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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Obliviate Offline
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How to start going to Church? - May 8th 2012, 05:58 PM

I've recently become pretty interested in religion. I've found that I pretty much agree with a lot of Christian beliefs and I feel like I kind of want to start going to church.
I was Christened/Baptised at a really young age but my parents aren't regular church-goers. The only time I go to church is for Easter, weddings and singing events. And they're never really at the same church so I don't know any of the service times.

Are churches always open for people to just go in? I have an idea where I want to start attending... Does it matter if I wasn't Christened at that particular church? Ahh. Also how on Earth do I tell my Mum? She's bound to over-analyse the situation.

Where do I start? I feel really out of my depth, but I think that doing this is going to help me.




   
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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 8th 2012, 06:35 PM

All churches I ever have been in have said that the church is always open for everyone. No matter i you call in the middle of the night. So I think that you just should go to a church and join them on Sunday.


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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 8th 2012, 06:38 PM

If you know which church you want to attend, I would google it and look on their website for services, hours of operation etc. I don't think it matters what specific church you were christened in, more which denomination you were christened into. As long as the churches are the same denomination you should be fine. Unless that doesn't matter to you too much. You could try telling your mom that you'd like to go because you're just curious to see what it's like at times other than Easter.


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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 8th 2012, 09:18 PM

I've tried googling it, but low and behold it doesn't have a website. The ones close by have a service around 10am though... so maybe I could just pop in some time this week and see if they have any times on the board or whatever?
I don't know.

My Mum used to go as a teenager but stopped when she met my Dad.

I asked her earlier and she said she'd go with me...She was okay about it, which is good I suppose. I have a feeling I'm going to be intimidated by it all aha and apparently loads of elderly people go? eek
I don't want to start laughing or feel stupid...ah. This is all really new to me


EDIT: Also, last time I went to a church around March time for an event, I felt really unwelcome. I don't want the regulars to think I'm intruding? OR like I'm just doing it because I'm bored... I genuinely want to do this.




   
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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 8th 2012, 10:55 PM

Feeling awkward is part of the reason I don't want to start going when I move out for grad school. I'm Catholic, but I only go for funerals and feel really out of place because there are specific things you have to say and everyone else has been doing it for years; or they went to Catholic school and have it memorized. I also never recieve communion because I simply don't know how! and I don't want to embarass myself.

Anyway, a lot of elderly people do go, but if your mom is with you they'll probably leave you alone. Maybe take a seat in the back to avoid feeling like you stick out?


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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 8th 2012, 11:12 PM

Charlotte, you're over-thinking this. Most churches love to welcome new-comers with open arms. It shouldn't matter if you were Christened at that particular church. Does the church you're going to have a youth group? If it does, try getting plugged in with them. Even if it doesn't, try to get plugged in with some sort of group in your church. They might even have a class for new believers, so you could always look into that. There's nothing wrong with asking questions or not being entirely sure about what's going on. If there's something that you want to know, ask someone like a pastor, an adult, or another student. I'm sure they'll be happy to help you feel at home in the church and help you to grow in your faith.


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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 9th 2012, 12:23 AM

First of all, I ask that whatever you do, you pray about this. Even if you don't know what to pray. Even if it is just, "Lord, help me find a church." Pray.

I ask that as you read what I now write, that you discern what I say, think about it, and pray about it. I do not want to give off the appearance that I am some super-Christian who knows what is true. I am not, and I don't.

I would like to suggest, aside from praying, get a Bible. I prefer a version called "Youngs Literal Translation." It's not for everyone. It is literally (no pun intended) what it sounds like. It is a cut and dry literal translation of the Bible and reads very awkward in places. It also contains some old English. For ease of reading, I would suggest the NRSV or ESV. I prefer the former. The latter is very biased, ut neither are in no-way perfect.

I suggest reading the Gospels and Acts and Romans. This will lay your ground work to help you see what the church SHOULD be teaching. This will help you recognize a good church.

As far as attending a church, just show up. I usually just go in jeans and a t-shirt. I figure if they are really following the Truth, they won't judge by appearance. And they should be welcoming. After all, Christ was welcoming, and He wore filthy clothes, most likely. It doesn't matter if you were Christened, at least in a protestant church.

And for telling your mom, I don't know how to go about this. I have open discussions with some of my family who are Christians, but I don't believe the way they do. I don't go to church anymore, but I still believe the Bible.

What I would honestly recommend, is seeking out a bible study. Learn the Bible through a small bible study, and fellowship. I find this is more beneficial than church. You learn the Bible deeper, you meet Christians more intimately, and you are allowed to ask questions in the middle of the discussion. I would seek a group of believers that also celebrates communion together (Sharing bread and wine -- or grape juice -- or water -- it doesn't really matter).

I don't attend a church for various reasons, if you'd like to hear them I will share them. But just keep in mind, being a Christian isn't about attending church. I'll share if you want, but this is about you, so I'll try to keep it that way.

If you don't mind me asking, where do you live?


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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 10th 2012, 02:57 AM

Any good church will let new people attend without being members. Most churches won't give you a problem about that.

