priest/pastor.

That being said, I'll advocate for the Orthodox Church. “The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It isn't non-denominational - it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the day of Pentecost 2000 years ago”

I converted recently to Orthodoxy from nothing as an adult last year, when I was baptized. When I first went to church I didn't even know the Lord's Prayer. But I made it work thanks to the help of some everyday saints. If you'd like to know more feel free to send me a message.
 

AnonymousBosch

Crow
Gold Member
I wish to take my faith in God further.
You don't have to 'figure it out' or ask the advice of strangers, and you definitely can't rely on any emotion-driven choices for choosing a church.

Spend some time talking directly to God in prayer. Talk to him like a friend. Tell him you're sorry for your past and want to live in obedience to His guidance, but, in your weakness and littleness*, you're unsure of where to start. Tell Him to lead you to where the true faith is still practiced in your community.

Then pay close attention to what is happening around you. He'll reveal his wishes to you through infused knowledge - you'll just understand where to go and what to do - though it will happen in His time, not yours.

----

* This is key. God wants you to rely on Him going forward, not yourself, and not rely on any notions of your own 'strength'. Everything you possess comes from Him, so there's no point making a home in someone else's nest. You've seen the kind of life following your own will resulted in.

Bless you.
 

Grey

Sparrow
Is there any particular church that is in your blood? That your grandfather or great grandfather was associated with? It is advantageous to go with a church that you are already in some way culturally familiar with.

A new Christian is supposed to have someone to disciple and lead them, it's not supposed to be something you have to do on your own. That person is supposed to lead you to their church. You don't have that so it's harder than normal.

If you want to pick brains about denominational differences there are a lot of people here that can give you good information, it's better to find someone to ask questions too personally, to narrow down the massive body of information out there.

Can you look up traditionalist Catholic mass in your area? Orthodox? Baptist?

Have you looked up Alpha courses? They're really simple and you're probably far beyond them, but they are a way to get inroads and meet people who know how to lead new believers. You could search for Alpha courses in your area, and odds are that you will find both a Catholic and Baptist one if you life in a city of any substantial size.
 

Max Roscoe

Kingfisher
Alpha courses. Yes I would highly recommend you at least visit and try it out. I really liked the personality and style of the pastor who created the program. Britbong Nicky Gumbel. You could probably watch a quick sermon of his online and see if you like him. A very kind soul and I can picture his warm smile now.

The Alpha program was designed as an introduction to Christianity, and it takes places at thousands of churches all over, and is focused on a video followed by discussion groups, food, and fellowship. I'm not a big fan of Protestantism but I do think this is a really good introduction to Christianity.
 

Grey

Sparrow
There are Catholic churches that do alpha courses as well. I don't know what alpha entails so I don't know if they have to modify anything or not.
 
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