Joining a Church

Why is it good to belong to a church?

In a church you are given the right and privilege to focus on what is important: worshipping the Lord. The ambience and stillness the church provides is unbeatable and hard to find anywhere else. It’s a place you can run to when you are feeling low or depressed or you need some encouragement. And you don’t have to be around people to find what you need; you just need to feel the presence of the Lord – and all will be better.

Your faith grows stronger once you belong to a church because you become invested in its goals, services, and people. You’ll feel an urgency to read the Bible, talk to members, volunteer your time, and relish the friendships you make. All these are designed to help you become stronger as a Christian – being with the people who are ready to support and encourage your spiritual journey.

A church will help you face your problems. You will become courageous. Any discouragement or sadness you face is easier with a church family. You’ll begin to understand that being a Christian means learning to lean on others and allowing others to lean on you.

Being in a church family will steer you in the right direction. If you are unsure of what God wants for you, the church family can help you discover your purpose. There are less chances of straying away if you stay connected with your church family.

A church is a home, so you’ll enjoy the sense of belonging which is very real.  Don’t you feel at home when you are in your church? This is how it should be whether there are 100 people, or fifteen or if you’re sitting alone in prayer. This is where you find peace, love, and worthy relationships.

Joining

If you’ve been visiting the Ridge and you feel it’s now time to think about joining, then it’s time to sit down with Pastor Anchul.  Give him a call, tell him what’s on your heart.  Set a time when you can meet   and discuss your questions about joining.  He’ll walk you through everything you need to know and work with you to fill your needs. Together you’ll reach decisions, think more clearly, and begin a journey that will forever change your life.

The Ridge is a Community Church offering two services every Sunday. 
A larger Traditional Service at 9:00 am and a smaller Contemporary
Service at 10:30 am.  Communion is served the first Sunday at both.

Finding Your Church

The Bible clearly shows us that the “church” is a body of believers, not a structure or building.  The church (body of believers) is very important to the life of a Christian and choosing a church is one of the most important decisions that one can make. Your church, once you choose one, in many ways will help to shape who you are and your relationship with God.  This verse in Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together . . . but let us encourage one another” emphasizes the fact that followers of Jesus must regularly meet together. 

Make sure the church’s denomination matches with your religion. Check their website to see the organizations they affiliate with thru mission and outreach.  Find a church that supports the same causes that you believe in. For example, your church may be affiliated with youth organizations like Boy Scouts of America, or support local schools, and a food pantry.  If the church is affiliated with an organization that you oppose, consider choosing another church. A church is a good choice if it’s affiliated with nonprofits that concentrate on doing acts of good.

So where do I begin?  How do I choose?

Visit the church and attend a worship service. 

The only way to know if you feel like you belong to an individual church is to attend a few services.  Just because you visit does not mean you have any responsibility to that church. The most important thing is you feel a sense of belonging and feel the church can lift your faith.
If you don’t feel that way because of the church, the ministry, or the congregation, then try going to a different church and continue looking.

Here’s a few ideas about what might be important to you when choosing a church.  
Keep in mind that your number one resource for every decision in life is to turn to God. Pray and look to God for wisdom. 

This means that all the words in Scripture are God’s words and if we disobey them, we are disobeying God.  Ask these questions…  Is the Bible the main resource for preaching and teaching in the church?  Does the church believe that the Bible is the inspired and without error word of God and is the final authority on every church matter?

Every church should encourage you to worship God.  That is what we exist for.   Jesus says (Matthew 22:37 & 39), “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Worship isn’t just about sitting through a worship service or singing songs.  At the core of worship is an intimate communication with God.  The church must help you in this connection with God not only with the weekly Sunday Service but throughout your life.

A disciple is one who is learning to live like Christ.  A healthy church is just as concerned with growing members as it is with growing numbers.  The growth of members is the kind of growing usually evidenced in serving, getting involved in missions, giving financially (maybe for the first time), and sharing the gospel with others. Growth is a sign of life in a church.  Not just numbers growth but also growth through people. 

True Christian Fellowship is not just pot-luck meals and times of social gatherings although these events are fun and will lead to fellowship. But don’t underestimate the importance of fellowship. While Jesus was walking on this planet, he showed the importance of fellowship when He invested his life into the twelve disciples. When He sent them out, He sent them in twos.  We need encouragement, support, correction, and guidance from other believers for us to grow the way God wants us to grow.

Some churches are small with only a few dozen members while others are large and have a hundred or more.  Decide what kind of environment you want to worship in. The larger churches will have finances for new infrastructure and amenities, where smaller churches provide a more personalized experience. Try to find a church that reflects your preferences.  You may become closer to your pastor at a smaller church because they will have more time to speak with you individually. 

Ask what you have to offer and find a church that needs you. You will be much more fulfilled by serving than you will by sitting in a pew with a bunch of other people sitting in a pew listening to a weekly service.  It’s important to fine a church where you can serve well. Your own personal preferences and opinions should be considered when looking for a fellowship where you can be effective with ministry.  

Amenities include things that you may need such as sufficient parking, wheelchair ramps, handicapped-accessible restrooms.  You must make sure that you can worship even if you or a loved one has a physical disability so choose a church that has access for you and your family members.

The Ridge has both traditional and contemporary worship services. With our traditional service, we stick to the denomination’s traditions like affirmations, Lord’s Prayer, traditional worship styles and sing traditional hymns. In our contemporary service which is a more casual experience, the pastor will use more technology and non-traditional instruments like guitars and drums during praise choruses to take on a more contemporary music style.  

As you visit churches keep a physical checklist and take notes of things you like and dislike so you can evaluate fairly. You’ll be able to choose one that matches most of your needs – it’s unlikely you’ll find a church that will meet all your needs. Things on your checklist could include traditional or contemporary worship, a powerful sermon, traditional hymns, or more casual praise songs and even what you’re comfortable wearing. 

Compare each of the churches that you were able to visit. Try to remember things that you liked and disliked about each service, the building use, and the people you encountered and consider it all. Think about the church’s worship style, what is expected of you, and the type of clothing that you’ll have to wear.  Ask the minister questions that you can’t answer by looking at their website.

Building a bond with your church.

When you make your decision to join The Ridge, you’ll be expected to attend new member classes along with others that are joining. You’ll learn about what we believe and discuss what The Ridge is all about and even any current changes that are occurring with the Methodist Church. 

We believe in helping people to discover
loving God and loving people. 

And we believe in The Niceen Creed
of the United Methodist Church as follows:

We believe in one God, the maker of all heaven and earth including all seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, being born of God, begotten, not made of the Father of whom all things were made.

For our salvation, Our Lord, the Son of God, came to the earth and became fully human.  

For our sake he was crucified, died, and buried. Three days later he rose as scripture said He would and ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of His Father.

He will return in glory to judge the living and dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe the Holy Spirit, the giver of life, is worshipped and glorified along with the Father and the Son.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We anticipate the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Talking to your pastor will help bring you closer to the teachings of God. It will also give you the ability to ask questions that you may have or get spiritual advice. Find a church where you can talk openly about your experiences and how to avoid sinning.  Reach out on email, phone or suggest a zoom meeting.

Volunteering at a church can fulfill you spiritually and will bring you closer to your church. You can help feed the poor by donating goods and services, work on a community project by giving of your time or serve in the church as a volunteer on any number of committees or opportunities.

Get to know other families and people within your church and become friends with them. See if they want to share a meal or join you in volunteering. The more you get to know other people from your church the more involved and engaged you’ll be. You can also share spiritual dilemmas or questions with friends in the church who hold the same moral values.