For many students, going off to college will be the first time that they’re responsible for choosing their own church. This can be a daunting task, but here are some tips:
Consider the attributes of the church you grew up in.
If you liked the church you grew up in and agreed with the doctrine, see if there are any churches of that denomination in the area. If not, you can look for churches that have similar doctrine. For example, I grew up in the Evangelical Covenant Church and there are no churches like that in Siloam; however, I’ve been able to find churches that are similar to that denomination here. Most churches post their statements of faith on their websites, making it easy to examine church doctrine before Sunday morning.
Research other denominations.
On the other hand, you might consider your home church and decide that you want something different. In this case, you need to research other denominations. It’s important to know where a denomination stands on issues that are important to you. This is pretty simple—you can research denominations by talking with people you know who adhere to specific denominations, or you can look online to see what particular denominations usually believe. It can be helpful, if attending a school like JBU, where professors often have personal relationships with students, to ask a professor where they attend and why.
Think about numbers.
In addition to doctrine, you might also consider the size of church you want to attend. Do you find you’re more engaged in a small church or a large church setting. Another thing to consider is the balance of worship and sermon. Some people will get more out of a sermon while others really connect to God through music. Are there ways you can serve and engage with the community?
Take into account transportation.
If you attend John Brown University, there are several churches that provide free transportation to and from church. This can help if you don’t have a vehicle.