Search for a Church: Repeat Visits

One of my resolutions  for 2017 is to “join (and be actively involved in) a local community of faith.”

Thankfully my recent experiences have helped prepare me to achieve this goal.  A few months ago I shared details of my visits to 34 different congregations.  Since that time, I have managed a few additional visits increasing the total to 36 congregations.

The following chart offers a detailed accounting of the number of my worship experience by number of visits and the number of churches that fell into each visit frequency.

Number of Visits Number of Churches
1 27
2 3
3 2
4 2
5 2


One and Done

75% of the time, a single visit provided enough data for to decide that no additional visits were needed in order to remove a community of faith from consideration.

Two or Three

Of the 25% of experiences that intrigued us enough to warrant a second visit, just over half fell into the grouping of two or three visits.  While first visits were typically preceded by a quick review of the church’s website, second visits included more preparation.  The first visit offered an opportunity to glimpse the community at worship.  Second and third visits provided additional worship experiences as well as opportunities to more fully understand the mission, vision, and culture of a congregation.

Four or More

Of the 25% of experiences that intrigued us enough to warrant a second visit, just under half fell into the grouping of four visits or more. By the fourth visit we had begun to feel comfortable in a given community of faith, and were ready to imagine what it might mean to join or to more fully commit to involvement that extended beyond attending worship.  These additional visits also enabled us to meet more people, more deeply engage in the life of the congregation, and interact with key leaders.

four-congregations-with-four-or-more-visits

So What?

My wife and I have learned that finding a community of faith that is a good fit for us is not as easy as it first appeared.

While there are many factors involved in making this decision that are important to me and that can be measured (at least to a degree), the final decision is a matter of discernment that can never be fully explained by a mathematical formula.

Thanks for your continued prayers, support and encouragement.

  • As my family prepares to move from visiting many congregations to deeper involvement in one or two, what recommendations or suggestions do you have for us?
  • Remembering the times you joined (or chose to be very actively involved in without joining) communities of faith, what did you find most helpful as a newcomer?

 

Comments

  1. Joe Martella says:

    I moved to Dallas from Philadelphia in 1990. A few years before that I moved my church membership from Roman Catholic to Lutheran (no explanation necessary). When I moved to Dallas I was challenged to find a Lutheran congregation similar to the one I left behind. While driving on 635 in North Dallas I noticed King of Glory’s bell tower (without a bell). I thought that any church with a bell is worth a look. My church in Philly (Gloria Dei in Huntingdon Valley) is a large congregation with a tower with 5 bells. So I pulled in to KOG’s parking lot, circled the building a couple of times (no, not 7 times) and decided to check it out the next Sunday I was in town. As it turned out, I joined that church, become involved with several ministries but best of all I met my future bride in the singles Bible study. No heavy metric analysis, visited only 1 other church, it was totally a “gut” feel which I interpreted as God’s voice. For various reasons we left KOG, returned a few years later and recently left again and are now members at a Methodist church in Mansfield.

  2. Joe, thanks for taking the time to share part of your story. I appreciate that your journey has covered significant geography – both geographically and theologically. And, of course, I give thanks that our paths overlapped significantly for a season. Blessings as you begin anew in a church near your home.

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