Church-searching is never easy. Whether you’re looking for a church for your entire family or just for yourself, there are lots of factors you need to consider. Church-searching while you’re at college adds its own unique struggles to the mix. You’re probably in an unfamiliar place, you’re busy and you’re probably in Huntington for a limited time. Some students end up tossing in the hat. Others, however, find a home away from home where they can learn, fellowship, and serve.
Arie Van Weelden, a junior at HU, has found his church home at Bible Baptist Church. In an email interview, Van Weelden said that solid Biblical preaching, good worship and a hospitable congregation were three factors that were important to him. His home church before coming to HU had these characteristics. When he visited Bible Baptist, he talked to the pastor and realized that he had a strong knowledge of the Bible. His sermons were preached out of the Bible, the congregation was welcoming, and the church was willing to let him get involved.
When Van Weelden found Bible Baptist, he was able to find his second family and home. He said that, since he doesn’t live anywhere remotely close to Huntington, having that church family to support him, encourage him and even welcome him into their homes is a huge blessing and benefit. Van Weelden is a strong advocate for finding a local church and stated that being connected to his church helps him maintain a sense of identity.
When Megan Schnurr arrived at HU, she was looking for a church where she could establish and grow in her own personal faith. She was looking for a Scripture-based church that focused on building Christ-centered relationships and serving those in the community—a place she could call home. Schnurr sought a place where she would be challenged and discipled. When she heard Josh Kesler speak at the Well, a local church, she knew she had found that place. Schnurr noted that the Well enables her to meet people from outside of HU, serve her community and use the talents God has given her.
Chad Hunter transferred to HU this year. In an email interview, he stated that he was looking for a church that loved God’s word and that would provide opportunities for him to serve. Hunter found what he was looking for when he visited New Life Fellowship Church.
He said that, although there wasn’t an “a-ha moment,” he noticed that there was an obvious and genuine love between members of the congregation and that they were very welcoming. Hunter has also been able to serve in the community; New Life Fellowship Church has several ministries, including a community meal ministry downtown. Hunter believes that attending a local church is part of obeying Christ and His Word. Having a local church helps him in his walk with Christ.
“Attending a Christian university is a blessing,” he said, “but it’s not the same as being involved at a local church.”
Obviously, having a church to go to during college is a blessing. Van Weelden, Schnurr, and Hunter were all able to find their church families in Huntington. For some, finding a church takes months of frustration. When asked for advice to give to those who have trouble finding a church, Van Weelden and Schnurr both drew attention to the importance of praying and considering what is important for you as an individual in a church. Schnurr said that people should visit churches a few times before ruling them out and look up their mission statements. Van Weelden said that it would be a good idea to talk to some involved students from various churches and consider their perspectives. Hunter emphasized the importance of serving and getting involved. No matter what you want to find in a church, there are plenty to visit—so get searching!