As Christians, we know it is important that we gather together with other believers, but at some point, we might begin to feel the desire to find a new church home. Regardless of which church we decide to attend, it is so important that we keep front and center in our hearts that Christ is the head of His church and He is who we need to please. You can read more about that by clicking part 1 here: “Things to look for in a new church”
When you have reached the point that you feel God is preparing to move you, you can begin the research process needed to start your church search. You can certainly go to a new church without researching it first, but God tells us to carefully weigh our options and count the cost before moving forward things (Luke 14:28). You can read more about that process in part 2 in this series: “How to choose a new church home”.
After you have found the church you believe God has led you to, you need to make the commitment to become a part of your new church home. Not just sitting in the pews but intertwining your life with those of your church family. You don’t have to commit to being there every time the doors are open but you need to commit to being there to bless others and to receive from the teaching. My prayer is that you will not only find the church God has blessed you with but that you will desire to walk alongside your new Christian brothers and sisters and be a blessing as you see the beautiful gift that a new church family can be.
So, how do you go about getting involved in your new church home?
1. Rest at the feet of Jesus
You might need to catch your breath before jumping into all the activities and opportunities that make your new church your new home. Allowing your mind, body, and soul to renew itself at the feet of Jesus isn’t being lazy or selfish. It is necessary for everyone to do time to time. So don’t let yourself feel bad about simply sitting in the pew and receiving for a time.
“and he said to them: Come apart into a deserted place and rest a little. For there were many coming and going, and they had not so much as time to eat.” (Mark 6:31 DRA)
How much time you need to refresh your spirit is between you and God but don’t let weeks turn into months and months into years. Give yourself a period of time to absorb, worship, and get to know how your church functions a little better. After your period of rest, start looking at ways you might want to step out and be involved.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)
2. Get out of your own head
During this process of new growth, one of the best thing you can do for yourself is to get out of your own head. You can easily get trapped in your thoughts. A surefire way to get out of your own head is to focus on God’s words instead of your own thoughts. I know from experience that being told to get out of your own head is easier said than done. For years I had a quote taped to my monitor that said: “Don’t believe everything you think.”
When your focus is stuck on your own thoughts, you miss things going on around you. You start to think that you are the only one who feels a certain way or you are the only one who does this one thing. You can get so wrapped up in your own thinking that you become the problem (for example, not realizing the person beside you has been trying to catch your eye to introduce themselves. In your mind, everyone at this new church is just so unfriendly!).
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105 KJV)
3. Talk to people
Most people wait for others to make the first move. So pick someone to smile at and be the first to say hello. You can easily do this while waiting in line to pick up your kids from kid’s church or while standing in the hall waiting for a loved one to come out of the bathroom.
Not good at small talk? Most of us aren’t. You are simply trying to get to know them a bit better, not get their life story or give them yours. Although you are looking for things you might have in common, start with a simple “how are you” or “what did you think of today’s teaching?” or even “how has your summer been going?”.
We look at others and assume that if they don’t speak to us first, they don’t want to know us. But that is probably untrue. Maybe they are new and don’t know anyone yet either. Or maybe they have been there a while and are a bit shy. Don’t assume (remember, this is why you need to get out of your head!).
Don’t forget to take a moment to speak with the pastor or church leadership. Most good pastors want to get to know their sheep. Introduce yourself if you haven’t already and ask them brief questions about the sermon or something else they might have mentioned from the pulpit (like a recent vacation or an upcoming service project). If you feel you need a more in-depth chat, set up a time to meet with them. Remember, there are others wanting to chat with them too.
4. Participate and get involved
When there are events going on at your new church, attend. An occasional fellowship dinner or special gatherings are great ways to be a part of your new church. Also make an effort to find a Bible study, small group, class, etc…to be involved in.
If you check with the church, you will be able to find something that is of interest and will help you grow at the same time. An added bonus is that any of these are great to get your feet wet and meet a small number of people without pressure.
“Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14 WEB)
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38 WEB)
Find ways to bless others. There are needs that can only be met with your special abilities (1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4:10). Volunteer in an area that will align with your gifts. God will use and bless whatever gift you are willing to offer whether it involves a lot of time or a little time.
Call the church office and ask where they need volunteers. Every church, no matter their size, needs volunteers. Just remember, asking doesn’t mean you are committing. When you find an area that interests you, take time to pray about this commitment. Just because you are now in the church God wants you it doesn’t mean you should stop seeking his direction.
If you feel led to help in the teen discipleship class, find out how to volunteer. The leader may have been praying for someone to help and will appreciate your taking the initiative to step up.
“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27 KJV)
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24 KJV)
Things to think on…
Take baby steps to get involved in your new church but don’t rush the process. Everyone’s journey will look different and yours doesn’t have to look like your neighbors. Seek God first before seeking to use your ministry gifts, make friends, volunteer or anything else. Your relationship with God needs to be your primary concern.
Don’t try to get involved in everything at once. That is too overwhelming and will burn you out quickly. You need time to build your relationship with your new church and those around you. As you get more comfortable you can easily add to what you are doing but taking things step by step really is the way to go.