I understand you all are Southern Methodist, I live in Toledo, Oh and
there are no SM churches here, why is my next best option? Also, is it
true that many protestant churches are allowing gay clergy and
dame-sex unions? I heard that many people are becoming Roman Catholic
because of all the changing of doctrine among so many denominations,
Thanks for writing. Probe Ministries is not affiliated with any denomination, though we do consider ourselves conservative and evangelical. I think you’re right that in some cases, people are headed toward RCC and Orthodox churches because of the shift in many places toward liberalism. I also think people are looking for art and liturgy. All through Church history, and human history in general for that matter, we see shifts and waves and patterns: like the swinging of a pendulum, it seems to be, on the one hand, part of natural ebb and flow of life.
At any rate… Which church is best for you? I think that depends on what church is. What is church really about? What makes a church a church? The other factor to consider is one you’ve already mentioned: location. There aren’t any SM churches in your area. What kinds of churches are there? It’s what we have in common, that is Christ our Risen Lord, that is ultimately more important than our denominational differences.
Most churches these days have websites, which is great because you can go online and look at their doctrinal statements to see what they believe about important matters such as who Christ is, the authority of the Scriptures, salvation, and so forth. In many instances, you can also listen to a sermon from the pastor on a church’s website. All of this is good, but not necessary, groundwork when looking for a new church. But since people are the church, ultimately, you just have to visit. And after a while when you decide to settle at a church, you have to serve in some way; get creative! ask the Lord what he might have you do.
You may wish to go online and do some homework to narrow the scope of churches you will visit, or you may like to just get started with the churches that are most local to you. If it’s been a while since you’ve attended a church service, this may be the better option, because it is good for us as believers to physically be with a body of other believers on a regular basis.
Stepping out of your denominational comfort-zone can be, well, uncomfortable with a bit of that new-kid-at-school feeling. But in my experience, it’s been good for me to have visited several different types of churches and denominations: large, small, average; urban, suburban, rural; high-church (liturgical), low-church… I’ve visited Baptist churches, Bible churches, Episcopalian churches, Assemblies of God churches, even Messianic synagogues; and those experiences of the many different stripes of my Family in Christ have broadened my understanding of Christianity, and God, and myself too!