How to find a church in college
You’re moving to a new city for college. If you want to find a church, where do you start? With so many different churches in Seattle, we asked around the SPU community to see how students found their church home.
The students we talked to suggested giving yourself time to try new traditions and approaches to worship — but they say it’s OK to look for somewhere that makes you feel comfortable, too.
Ask around. Your professors, your residence hall’s Student Ministry Coordinator team, and other students are all great resources for church recommendations. SPU’s University Ministries office also hosts a church fair the first Thursday of every fall quarter. SPU invites more than 30 local churches to send representatives, according to Kelsey Rorem, associate director of campus ministries.
How did you learn about your church?
I first heard about Quest Church from a student ministry coordinator my freshman year in my dorm. He told me a little bit about Quest in terms of racial reconciliation. Throughout my freshman year I was thinking about [the unarmed shooting of a black man in] Ferguson … and I was thinking about, where do I fit into this space as an Asian male? The multi-ethnic component of Quest was what kept me going there.
The multi-ethnic component of Quest was what kept me going there.
How do you get to church?
When I lived in dorms, there was often a resident advisor or someone who went to Quest and I would ask for a ride. My junior year when I was living in an apartment, I often took a bus to get there. I feel a little spoiled having a car this year.
Major: English Literature
What were you looking for in your search for a church home?
My sophomore year I had decided to become Catholic. I love the tradition, history, ritual, universality, and sacramental life of the Catholic church! To become Catholic, you have to attend a year-long series of classes called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). So the summer before that year, I was looking for a place to take RCIA classes, and one of my professors suggested I try the Newman Center at UW. There are a lot of college students and young adults — people around my own age — there, and it’s a really welcoming and intellectually stimulating environment, which is what I was looking for.
How did you get connected to the community?
We actually have a lot of Catholic students on campus! We hold mass on campus in Alexander Chapel three or four times a quarter, events every quarter or so, and some quarters there’s a small group or Bible study. I got connected to the broader Seattle Catholic community through taking the RCIA classes one night a week. My second year I joined a small group, and the third year I was a volunteer for RCIA.
How did you find your church?
I go to First Free Methodist and started going there two thirds of the way through my freshman year because my sister and her husband are going there.
I really enjoy going to church every Sunday and having a conversation with people that aren’t college students — also, seeing children.
Why did you choose your current church?
Not a lot of college students or SPU students go there. I really enjoy going to church every Sunday and having a conversation with people that aren’t college students — also, seeing children.
Major: Christian Scriptures
How did you hear about your church?
Last spring I kind of randomly became friends with a couple people who were going to The Hallows Church, so they invited me to come with them.
What made you want to commit?
Within two weeks of starting to seriously attend, I was involved in a small group and I just felt very welcomed by the community. I hadn’t been to many churches that proactive about really reaching out to me when I first attended.
Major: Applied Human Biology
What church do you go to?
I help out at University Presbyterian Church on Sundays, but also attend Community Dinners on Monday nights. SPU has a partnership with [Community Dinners] through the John Perkins Center’s Urban Involvement program. It was during a Burst the Bubble open house that I heard about it.
How are faith and service seen in Community Dinners?
We serve a meal for anyone who wants to come in, but there’s always live worship and someone gets up and gives a 5 to 7 minute lesson from the Gospels. We get to get fellowship with people in a completely different setting from a traditional Sunday church.