You take your first steps into the unknown walls of a new church, uncertain of what is to come. You see the outside structures resembling something from the early 16th century but inside you see a renovated building. Greeted by a warm stranger who hands you a piece of paper detailing the events of the day you make your way to the main sanctuary. Not knowing what would happen next you take a breath, sit down and there begins the invisible survey to see whether or not you’ll attend this assembly again.
Finding the right church for your family is an important decision. When you purchase a new car you at least test drive it to see if you like the ride. In looking for a place to call home, a few things need to be taken into consideration.
Is It A Bible Teaching Church?
Jesus said that a wise man builds his house on a rock (Matt. 7:24-27). A sound view of scripture and how it’s interpreted is vital to spiritual growth and detrimental if the exegesis is contrary to His word. Sound doctrine is key and the church should hold to the cardinal doctrines, the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus, salvation, grace, communion etc.
Looking From The Inside Out
Another aspect in our pursuit of finding a church is to look at the ministries, church government, denomination or affiliations. Does the church meet the physical needs of your family? Does it provide child care during service times? Also, how does its leadership operate? Is there a lead pastor, associates or deacons and do they follow the scriptures that Christ is the head of the church? Many churches are affiliated with some sort of denomination so knowing their belief statement is paramount.
Does Size Matter?
My very first church I attended as a believer had no more than 20 members in it. The one thing about small churches is a feeling of closeness and involvement that draws people. A mega church with its vast volunteers and ministries may seem a bit intimidating to some and feelings of loneliness might occur. At the end of the day, it’s what fits your spiritual needs as a family. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you down what path to take.
One component that we look at the moment we begin the road of spiritual criticism is the worship. Are they singing the songs I like or are the hymns part of their top ten list? Is the presence of God honored and welcomed by its leadership? An outdated song has no intrinsic value or enhances the atmosphere with Gods presence but it’s the worship leaders responsibility to be sensitive and usher in the presence of God.
Is there an emphasis on evangelism? Are programs set up for discipleship, maybe an apologetics course in order to prepare the believer if confronted by other worldviews and skeptics? Sermons are made not only for the pulpit but preached where needed to hear.
“A healthy church is not a church that’s perfect and without sin. It has not figured everything out. Rather, it’s a church that continually strives to take God’s side in the battle against the ungodly desires and deceits of the world, our flesh, and the devil. It’s a church that continually seeks to conform itself to God’s Word.”
Below is a great video of three pastors that sort through the Bible’s teaching to describe the mission and makeup of the local church.