Choosing a Church Home Together

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Are you trying to find a church home as a married couple? It’s not always as easy as it might seem, is it? Choosing a church home together can be a real challenge sometimes.

Before marrying, many couples attend the same church they knew before the wedding. It was one they felt they could call their own together. And if that’s so, it sure makes things easier.

Our Situation

However, in our situation, we lived a long distance from each other. We met, dated, and became engaged at a college that was distant from each of our homes. Obviously, since we weren’t from the same home town, we couldn’t attend the same church before and after we married.

After the wedding, I moved to my husband’s home town. We started attending the same church my husband grew up in, since it seemed like a logical choice. And in the beginning of our marriage it was. It made sense at the time.

But eventually we yearned for more than a “logical” choice. We came to realize that this particular church just wasn’t a good fit for of us together as a married couple. It didn’t have what we felt we needed for further spiritual growth. There wasn’t the deeper Christian fellowship available there, for which we yearned. So we went on a quest to look for another church that would better fit our needs.

We found one.

When we started this quest, we didn’t have a clue as to where we needed to look. But after a period of time, after praying, asking God for guidance, and looking to other followers of Christ for guidance, we eventually walked through the doors of a church that became our home for many, many years (until we moved to another location where once again we needed to find a new church).

This church (and others we’ve joined as we’ve moved to other communities) helped us to grow spiritually in ways that we truly needed. This helped to anchor us as a married couple and family, and became our community and support system during good and bad times. I/we can’t imagine what we would have done without the churches that God led us to join.

It has driven all the more to us the point that is made in Hebrews 10:25.

In this passage we’re told:

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Our Pastors and church communities have became wonderful avenues that God has used in our lives to encourage us, built us up, and helped us grow deeper in our faith, plus we’ve ben given opportunities to encourage others as well in their faith. And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as followers of Christ?

But not everyone has those types of experiences. For one reason or another, it sometimes becomes important to seek a church home — one that fits the needs as best as possible for both spouses. And that’s the reason for this article.

We recently received the following question at Marriage Missions:

“Please, could you give advice on how to choose a church/parish/congregation as a couple?”

Our answer to this question is that we’ll do the best we can. This is an international ministry with visitors from all over the world from different denominations, walks of life, and circumstances. Any one of these factors can greatly affect the ability to “choose” the type of church a married couple is seeking. The best we can do after prayerful consideration is to offer general guidelines. We encourage you to glean through the information you can use (throwing away that which you can’t). Depend upon the leading of our Holy Spirit to guide you to make the best choice possible as you pray and seek counsel.

A Partnership Decision

The important thing though, is that you make this a partnership decision. This decision will greatly effect both of your lives, together and individually. It should be made in unity and concern for you as well as your children (if you have any). It should not be a decision that is made as result of pressure applied from other family members, friends, or outside influences. We’re talking about ones which cause division between the husband and wife. They can make suggestions, but they are not to put a strain upon your relationship by sabotaging your mutual decision.

We realize that many cultures influence how a marriage works in different ways. But when it comes to the various aspects of marriage, the Bible is the guidebook that is to be used, even if there is cultural pressure to live otherwise.

One important biblical principle that is supposed to be lived out, is one set down by God Himself which tells us that once we marry, we are to partner with our spouse above all others. It is written in the Bible that God expects us NOT to allow others to divide us.

Jesus said in Matthew 19:4-6:

“Haven’t you read” … “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

In essence that tells us we are not to allow others to separate us in our resolve to “cleave together as one.” (See: Genesis 2:24.)

If you have further questions on this concept, please read, What Does It Mean to Leave and Cleave? and also read through the sections of Dealing With In Laws and Parents. We hope it helps you sort out the importance of not allowing others to divide you as husband and wife — especially in choosing a Church home.

So with that said, to help you make wise choices concerning this matter, we’ve found several articles on the Internet that we hope will help you as you pray, seek, and discuss where you should attend church. From Crosswalk.com, please click onto the links below to read:

HOW TO CHOOSE A CHURCH

HOW DO I FIND A GOOD CHURCH?

— ALSO —

From Christianity.about.com the following article might help if you read:

HOW TO FIND A CHURCH

From the ministry of Focus on the Family, the following article addresses this subject. It also makes available other articles to read that address this topic such as “Overcoming a Bad Church Experience,” and more. Please read:

HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT CHURCH?

