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The Search For a New ‘Church Home’

In many ways, community is found in church. Church gives us a space to grow, to learn and to build meaningful relationships. Each church is unique and attracts the people that will best serve its congregation. Many freshmen are in the process of “church shopping” in hopes of finding a new community that suits them and their gifts.

As a freshman Christian studies major, I am in the process of searching for a new church home myself by visiting a new church every Sunday, and I will be writing about my experiences. Some people have told me that it’s a fun way to get to know the surrounding community. Some youth leaders I’ve had say it’s best to keep it simple and attend the closest church to campus. It’s exciting to visit new churches, but it can also be an overwhelming transition on top of the drastic changes of becoming a college student. 

“The process of visiting various churches when you are new to an area is [not] necessarily a bad thing,” says theology professor Dr. Brad Kelle. “But I hope we could avoid thinking of it with a ‘shopper’ mentality. Instead of asking, ‘What can I get here?’ maybe students could ask, ‘What can I give here?’”

Paige Allen, a freshman child development major, says she’s grown up going to the same church her whole life, so this process has been fun and interesting for her. Her favorite part of the experience has been “seeing how different churches run and how their communities are different.”

My last church was a nondenominational mega-church. Even though it was big, it gave me a tight-knit second family which is something I am hoping to find at a church in San Diego.

Last Sunday I visited Newbreak Church, on the corner of Ebers St. and Cape May Ave. in Ocean Beach, a much smaller church than I was used to. Before the service, my friends and I socialized in the courtyard and sipped coffee as doors opened and friendly faces welcomed us  in. 

I felt very comfortable at Newbreak and, though I was new, didn’t feel othered in any way. Carter Moss, the Campus Pastor for Ocean Beach at Newbreak, says that’s part of their “come as you are” atmosphere.

“[People at Newbreak] understand that we’re not just here to ‘do church,’ but that we actually want to help make our community and our world a better place,” he says.

 While the service did feel very laid back, the sermon discussed rich topics of obedience and following God’s calling in life. The teaching acknowledged hard questions but was still encouraging. After the message we took communion while a stripped down version of “Jesus Paid It All” played in the background. 

Ana Gates, a junior marketing major, volunteers on the worship team at Newbreak. Gates says she “love[s] Newbreak’s community. It truly is a family and it’s cool to have spiritual parents, grandparents, and siblings.”

Even though it was different, I really enjoyed the small church and their focus on service. But, my mind is open to other ideas. I’m new in my journey of finding a home church and probably won’t know which one I’ll call home for a while.

In many ways, community is found in church. Church gives us a space to grow, to learn and to build meaningful relationships. Each church is unique and attracts the people that will best serve its congregation. Many freshmen are in the process of “church shopping” in hopes of finding a new community that suits them and their gifts.

As a freshman Christian studies major, I am in the process of searching for a new church home myself. Some people have told me that it’s a fun way to get to know the surrounding community. Some youth leaders I’ve had say it’s best to keep it simple and attend the closest church to campus. It’s exciting to visit new churches, but it can also be an overwhelming transition on top of the drastic changes of becoming a college student. 

“The process of visiting various churches when you are new to an area is [not] necessarily a bad thing,” says theology professor Dr. Brad Kelle. “But I hope we could avoid thinking of it with a ‘shopper’ mentality. Instead of asking, ‘What can I get here?’ maybe students could ask, ‘What can I give here?’”

Paige Allen, a freshman child development major, says she’s grown up going to the same church her whole life, so this process has been fun and interesting for her. Her favorite part of the experience has been “seeing how different churches run and how their communities are different.”

My last church was a nondenominational mega-church. Even though it was big, it gave me a tight-knit second family which is something I am hoping to find at a church in San Diego.

Last Sunday I visited Newbreak Church, on the corner of Ebers St. and Cape May Ave. in Ocean Beach, a much smaller church than I was used to. Before the service, my friends and I socialized in the courtyard and sipped coffee as doors opened and friendly faces welcomed us  in. 

I felt very comfortable at Newbreak and, though I was new, didn’t feel othered in any way. Carter Moss, the Campus Pastor for Ocean Beach at Newbreak, says that’s part of their “come as you are” atmosphere.

“[People at Newbreak] understand that we’re not just here to ‘do church,’ but that we actually want to help make our community and our world a better place,” he says.

 While the service did feel very laid back, the sermon discussed rich topics of obedience and following God’s calling in life. The teaching acknowledged hard questions but was still encouraging. After the message we took communion while a stripped down version of “Jesus Paid It All” played in the background. 

Ana Gates, a junior marketing major, volunteers on the worship team at Newbreak. Gates says she “love[s] Newbreak’s community. It truly is a family and it’s cool to have spiritual parents, grandparents, and siblings.”

Even though it was different, I really enjoyed the small church and their focus on service. But, my mind is open to other ideas. I’m new in my journey of finding a home church and probably won’t know which one I’ll call home for a while.

About the author

Izzy Murphy

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