Presbyterian Churches Near Me
Are you searching for ‘Presbyterian churches near me?’ You have come to the right place because we have compiled a list of everything you need to know about finding the right Presbyterian church. The Presbyterian religion may vary, depending on which church you attend, but understanding the basics can help you find your new community.
Why Find a Presbyterian Church?
Finding a Presbyterian church can help you deepen your faith and expand your community. The Presbyterian church prioritizes actionable good through missionary work. The Presbyterian people are protestants who are reformed, continually learning, willing to share the good news with the world, Bible-centered, and members of their community.
Presbyterianism is a religion that’s made up of different denominations. Instead of describing a structured set of rules, Presbyterianism refers to the church’s governmental structure. The Presbyterian Church believes in evangelism, which is the act of God’s people sharing the good news with others.
Understanding the differences in the Presbyterian religion can help you choose a church that feels like home. Presbyterianism is one of the earliest religions to form out of the Christian Reformation. It has been around for many years and has undergone many reforms.
What Do Presbyterians Believe?
Understanding the basic Presbyterian faith and beliefs can help you decide if it’s the right religion for you. The Presbyterian religion dates back to the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation. A French lawyer in Switzerland, John Calvin, reformed the Protestant belief through writing. His new way of thinking quickly made its way throughout Europe.
However, it wasn’t until 1706 that the first Presbyterian church was established in the United States. The first presbyterian church was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The new Presbyterian religion attracted many notable people of the time, including Reverend John Witherspoon, one of the ministers who also signed the Declaration of Independence.
Today, Presbyterianism is a type of Protestant Christianity that follows the following basics:
- Authority of scripture
- Justification by grace through faith
- The priesthood of all believers
- Sovereignty to God’s grace
Presbyterians believe that God is the ultimate authority above all else. They believe that God’s purpose can be understood through scripture of the Bible, especially the New Testament. They believe that Christians cannot be neutral or indifferent to evil in the world. This means that Presbyterians have a duty to speak up on social and moral issues. The church is also responsible for reminding the people to obey God and resist evil forces.
They also believe that God chose to save us through incarnation, death, and resurrection. They believe that the Holy Spirit is the most intimate and powerful presence within us and that Jesus Christ is the eternal son of God.
Some of the Presbyterian faith beliefs differ from other similar religions. Many of these differences can be encompassed by two points. The first is that Presbyterians follow a Reformed theology. Second, they are represented by leaders and church members who prioritize action.
Presbyterian beliefs differ from the baptist religion primarily in beliefs of salvation. Whereas Baptists believe that salvation is only attainable through certain means, Presbyterians believe that a person is never worthy of God’s mercy. The Presbyterian church believes that God has already decided who is saved. This belief is also a key difference between Presbyterians and Methodists. The Methodist religion believes that everyone who believes in God is saved, whereas the Presbyterian church believes this decision is already made. God’s love is a given in the Presbyterian church.
Presbyterians also believe in eternal life in the presence of God. However, the beliefs may vary among Presbyterian churches, with some believing that life is a cycle of birth and death and that everyone gets another chance. Others believe that the Bible did not teach reincarnation and that people spend eternal life in heaven or hell based on the goodness of their life.
The differences in beliefs have led to different variations of the religion, with two divisions making up much of the United States population of Presbyterians. Social issues and beliefs have also created a further divide between Presbyterian churches, with two of the largest denominations being the Presbyterian Church (USA) and Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
One of the biggest issues that led to a division was revivalism. Another disagreement came when the church required ordained ministers to have a formal education in the early-1800s.
Where Can I Go to Find a Presbyterian Church Near Me?
There are several ways that you can find a Presbyterian church near you. First, you can stop into Presbyterian church offices in your area and ask about Sunday worship days and times. You can also use the resources on Church.org to search and review Presbyterian churches in your area.
The great thing about using Church.org is that you can learn much more about the local churches in your area, helping you choose the ones that are most likely to fit with your faith and beliefs. All you have to do is input your city and click ‘search.’
Then, you’ll receive a list of Presbyterian churches in your area. You can click on each one separately or view their location on a map. Each church listing shows the address and phone number, so you can contact them with any questions that you may have.
Church.org believes there is a church for everyone. We’re confident that we can help you find your home Presbyterian church.
What If There Isn’t a Presbyterian Church Near Me?
The Presbyterian church is one of the largest in the United States, meaning you’ll likely have many options in your area. Once you decide that Presbyterian is the right religion for you, you can search for churches in your area using Church.org. Of course, if you cannot find a Presbyterian church in your area that aligns with your values and beliefs, you can always attend service online.