And what if you and your spouse differ in the church you each want to attend? What then? The following is an article featured on IfGoddisappears.blogspot.com which might help you:

WHEN SPOUSES DON’T AGREE ABOUT CHURCH

Whatever you do as a married couple, please don’t allow the enemy of our faith drive a wedge between you over the decision of what church you should join. This is not something God would want from His followers.

Instead:

“Pray before you select a church. Ask God to lead you to the right place of worship. He knows what is best for you and your family. Remember that there is no such thing as a perfect church because there are no perfect people. Every church has its share of problems no matter where you attend. Just because you don’t see them up front does not mean they do not exist.” (This comes from the article, How to find a Church That is Right for You.)

And if it takes a long while to come to an agreement in this, keep praying and persevering in seeking God’s will. Make sure you act as married partners with God in a “cord of three strands” (Ecclesiastes 4:12), intent on working together in unity. Don’t put a time limit on it, but allow the Holy Spirit to work within both of you in this decision.

But be kind. For:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices wit the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

So persevere together with love and unity as your goal. Remember that we are told in James 1:4-5 that

“perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

It just may be that half the journey in finding a church home is in teaching you how to work together as a marital team. After all, you vowed on your wedding day to cleave together. It may be a transformation work within your relationship. It’s one that is more important than the destination of which church you decide to join.

Keep in mind that when you need to work through together, that:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control. To self-control, add perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

“Therefore, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-11)

Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International compiled this article.

If you have additional tips to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comment below.

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Comments

8 responses to “Choosing a Church Home Together

  1. (SOUTH AFRICA)  Do you think that it is ok for husband and wife to attend different churches if there has been mutual agreement between them? I am in this kind of situation.

    My husband has released me to attend a church I feel is catering for my spiritual needs. However, I feel like if I move to the church, I will be bringing in division in our marriage, since we are a young couple. Although going to his church really depresses me so much.
    What do I do in this situation? Please help!

    1. I am in a similar situation. My husband has gone to his church for about 26 years or so. He has made a lot of friends there. He serves there also and is an elder. It is a very small church that has not grown at all maybe on a good day 30 people. I no longer want to go to his church. I did sing on the worship team but the minister kept telling me if I sing flat he’ll turn my mic off several times. I couldn’t take him any more, so I quit. He ran the sound sometimes too and would also criticize the sound people and “help” them. He sometimes sang with us too. His wife plays the keyboard and sometimes he would throw his 14 year old daughter on the worship team. Now they have her turned way up on the mic over the worship team leader.They were asking for help for teaching Sunday morning so I went up and just asked what curriculum they used . He immediately responded he thought I should teach under someone. (I had been a Sunday school teacher for 20 years, I have been a para proffesional with kids who were special needs. I even helped out in the public school class room with my own kids when they were younger I have attended that church for 4 years. That has not been asked of other teachers there.) I was so shocked. I just repeated the question again.

      Another lady in church said the wreaths hanging in the church needed redone or new ones made. (I use to work in the Kroger flower shop-) so I said I could make them, she said she had to check it with another lady. The wreaths are still unchanged. I offered one time to make snowman ornaments out of baby food jars for the women to take home from the women’s tea. I asked several times on line and once in person. Needless to say I am not happy not being able to serve. Would it be too awful to hear a sermon and worship at another church and meet my husband for the sermon at his church? The minister is so boring and not encouraging at my husband’s church.

  2. (USA)  Has anyone answered this question for you since you’ve posted it? I am also in a similar situation. I’m currently dating a guy who I believe is the man that God has sent for me to marry, but we both attend different churches. I have been raised in my church since I was 1 year old (now 21) and and deeply rooted and grounded in the ministry. I want to be sure that if and when I leave that it isn’t before my time and that I am firmly planted in the good grounds of another ministry.

    1. (UNITED STATES)  TC – this is terrific that you are contemplating this now, during the dating phase. Let prayer answer this. Don’t worry about how involved you are in ministry -I was unbelievably involved in a ministry at the first church I went to, but when God called me away, I was quite surprised by how much more He had in store for me as a servant of God!

      Do you and your boyfriend pray together on this? Has he attended your church? Have you attended his church? Have you attended some other area churches? I know that’s hard -we don’t want to miss out on serving, we don’t want to miss week 2 of a 5 week series -but at our church, we attempt to find time to do this as leaders, just to learn from our peers and see how they do things.

      If God has provided this man as a future husband to you, then surely He has provided a place where you can worship together. He may not choose to reveal it to you, or to your boyfriend -but rather may be waiting to reveal it to you as a couple in prayer.

      It’s great to be attached to God; it’s not always harmful (but sometimes is) to be attached to your local church. What if God calls you away as a missionary? What if a secular job calls you away to a new city? What if God calls you to a church plant in a neighboring town?

      Personally, if it were only about me, I don’t know that I ever would have visited the church I now teach at. But it was about my family, God’s calling for me, and the people He wishes me to minister to. I am blessed that it’s a warm, inviting, friendly church, with great people and great preaching -but it’s not a place that I would have tried. It didn’t fit the “mold” -although God wants a diverse church, and blesses it.

      I know where you are happy -where does God want you? And don’t you think you’ll be happy there, too?

      I know this -if God has provided this man as a husband for you, and a partner in Christ -then surely He has a church for the both of you. Be it yours, his, or a new church you discover together.

  3. (USA)  My thoughts are similar to TC but slightly different. My wife and I are heavily involved with our current church. However, my wife doesn’t want to go there any more. If I wasn’t there she would have left years ago. She thinks she doesn’t fit in. I’m everybody’s favorite and she’s the black ball.

    It wasn’t so bad when she wasn’t serving, but now since she’s in leadership, she wants to quit and go. She wants to go to another church, but she doesn’t want the family divided. She’s also concerned about hurting my growth if we leave. I plan to pray about this as a couple, but what should we do in the meantime? Give up responsibilities? Go to separate churches? Visit other churches? Tell the pastor and then leave? Stick it out? Any thoughts?

    1. (USA)  Chris, Tell your wife two things: 1) your family will not be divided, as you stand united and 2) your growth in ministry cannot be sapped by leaving a church justly. If God is calling your family away to a new church experience, will it truly be at the expense of His calling for you, or will it be to further demonstrate His Glory?

      I think much of what you say is appropriate. I’m not sure giving up responsibilities necessary is the answer, as the issue isn’t you over serving and her feeling isolated. But by all means, I recommend not just praying, for fasting over the decision, together, as husband and wife. I would not wait to talk to your Pastor, however, as a couple, not to quit, but to inform. He may offer counsel that will be helpful.

      A good option, rather than quitting your ministries is to combine talking to the Pastor with taking some time off, maybe just a Sunday every third week to visit another church here and there together as a family as part of your search for God’s calling in this present season.

      Understand this: it’s quite likely if you leave that you will not immediately begin serving at your new church. This is okay, natural, and beneficial. That’s okay, enjoy your time together, worshiping together, seated hand in hand hearing the Word. There are many reasons to take a brief break, not the least of which is a time to heal (It’s difficult to leave a church, even when the reasons are just). It’s also beneficial for your new church volunteers, some of whom may have been serving at low levels for awhile, and may question if an outsider comes in and immediately begins serving at a high level. We can serve our Christian brothers and sisters… if we are brothers and sisters, so it’s imperative to take the time to get to know people.

      A Pastor I know was brought into a Church to replace a man who led the church for over a decade, but felt called away to lead another church in another place. He spent quite some time in the parking ministry, attending to people’s needs before taking over the pulpit.

      I am happy to see you tending to your family first, and am praying for the positive outcome that I know is coming your way soon!

  4. (UNITED STATES) The Bible states that the husband is the spiritual “HEAD” in the marriage. Thus, is given governmental authority by God in it. The wives are to submit and follow their husbands. Both are equal before God, but the Man has been given the Headship.

    As the husbands Love their wives, they should also consider their needs. This may mean visiting another church that they’re happy with. Of course, it’s best for both to find one church where both agree. If they can’t agree… the husband is to lead… that’s the Bible.

    1. So what if the wife has prayed about it and can not stand the people in the church as they aren’t very welcoming? Is the woman to just have a heart hard as stone and go just because the husband thinks it is”good enough?”