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I thought I would post this here, rather in general chat, where things get a bit more....heated.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but my newlywed wife and I are looking for a church to start attending, and really don't know where to begin.

The two of us are really looking for a nice christian church, but not one that is too conservative. Can someone possibly point me to a web site that shows the different attitudes/viewpoint differences in different church organisations? Such as, the difference between a baptist, a methodist, and a pentocostle? We both believe in god, and view the bible as a valuable lesson book for living a good life. She was raised going to bethel baptist, but does not care for it, and I was raised more on " live right and learn what you can from the bible" rather than any sort of organised religion. Opinions on this please?

Thanks all.
 

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Start by reading the New Testament and become familiar with it.

Visit churches of different denominations...listen to the sermons and decide which one you think comes closest to the actual teachings of the New Testament.

I was raised Catholic, but became a Southern Baptist in my 20s. I also found the Nazarene church to be pretty close to biblical teachings as well.

But you gotta start with the bible, so that you'll know what's what.
 

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Good advice, always start with the Bible, AND with prayer. Visit around, even if you choose a church and later decide it's not right for your family, at least you'll be around others for fellowship. I don't go to a church because of the denomination, but because of the teaching and the fellowship. Right now we attend an Evangelistic church, I didn't even know that was a denomination until we found it. But the teachings are close to my understanding of the Bible. One thing I've learned, there is no church that you'll agree 100% with their doctrines, but make sure they are teaching the Bible and you'll be ok. :)
 

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Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK
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It seems to me that a whole lot of people choose a church based upon things like the pastor, the music, the socialization. Hmmm.

I was raised in good old-time religion, I call it. Later on, as an adult, I became a Catholic, but I still attend some of the other type of church services at times. I can see the value in all.

Actually, I found that the catholics follow the Bible more closely.

I get a kick out of my young-adult son. He told me he's going to attend every church in his little town and whichever one has the prettiest girls, he'll join. Oh well...the Lord works in mysterious ways. LOL

I'd say "Let the Spirit lead you"...you'll know where you two feel loved, and that's the best part.
 

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Can't really add to that...you have gotten very good advice. One thing I will share is a lesson I learned the hard way years back: Remember that church is a place to worship God and learn more about His Word and fellowship w/ other believers. I got caught up in the social/political aspect for awhile and was miserable. Of course, I didn't have such great advice (as you have here) when I started out. I know now that if I would have STARTED w/ prayer and looking for a New Testament-modeled church, things would have very different.

Rachael

BTW...there is a book about all the different religions and what they believe, what their worship style is, etc. Can't remember the name, though.
 

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I am completly satisfied with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.Visit the elca.org web site to find a congregation in your area.I would also make an appointment and have a visit with the Pastors of several different local congregations.They will gladly give you an overview of their denomination.
 

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Have to agree with everyone about reading the Bible first/ praying and then look for a church that teaches what the Bible says, not what you think you want to hear BUT what the Bible teaches.

Bill grew up in a foursquare church(pentacostal) and I grew up in a conservative Christian church. Big gap there, and trying to find something for both of us has been difficult. Thru our many moves with the military, we always seemed to gravatate to Baptist churches. He's retired now and we've been here 8 yrs and just this past April we have finally found a church home, in a Free Will Baptist church.

You may have to visit a 100 to find your 1. Just keep trying.
 

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Electron, I feel for you as we know this is a tough process.

Excellent advice from others:

- Read the New Testament at a realistic pace - ie, a chapter or so every day. Start in James or John maybe?
- Churches are known for their fruit so visit and watch for loving, friendly people. There's a balance here because churches are also just gatherings of imperfect people living together in God's grace
- Meet the pastor and ask to spend some time with him, asking for a general view of the mission of the church.

Unfortunately, you don't know much about a church until you attend for months and sometimes years.

Most of all, don't expect perfect people. Expect/seek a church that teaches out of the Bible, is clearly about loving God and loving people and is open to suggestions from the people of the church. Plural leadership is also very important to us - ie, an eldership or board, not just one man that makes all the decisions.
 