Online services can be a good alternative when you haven’t yet found a home church or when you’re traveling. In-person services are especially important if a sense of community is important to you. Some people may choose to drive a further distance in return for finding the right church. Continue searching until you find a church that feels like home. Don’t give up; we’re confident there’s a church for you.
Things to Know When Choosing a New Presbyterian Church
Here are a few things to know about when choosing a new Presbyterian church:
Confession is an Important Part of the Presbyterian Faith
Confession is a part of weekly services in a Presbyterian church. Historically and traditionally, confession was separate from church service, taking place during the week. Sunday morning is a celebration of the resurrection, so some may prefer to confess during the week. The confession of sin is largely a part of Sunday Service at most Presbyterian churches.
Confession is a way to reaffirm one’s faith in the Presbyterian church. Many confessions of the Presbyterian church can be found in the Book of Confessions. The invitation to confession is a time of humbleness before God. Confession follows the same values and thought patterns as baptism in the Presbyterian church. Some Presbyterian churches follow the Westminster Confession, which the Westminster Assembly first created in the 1600s.
The Presbyterian Church Has Separated and Reunited Numerous Times
It’s not uncommon for churches to separate, and the Presbyterian church is no exception. The Presbyterian church has separated and also reunited numerous times throughout history. During the United States Civil War, a group of the Presbyterian church broke off and formed the Presbyterian Church (PC-USA).
Today, the PCA is affiliated with the Covenant Theological Seminary. They are currently the second-largest Presbyterian church in the United States, with around 1,900 congregations and over 370,000 members. The PC-USA is affiliated with many different seminaries in the United States. They are currently the largest Presbyterian church, with over 9,400 churches and around 1.4 million members. Smaller denominations include the United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA) or the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC).
All Presbyterians are Baptized
Baptism is an important sacrament of the Presbyterian church, meaning all members are baptized. In addition, the Presbyterian church will baptize infants and children as they prepare to serve a life of faith under the promise of the parents or guardians to raise them with the word of the Lord. Adults may also be baptized in the Presbyterian church after publicly professing their faith, which is usually required to become a member.
Presbyterianism Has a Structured Church Government
The Presbyterian church is made up of different positions. Presbyteries are a representative assembly of elders who govern the church. In fact, the word Presbyterian translates to elder. The elders in a Presbyterian church are teaching or ruling elders or ordained ministers who lead their local congregation. Deacons of the church are responsible for managing the finances and maintenance of the church. Some Presbyterian denominations use elected pastors and elders. This is a format primarily used by the USA Presbyterian church.
Actionable Good is a Part of the Presbyterian Religion
An important part of the Presbyterian religion is that all members share the goodness of God with others. Presbyterians are missionaries who help those in need, respond to world crises and disasters, heal the sick, and educate new generations.
Voting is a Part of Most Presbyterian Churches
Presbyterians believe that community is more important than tradition. Therefore, voting is very much a part of the Presbyterian church, especially when choosing new elders. The Presbyterian church also votes on social issues as they arise rather than sticking to traditional ways of thought. For example, the USA Presbyterian Church voted in 2014 to allow clergy to officiate same-sex weddings. In 2015, they also voted to accept gay and lesbian weddings within the church. Members who disagree with the voting outcome of social issues have led to many splits within the Presbyterian church.
Rules of the Church Vary Among Denominations
Since there are now multiple variations of the Presbyterian church, the rules differ among each of them. For example, some Presbyterian churches require elders to have college and seminary degrees. Some require all elders to complete the theology national exam. There are also differences in how long church members have to wait to become eligible to become elders.
One distinct rule that differs among Presbyterian churches is the ordaining of women. While many Presbyterian churches do ordain women today, not all do. This issue continues to be one of the most divisive and controversial topics in the Presbyterian church. Presbyterian Church (USA) was the first to ordain a woman. Another rule that varies between PC-USA and PCA is divorce. PC-USA believes in no-fault divorce, whereas PCA only believes in divorce in cases of adultery or desertion.
Community is Important to Presbyterians
A sense of community is important to Presbyterians. In fact, it’s so important, that each service typically includes a passing of the peace. This is an opportunity to greet other members. Most Presbyterian churches also dedicate a sharing of community concerns. Sharing together ensures that all members are aware of other members’ lives.
Some Presbyterian churches may even conclude service with the congregation standing in a circle. However, this depends on the specific Presbyterian church that you choose.
Sunday School is Great for Deepening Your Presbyterian Faith
Sunday school is sometimes available for both children and adults. Adult Sunday School classes are usually scheduled after worship service and are a great way to deepen your faith and apply it to real-world issues. Some classes may also include adult or youth ministry or fellowship opportunities, supporting the actionable community the church promotes.
