Church can be positive in the life of any individual serious about character development, spiritual truth, or family development. But many people don’t know where to start.

Here’s what you should do to prepare.

First, find a church you think you will like. By googling area churches, you can look at the following criteria:
Fancy or casual? Do you want to dress up and look your Sunday best, or do you want to wear jeans and a T-shirt?
Younger or older? Is it likely to be boisterous (energetic and a little chaotic) or reverential (with an emphasis on tradition, longevity and stability)?
Big or little? Big churches often have lots of programs and ministries for people in every age and station. Smaller churches don’t have the same kinds of programs, but they are able to supply a sense of tight-knit family often lacking in larger churches.

Once you decide on a place you might like, you need to find a time that’s convenient for you. Service times are always listed on church websites. Choose a time that works with your schedule. Big churches typically have multiple services over the weekend, and smaller churches usually have one weekend service and maybe one mid-week.

The third and most important step in beginning to go to church is to go with somebody. Find a friend, someone who has similar interests, and make a day of it, or at least a morning. Go have breakfast first, and then go to church. Or go to church and have lunch. Or go to church and see a movie. Going with a friend means you’ve got somebody with whom to process the experience.

Lastly, make sure to meet somebody at the church. Find one of the ushers or someone at the welcome desk. Tell that person your name and that you’re new, and ask for advice on what you should do to get plugged in.

And—though I may be biased—I tend to think Westwinds is the best casual, young, big church in the world. You’re welcome to visit anytime.