The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Searching for a spiritual home-How to find a new space to place your faith

By Benjamin Whiting/reporter

Many TCC students will transfer to colleges out of the area at the end of the spring semester, and some of them will want to find a local place of worship.

These students may just want to relocate their membership to a church near their new school. Other students may have become dissatisfied with their current church, or maybe the student is considering joining a church for the first time.

Whatever the reason, most people do not know where to start the process of finding a church.

In the past, searching for a church could be a cumbersome and highly drawn-out process since the only way to find out about a place was to actually visit.

The Internet, however, has presented a way to streamline the procedure, but the process can still take time for those committed to finding the best fit available.

According to Rabbi Zeilicovich of Ahavath Shalom Congregation, the first step for a searching student is to decide which religion and denomination is preferred.

Dr. Russell Elleven, minister of Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, recommends the Belief-O-Matic as a good way for a person to determine which religion most closely aligns with his or her own beliefs.

The tool, which can be found on, offers 20 questions about the nature of God, the nature of man and other related topics. The site then processes the answers and displays a list of the religions that match responses most closely.

“It … provides a great way for people to think about where they stand on religious questions without others telling them what is ‘right’ or what they should believe,” he said.

Once a person has settled on a specific faith and denomination within that faith, he should next find a nearby church of that denomination.

A number of search engines exist online for the sole purpose of locating nearby churches, so this portion of the process should not take long.

Brent Osterberg, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church, urged students to take some time to interview the minister or leader of the church after finding one that seems promising.

“Before you call to speak with the pastor of a church,” he said, “prepare a list of detailed questions to ask in order to inquire of the integrity and God-ward focus of that specific church.”

Lori Fowler, NE associate professor of sociology, suggested students physically visit the church in addition to their online research.

Osterberg recommends students try the church at least three times before making a decision.

After attending one or more services, students will be able to better gauge their own comfort level and form an overall opinion about the church, Osterberg said.

An almost endless list of factors can contribute to that level of comfort: the style of worship, the length of the service, the presence of a singles group and even the clothes the parishioners wear.

Some factors might be worth compromising on if the main concerns are met, but one must decide which items are non-negotiable.

Rabbi Mecklenburger of Beth-El Congregation said each person must consider what is most important.

“Different aspects of the congregation will be important to different people, which is to say there is no recipe,” he said. “The only way to find the right religious home is to go and try them out.”

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