What to Expect From a Presbyterian Church Service
The Presbyterian church follows two worship formats, the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship and the PC-USA Directory for Worship. A traditional Presbyterian service (Book of Common Worship) is divided into four areas of worship. There are also secondary parts of worship within each of the four movements. The traditional worship service order in the Presbyterian church includes
During the gathering, members will find their way to their seats. This is accompanied by a prelude to music and a welcoming message. At this point, many congregations will discuss important announcements. Church members and guests will pass the peace or stand and greet one another with the peace of Jesus. Gathering includes:
- A Call to Worship
- Hymns of Praise
- Confession and Pardon
- The Peace
The word includes a message to the children and scripture readings. The word includes:
- Prayer for Illumination
- Scripture Readings
- The Sermon
- An Invitation to Discipleship
- Affirmations of Faith, Baptism, and Prayers of the People
The congregation affirms its faith using 12 creeds and confessions during the Eucharist. The Eucharist includes:
- Invitation to the Table
- Great Thanksgiving (Prayer of Thanksgiving)
- Lord’s Prayer
- Community of the People
- Communion (Lord’s Supper)
During sending, the congregation prepares to go forth into the world. Sending includes:
- Songs or Acts of Commitment
- The Charge and Blessing
The PC-USA Directory for Worship has a similar structure but adds actionable words to each of the four areas of worship. This version also adds a fifth area of worship. The areas of worship for PC-USA include:
- Gathering Around the Word
- Proclaiming the Word
- Responding to the Word
- The Sealing of the Word in the Sacraments
- Bearing or Following the Word into the World
The Presbyterian church isn’t structured using strict ceremonies or rituals. Instead, it prioritizes two sacraments that all actions and Sunday services highlight. These two important sacraments include Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Presbyterian churches require all members to be baptized. The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament often repeated during service in a Presbyterian church.
Presbyterian church services include music, prayers, scripture readings, sermons, offerings, greetings, and closing prayers. A traditional Presbyterian service is between one to two hours in length. Service times may vary depending on the church. Traditional Presbyterian churches may have earlier worship times, and more modern churches may hold services later in the morning. Some Presbyterian churches offer two service times to accommodate more members.
You’ll also find a good mix of attire at Presbyterian churches. Some people prefer to wear more formal attire, including dress pants, dress shirts, dresses, skirts, and suits. However, many churches today welcome members to come as they are, which may include jeans or T-shirts. Of course, you can always call the church you’re interested in before attending to find out if they have any dress code requirements.
How to Integrate Yourself into Your New Presbyterian Church
Once you find a church that feels like home, it’s time to integrate yourself into your new congregation. Here are a few tips to help you integrate into your new church:
- Inquire about new member meetings: Some churches have new member meetings where you can learn about the requirements and meet existing members. These meetings are also a good time to get to know others joining the church at the same time as you.
- Attend special celebrations and upcoming events: Attending on and off-site special events can help you feel more connected to your new church. Volunteer to help plan or set up outreach events, so you’ll feel more comfortable attending before you know anyone. Some churches may also allow you to bring a guest.
- Join a study group: Bible study groups are a great way to deepen your faith while getting to know others.
- Volunteer your services: Volunteer your services to talk with new members or serve refreshments before or after service to begin building relationships.
- Sign children up for study groups: Most Presbyterian churches also have youth study groups. Turning the transition into a family event can make it easier for everyone. Study groups also help younger children expand their Christian education.
- Introduce yourself: Sometimes, getting to know others in your church is as easy as making it a point to introduce yourself to a few new people each week.
- Continue attending: The more you attend and the longer you attend, the more your congregation will begin to feel like home. Try to go each week and participate in as many activities as you can.
- Arrive early: Arriving early enough allows you to talk with other church members before service.
Community is extremely important in the Presbyterian church. Confessions are also one of how congregation members can build a sense of community. Sharing in confessions with other congregation members helps members share common values and remind themselves of the importance of community.
How Can Church.org Help Find a Church?
Use Church.org to help you find your new home Presbyterian church. You can easily search churches in your area using your zip code. Once you select a church that you’re interested in, you can view stories and connect with other church officials or members. Some churches even offer online resources, including sermons or classes, that you can use to decide if it’s a good Christian faith and culture fit for you.
Church.org is a good alternative to social media that connects you to other members who align with your personal beliefs and faith. Looking for a different type of church? You can use Church.org to find a church that matches your beliefs. Searching for a Methodist church near me? What about a non-denominational church? Are you looking for more information on what a non-denominational church is? We have all that information and more at Church.org.