Religion is a stabilizing influence in building a strong marriage and helping provide a value base for raising children. If, for some reason, you are not satisfied with the church you currently attend, or have moved to a new area and are looking for a church or if you have never been actively involved in a particular religion but have a desire to find a church, here are some suggestions.

1. Talk together as a couple and decide what it is you want in a church

If you're single, decide what it is you're looking for. If you're married and each grew up attending church but are not of the same religion, discuss the importance of finding a church where you both feel comfortable taking your family. Then list the things that matter most to you and your family. This list might include:

Teaches faith in God and, if Christian, teaches about Jesus Christ

Needs to be a family-friendly congregation

Has youth programs for your children

Teaches the values you both want for your family (list what those values are)

Offers opportunities to serve

Is located within a reasonable driving distance

2. Ask friends and neighbors about their church

Finding out why others attend the church they do can be helpful. They may invite you to visit a church service with them. People may hesitate to initiate a conversation about their church because they don't want it to interfere with your friendship. However, when you ask them questions, in most cases they will want to share information with you. If they are happy with their church, they will want you to enjoy that happiness as well. So, don't hesitate to ask questions.

3. Do some research

This will help to gain an understanding of the doctrine and programs of different religions. Beware of any sites belittling another religion. To avoid prejudiced information and to find accurate information go to the actual religion's site. As an example, here are a few sites you can easily access.

What do Catholics believe - http://www.catholic.org/prayers/beliefs.php

What do Mormons believe - http://www.mormon.org/what-do-mormons-believe

What do Baptists believe - http://www.baptistbasics.org/baptists/b003.php

What do Jews believe - http://www.jewfaq.org/beliefs.htm

To find what other religions believe go to google and type in the name of the religion and ask what this religion believes. This is merely a starting place for learning, but it can be helpful.

4. Attend worship services of different religions

Addresses can be located in the phone directory. Find out firsthand by attending and listening to the sermons and attending classes. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Most pastors, priests and rabbis are happy to share information and welcome new members to their church or synagogue.

5. Pray to be guided

Since finding a church is all about learning God's teachings and His plan for you, the most important thing you can do is to pray. God loves you and wants to help you live the best life possible so, of course, He will help you find a church that can help make that happen. He cares about His children and will guide you in your search. Just ask Him. The very idea that you are searching for a place to help your family increase in faith will surely please Him.

6. Invite missionaries

from different churches to come to your home and teach you about their religion. You can call churches in the phone directory and ask the receptionist to give you the phone numbers of missionaries who can help you learn more about their church. This can be one of your most effective ways to find out the doctrine taught by that particular religion.

Finding a church is one of the most important things you can do for your family. It may take several months until you find the one that feel just right for you. Don't give up. With consistent effort and dedication it will happen.

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