Saturday, June 14, 2008

How to Find a Good Church

It goes without saying that every believer should have a church home where they attend regularly. Here’s how to find what you’re looking for:

1. Look for a church prayerfully. As is the case with all others aspects of a Christian’s decisions, you should begin your search for a church by seeking the Lord’s direction. The Bible promises, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov. 3:6).

2. Keep in mind that you’re looking for a fellowship of believers. A church is not a building, nor is it merely a ministry, it is the body of Christ. So seek people who love the Lord and who love each other -- people that will love you and people to whom you can give your love.

3. Look for a church that has a Biblical mission and God-honoring vision.
A church should know why it exists and where it’s going. A Biblical mission should be based upon the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment.

4. Look for the church that preaches the Word of God. Seek a church that has sound doctrine, proclaims the Word, and sincerely lifts up the Lord Jesus Christ in worship and in all they do. Much of this can be discovered by observation, but most fellowships have a printed statement of their doctrines they will provide to you upon request.

5. Look for a church that has good character. Seek a loving, peaceful, stable church which has a pastor devoted to godliness, prayer and the Word, which are more important than his eloquence, education or charisma.

6. Look for a church that will help draw you closer to Christ. It might be nice to find a church where the music is flawless, where the seats are padded and the minister is a good orator. But more importantly, you need a church that will inspire you to grow in Christ, and will motivate you toward the aspirations of God. You need a church whose preaching and teaching will not merely appease or entertain you, but will boldly challenge you to advance beyond your comfort zones to live toward God’s high ideals.

7. Look for a church where you can become committed. In many ways, your relationship with the church is similar to a marriage -- you can’t get any more out of it than what you put into it. The only church in which you will ever grow and mature spiritually is the fellowship where you will commit yourself and get involved -- where the people submit themselves to God and to each other -- where they will both encourage you and hold you accountable.

8. Look for a church that is attempting to reach lost souls. Call them unbelievers, seekers, the unchurched, irreligious, or those on foreign mission fields, lost people need God – and churches have the Biblical mandate to reach them. Such a church understands its purpose and will provide a healthy environment in which to grow.

9. Look for a church where you can contribute and be involved. You get out of a church what you are willing to put in. What you bring to a church is added to the whole. This means your time, resources, talents, finances, emotional support, and encouragement. Get in, roll up your sleeves and help minister to others. Don’t look for a church that will only "serve you," but look for a church in which you can "serve." If you want your church to be the best it can be, YOU must be the best you can be. A church can never rise above what it’s individual members are.

10. Look for a church with reasonable expectations. Don’t bother looking for a perfect church, because there aren’t any (see previous post below). In every church you will find people who are wonderful and some who aren’t. Jesus taught that it was common for weeds to be found growing together with the crops (Matt. 13:24-30).

Also, in every church, you’ll find some things done well, and others that are not.

Don’t worry about finding a perfect pastor, either. Trust me, they’re all human and will make mistakes. But look for a pastor who is sincere, who is trying his best to live a godly moral life, and who is proclaiming the uncompromising Word of God. In short, be content with the church that is doing the best they can.

In Conclusion:

There are many good churches in our community. Trust the Lord to guide you to the fellowship where He wants you, and become faithful there. Don’t be a church hopper -- bouncing around to one church after another each week. God wants you to be submitted to the accountability of spiritual leaders who will help you and even correct you when necessary (Heb. 13:17), and this isn’t possible unless you are rooted somewhere. Don’t have an neglectful attitude, going to church only when you feel like it. Attend faithfully and show up on time. Serve your church at least as diligently as you would your employer.

Remember, the Lord views your attitude toward His church as your attitude toward Him (Matt. 25:40), so serve the Lord in a way that if He were your employer, you wouldn’t get fired.