I've made the case that all Christians are bound by God to be personally involved in a local church. All three of us see this issue pretty much the same. We're not going to reinvent that particular wheel.
Some of you are blessed. You had an easy time of it. You veritably tumbled right into a passionately Christ-centered and Biblical ministry where you could be discipled, and you could dive right into service.
Others, not so much. You are forced to live in a blighted area filled with the three C's: Charismatics, Cults 'n' Catholics, plus a few faddy emergent wannabes here and there, among scores of apostates.
So perhaps a faithful church might not have a big, well-situated building. It might not have billboards and radio ads, or blimps. Maybe they're just getting going, and aren't even in the yellow pages.
There, then, is the purpose of this post. Let's have a brain-dump on ways to find a church. I'll start off, you take it up — and please stay on-topic.
- Pray, committing yourself to attending a church; and attend somewhere while you look.
- Yellow pages. (But what to look for?)
- Ads in Saturday newspapers.
- Map out all the schools in the area, and drive around between 9:45-11:15am taking down names to follow up later.
- Bulletin-board in local Bible bookstore.
- Ask around, any Christians you can find.
- Denominational web sites (— like GARBC, PCA, Reformed Baptists)
- Nine Marks church search site.
- Founders-friendly churches.
- Gospel-centered churches (from The Gospel Coalition; thanks to Justin Taylor for the reminder).
- FIRE churches.
- TMS grads.
- BibleBB directory.
- Google maps, go to your area, enter church
- Ask pastor friends in other areas if they know anyone in your area.
- Call Seventh Day Adventist churches and Jewish synagogues, and ask if any church is renting their facility on Sunday.
- Check out community centers and YMCAs to see if any are rented by a church on Sunday.
One more time: how can I be blunt enough? I have no patience with "Note-from-God" people — so don't even try it. You know exactly who I mean: the 99% of professedly Christian non-attenders who have some sob-story that they vainly imagine gives them a "note from God" excusing them from obeying the categorical imperative the Lord gives His people to be involved in a local church.
There is minuscule fraction of people who have a legitimate reason for being unable to attach themselves to a local church ministry. Are you reading this page? If you are, if your ICU nurse isn't reading it to you above the whining and clicking of your life-support machinery, almost certainly you aren't one of them.
This meta is not for figuring out ways to rationalize non-attendance, nor even for listing off legitimate reasons for not doing what the Lord commands all His slave/sons to do.
This is strictly and solely about ways to locate, identify, and get joined to a local church.
(Just watch; someone is going to test me. It always happens, no matter how emphatic I am.)