Looking for a Church in Raleigh?
If you’re reading this, then you probably fall into one of three categories: You’re preparing for a move to the Raleigh area, you recently moved to the area, or you’ve lived in Raleigh for a while, but now you want to connect with a local church. We love this city and we know that looking for a church in Raleigh can feel overwhelming.
There are a lot of churches to consider with different beliefs, values, styles, programs, etc. In addition, Raleigh and its neighboring communities are geographically spread out, so some churches may not be close enough for you to be actively involved. While we can’t know exactly what you may be looking for in a church, we wanted to offer some helpful things you should consider in your search. And, we’ll be honest about who we are based on those considerations so that you can make an informed decision about us as well! Of course, we would love for you to visit Refuge Church and get to know us. But, we also want to be a genuinely helpful resource for you and your family as you seek a church home in the Raleigh area.
What to Look for in a Church:
What do they believe?
Raleigh is filled with churches with all kinds of different belief systems. But, without question, the most important thing about any church is what it claims to believe. Remember, this is a place you intend to trust to give you guidance and truth. If you’re married and have children, you will be trusting them to lead your spouse and teach your children. That is a weighty and serious responsibility. So, you should strive to evaluate, to the best of your ability, what a church believes before you visit. With so many churches in the Raleigh area, you’re going to need to do a good bit of evaluation on the front end by looking at their statement of faith or the what we believe section on their website. You can find ours here. There are too many important items to list here that you should be checking for. But, in our opinion, you definitely need to check what they believe about the Bible: Do they believe the Bible is the truth of God without any error? In other words, do they believe we can trust the Bible as our source of truth? Also definitely check what they believe about Jesus: Is he the divine Son of God? Did he die on the cross for sinners and was he physically resurrected from the grave?
What do they teach?
This is fairly simple and straightforward. When the pastor stands up to preach during the worship service, from where does his authority come? Think about it! You’re planning to bring your family to a place every week where they are going to be taught by this man for over 30 minutes. Every. Single. Week. You need to know that you can trust him. The only real safeguard is if you know he’s leaning on an authoritative source of truth. For us, there’s no question that source of truth should be the Word of God. There should be no question concerning where his teaching is coming from. Otherwise, you will simply be listening to the opinions of a man every week. You will find that Raleigh has a lot of churches that teach from the truth of God’s Word and many that claim to teach from God’s Word – but on closer inspection don’t. The best way to filter that on the front end is to take some time to listen to their sermons on their website. Or, at least, see what they’re covering in those sermons. You can check out all of our sermons here.
What is their leadership?
This is a really important question! You need to try and discern if they have a leadership structure in place that allows for accountability and trust. In other words, if the only person featured or mentioned on the page is the Lead Pastor then there may be a lack of accountability and shared wisdom. That kind of situation can lead to unhealthy leadership from an individual. If, however, there are multiple men listed as spiritual leaders, you know the church takes shared leadership responsibility seriously. You will find that Raleigh has churches that are all over the map on this issue.
We believe the Bible teaches what is called a plurality of elders. The word elder is used in the Bible to refer to pastors. And, when we say plurality we mean that we believe the church should be led by more than one man. We believe the Bible instructs us to structure our leadership in this way. Additionally, we see many practical advantages to the shared wisdom and accountability of numerous men leading together. Refuge currently has three elders and multiple staff members that share leadership responsibility. The elders, however, carry the ultimate responsibility for the spiritual leadership of the church. You can visit our leadership page to learn more.
Will they help me grow in my faith?
After you visit the church and begin to regularly attend, do you sense they will have a clear path and plan to help you grow in your faith? Many churches get excited about having a lot of people attend their services and programs, but don’t take seriously the need to care spiritually for individuals and their families over time. One of the best ways a church cares for you will be through an intentional small group ministry. We call ours Life Groups. We also encourage those in our church to develop informal relationships with other individuals with whom they can read through the Bible or discuss helpful books. We’ve seen this happening in our church and have been encouraged by hearing stories of how people are growing in their faith!
Are they invested in the community?
Raleigh is an incredible city. We love that we get to minister here. Raleigh and Wake County as a whole are growing rapidly, bringing people from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities. Therefore, any church should care deeply about investing in the community, demonstrating the love of Christ, and telling people the good news of Jesus Christ!
We believe God has Refuge Church in Raleigh for his good purposes. Therefore, we strive to be intentional about investing in our community for the glory of God. Each of our Life Groups partner with a local organization on a regular basis. You can learn more about those partnerships here. We also partner with the Human Coalition. (we raised around $5,000 for them in 2019!) We also provide SledFest as a community event every year! We invest a lot of time, money, and manpower in SledFest for the purpose of loving our community, connecting with our community, and taking opportunities to tell them about Jesus.
Are they serious about missions?
While Raleigh is an exciting place with many people to reach, churches also need to take Jesus’ command seriously to make disciples of all nations. You will want to be a part of a church that is looking outward and not always busy looking inward. Often strife and dissension happen in churches that fail to consistently look outward and fails to work hard at reaching their community and the nations with the good news of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At Refuge we invest thousands of dollars in local, national, and international missions every year. We support missionaries around the world, a church planter in the Boston area, and a local missionary in Raleigh. It brings us joy to partner with these people, pray for them, and provide for them. We also have been on short term mission trips to various locations and plan to do many more! Additionally, we recently took two trips to the Wilmington to assist with recovery from the recent hurricane that devastated the area with flood waters.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about and consider when looking for a church. And, as you probably know, there are a lot of other really important issues that aren’t mentioned in these 6 above. We genuinely want you to find a place where they will point you to Jesus Christ week in and week out, teach you truth, and care for your soul! Our hope is that Refuge Church Raleigh can be that kind of church for those God brings to us. We also realize there are other great churches in the Raleigh area that care about these same things. And, our prayer is that you find one that you feel will serve you (and your family) well! Along those lines, we also wanted to point you to some other helpful resources as you walk through this process. Of course, feel free to reach out to us at any time with questions!
Here’s a video we created that we hope will give you a better sense of who we are:
Helpful Resources in Your Search for a Local Church in Raleigh
Church Search Resources:
Again, we would love for you to visit us! But, we also want to be helpful in your search for a church in Raleigh. While we can’t vouch for every church listed on these sites, these two trustworthy organizations are the best places to start your search: