Categories
Visiting Churches

Visiting a Church Once is Not Enough

Return Every Sunday for a Month to Get a More Comprehensive Understanding

The goal of 52 Churches was to visit a different Christian church every Sunday for a year. As people learned about our journey, they became universally excited.

Many wished they could go on their own church visiting sojourn. Some followed my blog posts about the experience, while others anticipated reading my book when it came out.

Friends also plied us with questions:

What are you learning?

What was your best experience?

What’s the weirdest thing that happened?

Are you glad you’re doing this?

Do you miss your home church?

Are you getting tired of your journey?

And so on.

Others wondered how we could evaluate a church by attending only one service. You can’t. Obtaining a realistic understanding of a church requires multiple visits.

What if you go when the service includes a business meeting, a guest minister, a different worship leader or team, a holiday celebration, or a special remembrance?

We encountered all of these on our visits. What if the church is between ministers? There will certainly be a different atmosphere under an interim pastor or string of guest speakers. Then it will change again once the new leader is selected.

Some churches have a monthly schedule, alternating the style of their services from week to week.

This might mean they have a different worship style or schedule each Sunday throughout the month. Other churches have a monthly potluck or special event, so that one Sunday is different from the rest.

Then there are seasonal adjustments. Some have summer schedules and winter schedules, while others have holiday traditions that differ from regular services.

Visit at Least Four Times

To obtain a full evaluation of a church, multiple visits are required.

I recommend making at least four visits to a church you are considering.

To this point, Church #51 asked us to make twelve visits before deciding, but I think twelve is enough to form a habit, so your repetition makes the decision for you.

Our intent, however, wasn’t to evaluate churches but to expand our comprehension of God.

Different traditions approach God differently. Each has something to contribute towards informing a holistic practice of worshiping the triune God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).

Despite this, I want to return to some churches. Perhaps we visited on a non-typical Sunday. Maybe they have other services or meetings, worthy of checking out. And some, I just plain liked and want to return.

In upcoming posts, we’ll revisit some of the fifty-two churches. As we do, I’m sure God will reveal more to us, growing us in faith and our understanding of church community.

Takeaway

Visiting a church once is never enough to understand it. Even if you disliked your first visit, return a second time—the experience may be different.

My wife and I visited a different Christian Church every Sunday for a year. This is our story. Get your copy of 52 Churches today, available in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.