I’m interested in going to church but don’t know where to start
Getting started with anything new is never easy.
One would be to go to church with someone you know who does go. You could sit with them and they could help you by explaining what happens and so on. Perhaps they might introduce you to some others who are there.
If you’d rather go on your own then don’t arrive too early, five minutes before the starting time is ok and make sure you sit near the back. That way you won’t feel quite so exposed.
Do ask if you can join others in a row where they are. And never feel you can’t ask questions of others around you.
It’s also good if you’re new to a church to say to people you’ve never been before. Churches can be very friendly places and most folk are only too glad to be of help.
Can I go to church if I don’t believe in God/sceptical/don’t know what I believe?
Yes of course you can! Though when you’re there you might find it more comfortable to sing along or even to join in the prayers as you won’t feel quite so isolated as you will if you don’t involve yourself.
You can always ask to speak to the minister or priest during the week to discuss what believing means.
I’d like someone to pray with/for me, what do I do?
Some churches actually offer this opportunity and if the one you’re in does so then don’t hesitate to make use of it. If they don’t then you could pass a note to the minister or priest to ask for this.
If, however, you are completely alone then you could quite randomly open a bible or a book of prayers at any page and simply read what is there.
Very often people find exactly what they need at that moment. Doing that might then lead you to a next step where someone can be found to be with you for prayer.
What should I wear to Church?
It actually doesn’t matter what you wear so long as you feel comfortable.
How long is a church service?
They vary, in Britain the normal length is between sixty and ninety minutes.
Very often there will be refreshments afterwards. This can be a good occasion to meet people. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
Is there someone at church that I could talk to about my circumstances?
Normally the minister or the priest is the person who comes to mind. But if you find yourself sitting next to someone, or if after a period of time you get to know someone at a church who you feel you can trust, then there’s no harm speaking to them if you feel OK about that.
Another option would be to talk to someone who goes to church and ask them if there’s a particular person they’d recommend you speak to.
Should I go forward for Communion?
Some churches do have their own rules about this, so if you’re not sure perhaps the best thing to do would be to hold back for a week or two until you become more sure about the correct procedure.
If you’ve never taken communion before it might be best to ask someone first. If you haven’t been baptised, or you don’t know whether you have been or not, it is probably best not to go forward unless you are specifically invited to do so.
Does it cost money to go to church? / Do I have to give money into the collection?
No, it doesn’t cost any money and nor do you have to give money into the collection.
That said, you might feel more comfortable doing so as others around you will give money and you might not want to feel left out. Going anywhere tends to cost money so most people will want to – even if only a little.
Can you go into a church anytime?
Sadly, because of the risk of vandalism, many churches have to be locked. But if you see a church that is open don’t hesitate to go in.
If there isn’t a service taking place you can often just sit there and enjoy the surroundings and perhaps the peace and quiet.
Do I have to sing hymns?
No you don’t have to sing, though if everyone around you is doing so you might not want to feel left out, so don’t hesitate to join in.
What is worship?
Churches are places where people gather who believe in God or who feel they’d like to believe in God. Given this, the belief is that God can forgive us what we’ve done wrong and help us start out again on a new path in life.
For that reason people pray to God, give thanks to God and ask God to hear their prayers and so on. Singing hymns and listening to a sermon or talk is part of this. All of this is worship.
In fact worship doesn’t just end when we leave church. The hope is that every moment of our lives becomes an act of worship as we live – or try to live – in the way that Christians believe God wants us to.
Will people speak to me/welcome me even if I don’t know anyone?
They most definitely should do! If they don’t then that is a church NOT to go back to!
If I want to join a church how do I do this?
By finding one where you get a good welcome that isn’t smothering on the one hand or cold on the other; where the worship feels sincere and appropriate; and where you sense there is a good atmosphere.
Many people who want to join a church go to several first of all to ‘test’ each one. That is especially useful if you’ve recently moved house or flat and are living in a new area.
Does it cost money to join a church?
It shouldn’t do though because every church has big bills to pay you are very much encouraged to give.