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If music is an imprtant part of your church experience find one that uses a piano for its music. I can't stand organs. They rob the rythmn and melody from the singers.
 

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My wife has tried out more churches than anyone I've ever met. None have really fit the bill exactly for her, so she keeps trying.

She'll go to one for a while, and enjoy the sermons, singing, and "feel" of it, then discover a bunch of backstabbing, hypocrite mean spirited people that frequent it. The proof is in the pudding, and if that is the sort of person a church produces, then all of the nice singing is just a front for the same-old, same-old.

The last one she tried, she loved at first. I went to a function with her and met the people, and they sort of creeped me out. Later on, she found out that the pastor's wife was spreading rumors about one of the parishiners and generally being "un-Christian". DW was shocked, I wasn't surprised.

She was raised Jewish, and turned Christian in her 20's. These days, she's looking favorably on the local Mormon church because it seems to adhere to biblical teachings and everyone she meets from it (that particular church) seems to really live what they preach.

Just for fun, try taking the quiz at this website and see what denomination fits your personal beliefs:

Beliefnet Faith-O-Matic quiz
 

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Why not see if your belief fits the bible first. If you are just looking for somewhere to go to agree with you, you can find any old website that will do that... Heck there are even people who made up the spaghetti monster and they hang out and (i suppose) get some gratification out of at least mocking others if not really worshiping God.

But if you really want to know what God thinks, read your bible.

First the book of John, then the book of Romans. It will help you out tremendously.

You're much better off to find out what God says about believing in him and limiting all the church hopping and church hoping.

Usually folks that hop from church to church to church are putting more faith in man than God and they will ALWAYS be sorely disappointed. You'll find the perfect church when you find perfect people. The church IS the people.
 

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ZealYouthGuy said:
...But if you really want to know what God thinks, read your bible.

First the book of John, then the book of Romans. It will help you out tremendously.

You're much better off to find out what God says about believing in him and limiting all the church hopping and church hoping.

Usually folks that hop from church to church to church are putting more faith in man than God and they will ALWAYS be sorely disappointed. You'll find the perfect church when you find perfect people. The church IS the people.
I don't know if going from church to church is putting more faith in man than God like I think you are saying. It's more like looking for a community that shares the same values as you have. The thing that all churches have in common is that they exist for people to come together to worship God, the differances are in the details of HOW they do it. Some folks sing, others don't. Some folks wear a head cover, others don't. It's all on how they interpret the bible, and you don't know how others interpret it unless you visit their church and find out.

When you say that the church IS the people, I very much agree, and the only way to see if any particular group of people is one that you want to be a part of is to go and meet them. Learning about other people's perspectives on the meaning of the bible can give you a new understanding of what parts of it means. You can say that to take that approach is to put your faith in the interpretation of men, but if you think about it, every English language version of the bible is somedoy's edited version of an earlier text, and even the Greek version is a copy of an earlier work that was lost (I'm talking old testament here), so it's all about the interpretation by men.

The bible is supposedly the first-person accounts of happenings two thousand years ago. Even the different books vary in how the same story is told. Just reading the bible in the way that it is written is putting your faith in men (I.E. John's view of events, Paul's views etc). They, as us today, were trying to make sense of events bigger than themselves while not quite sure what God wanted of them. Looking back on them, their choices were simpler. There was one Christian church. Today, there are many different versions of Christianity, all claiming to be the only true one. Why? Because people read the bible themselves and decided what was right for them.

In my town of about 4000 people, there are 11 different churches. All of them think they are the one true way. Some of them even use the same version of the bible.

I believe that is what God wanted for certain people. But it does make it difficult for someone to try and find a church community to belong to. To find the right church you have to take a good look at yourself and see what you truly belive and how you interpret the bible (if you beleive in Christianity). Then the hunt is on to find other people who share the same views.
 
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