As far as what church to go to, the books of Acts and Revelation in the bible talk a lot about what churches should and shouldn't have. Revelation is very heavy stuff though, so if you aren't firmiliar with the bible, I'd go to Acts to see a good example of a church. The book of John is also a good place to start reading, because it tells the basics about Jesus and salvation. The main thing to look for is a church that believes that we are all sinners, that sin separates us from God, that Jesus died to take the punishment for our sins to bring us back together with God and allow us to go to Heaven some day and be with Him, that He rose from the dead on the third day after His death to defeat sin, and that anyone who accepts (not works for) this gift will be saved from sin. There are a lot of other details to look for and I can go into more detail if you want, but that is the main thing that a church should have. Calvery Chapel churches are good churches if you have one of those near you. They are very truthful. I mean, each one has a different pastor, so I can't tell you that every one will be 100% perfect...but they are about as close as you find today.

For telling your mom, I'd say to just mention it casually when you're going. You don't have to have a formal "I've decided to go to church" announcement. lol Just mention it casually. Chances are she won't care, especially if she's taken you to church before for special occasoins. And if she does care or say something hurtful to you about it, remember that the bible says to not be surprised when loved ones turn against you because of Jesus. The bible says that people who hate us do it because they first hated Jesus and He will reward us for putting up with it.
   
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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 10th 2012, 06:13 AM

Can't you just go?

There usually isn't any weird membership for you to get involved with the masses. Usually they'll be happy to have many new members. In my church I have seen new people and no one really takes notice and if the priest notices you're new then he'll be alright with it. If you really want to get involved with religion and Christianity try going or talk to the priest in private.

Imagine of they didn't let in new members. All religions would die before they started.


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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 12th 2012, 10:08 PM

Hey guys, thanks for all of the advice.
Have to say that all of this talk of my sins and stuff is kind of over powering aha
I live in England, UK so I'm going to a CoE church close to my house, I don't have a clue what all of these churches you're mentioning are. St. Edmunds only do a service once a month which is good I guess. It doesn't make me feel like I'm completely committed... Plus it gives me a chance to digest everything.

Michael, I do own a bible with both new and old testament, although I've never read much of it. I'll have to start.
Also, I've never really been one to pray unless it was for a really important purpose... I always feel kind of stupid bahah


My Mum and I are going tomorrow, and I'm hoping it goes well. She also suggested,like you have Sammi, that I join the youth group. I'm hoping they still run it.

I think getting out of bed at 9am is going to be the hardest thing of all

Thank you, again xxx




   
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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 16th 2012, 06:31 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Illuminate View Post

Have to say that all of this talk of my sins and stuff is kind of over powering aha
I live in England, UK so I'm going to a CoE church close to my house, I don't have a clue what all of these churches you're mentioning are. St. Edmunds only do a service once a month which is good I guess. It doesn't make me feel like I'm completely committed... Plus it gives me a chance to digest everything.

Michael, I do own a bible with both new and old testament, although I've never read much of it. I'll have to start.
Also, I've never really been one to pray unless it was for a really important purpose... I always feel kind of stupid bahah
CoE churches will definitely be some of the most common in the UK. I know there are some other churches sprinkled about as well. I spent a little time in Nottingham and the group I was with worked with a CoE church, a Methodist Church, and Baptist Church if I remember correctly. Baptist is probably the closest to my personal beliefs but doesn't exactly line up with all my theology. ANYWAY, I will say that some churches and some denominations will definitely tend to be more new-person friendly. For example, my church (a Restoration Movement church) is pretty "in the middle" as far as contemporary vs traditional goes, and visitors usually feel very welcome. On the other hand, the church my fiancee grew up in is pretty liturgical and not as visitor-friendly, as a visitor would probably get lost during their service. After that, you also simply have the people of a congregation. Some will be more outgoing and friendly, others won't be as prone to come up and talk to you, we can chalk that one up to human nature.

As far as the prayer thing, I'll be the first to admit that I don't feel like I pray as much as I should and feel kind of awkward doing it sometimes (and I just graduated from seminary!). It is definitely helpful, though.

Starting reading the Bible is definitely a good way to start. After all, it is the basis for the Christian faith (although Christians forget that!). The ESV and NIV are probably my to favorite all-around translations. The NASB is what I would use for bible study, and if I'm doing some leasure reading I'd probably read The Message, or if it's the Psalms or Proverbs the King James Version (I just prefer the older English when reading them, sounds more poetic).
   
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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 16th 2012, 07:07 AM

Additionally, if you have any questions or want to talk about something related to the Christian faith, feel free to shoot me a PM. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, but I do have a relatively strong background in theology.
   
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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 20th 2012, 10:14 AM

Thank you

So, church went well I guess. The Pastor used to visit my school a few years ago, so he knew me and my Mum which was quite nice. He even offered to come round and have a cup of tea with us which I though was really lovely of him.
he ceremony was great and nothing like what I expected.

So I guess I'll be going again at some point.




   
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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 20th 2012, 09:10 PM

That's awesome! I'm glad you had a good experience. Your pastor sounds like a nice guy, which I'm sure made you feel more comfortable.


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Re: How to start going to Church? - May 21st 2012, 04:07 PM

I'm glad it went well for you, Charlotte.
Since this original question in this thread has been resolved, I'm going to go ahead and close it. Let me know if you want it reopened for any reason.


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