I started playing minecraft about three weeks ago and have check out a few servers.
So far the one that I stuck with is minecraft.dk (website: http://minecraft.dk/)
You do have to fill out an application on their forums to be white listed. After that there's a 48 hour trial period where they see what you do. All you have to do is collect materials across the starter town map and build your house on your plot. After that you should be accepted no problem. So far it's a really good community with an amazing administration staff. The server is very well set up and managed. The only downside is there's not access to the end. But they do have a tekkit server and I believe a creative server as well.
But there are other servers out there. My friend only plays creative and since minecraft.dk is a survival server I had to find an alternative for when we play.
I check out http://Emenbee.com. There is no white list and they have both a survival and creative world available. All you have to do is type /survival or /creative to go to the respective areas.
Those two were pretty good. Other than that google and invest some time in a few servers.