*originally posted at https://www.womendevotions.com/how-to-choose-a-church/
In this post, we are going to look at how to choose a church by looking at 4 unique and biblical components.
So, God has recently opened your heart, or you’ve finally decided to go back to church after a hiatus, or you’re simply curious and have always wondered what church is like and if you might benefit. No matter the reason, you’ve decided to go to church. Now how do you decide which one to go to?
Although, this list of how to choose a church is certainly not the way by any means (I’m not that self-righteous or legalistic – haha). This is simply what I would look for in a church if I were on the hunt. So, if you trust me, let’s go on the hunt for a group of believers that: offers biblical teachings, is outward focused, develops and equips disciples, and feels like family!
A Church that Teaches the Bible and ONLY the Bible
This is important. Of course, you can probably only find this out after attending a few weeks. So, obviously, it’s a process.
How do you know if they teach the bible?
- Check out their website and see if they state their core beliefs. You’re looking for statements along the lines of “the bible is the ONLY authority” or the “complete and inerrant source”. Basically, you want to know that they teach the bible and nothing but the bible. If they state any other books that they hold up to the Bible as equal in value, that’s a red flag.
- Check out any podcast or vodcasts on their website and listen to them. Does everything they say glorify God or do they rarely ever mention Him or Jesus? Do they share more of their opinion, teachings from the world, or truth from the Bible?
- Whether you hear a sermon live or online, match up everything they’re saying to the Bible yourself. Why? Because preachers are human. An occasional mistake in their “relaying of the message” is probably just innocent and you can kindly point it out in an email to them. However, if they’re doing it regularly….red flag! (2 Peter 1:20–21, 1 Timothy 3:16–17)
*side note: even if you’ve been going to a good bible believing church for years, you should ALWAYS study the scriptures yourself after you hear a message. (Acts 17:11)
A Church that is Outward Focused
At our church, we have something we call the Code. I believe we may have ripped a big part of it from Craig Groeschel haha. Anyway, one of my favorite parts states, “the church does not exist for us; we are the church and we exist for the world.” If a church is inward focused, how are they accomplishing the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20)?! I once heard someone say “if your church closed its doors tomorrow, would your community even notice?” If you can honestly answer no about a place, then that’s not a good sign, friends!
You’ll know if your church is outward focused through their service in the community, how they’re giving to the community, and by examining the purpose behind their events. If everything seems to be just for the people inside the church, than it is not outward focused.
A Church that Develops and Equips Disciples
What’s the point of church if we’re not helping each other grow? Every single one of us has gifts that need to be used. Every single one of us needs to be learning more about God and growing closer to Him daily. Find out if the church you’re considering is doing this and find out how. Many churches use small groups to disciple. Every church should have a place where you can serve/volunteer that will utilize and develop the unique way God has wired you. If the church you’re considering doesn’t, offer to help them develop it or reconsider. (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12:4-8).
Making disciples who make disciples who make disciples is why we’re here on earth. It was the driving force behind the apostle’s ministry and it should be with ours too. God did not mean for us to come to believe and then just sit. We should be growing, investing in others to help them grow, and continue on with that cycle. If it’s not a focus of the church, their not living on mission the way God designed.
A Church that Feels Like Family
One thing my church is known for is making every single person who walks in the door feel like family; feel like they belong. This is vital because if the church is people then where you gather should feel like a safe haven because you’re all there…welcoming each other, excited to see each other, offering a safe refuge from the harsh world and a shoulder to lean on. It really is true that “there’s no place like home”. Don’t let the church you’re a part of be the exception.
If you walk into a certain church building and don’t get greeted for weeks or the same people keep asking your name over and over and over again every time you come, or they keep re-introducing themselves every time they see you as if even if they did happen to forget your name (I mean it happens) they honestly don’t even recognize your face!… that doesn’t sound like home to me.
There are many verses that touch on the being in the “family of God”, here are a few for example:
Some of the best friendships you will ever have can be formed inside a healthy church. Check out this post here on how you can make friends in a new church.
Well, that’s how I think I’d go about finding a church if I should need to. Anything you would you add? Have you found a good church? Comment below!