Since transitioning from my church to a new ministry that serves the church in her mission of making disciples, Teresa and
I have embarked on an unexpected journey: trying to find our next church family to join together with in order to serve Jesus. This is the first time that we have had to do this in 25 years, so you can imagine how intimidating this has felt!
However, through this we’ve seen a wide variety of worship styles and I am encouraged for the church as a whole! Its been a very rich experience and we’ve met some wonderful people and faithful belevers. Yet as a result of this search, I’m reminded of some essentials to look for and hope that three principles might be helpful for you if you are in the same boat. As I heard someone say once, approach a church with a critical eye, not a critical spirit. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list:
Four characteristics to look for in a Church:
They are Christ centered and Bible focused. This is a non-negotiable. If the church does not preach, teach, or show a concern for Christ and His Word, there’s no sense being there. Thankfully, we saw that most churches were serious about the Bible.
They are caring and friendly to others. We were shocked, yes shocked, that in one case, no one said a word to us. I did have a moment when I thought a woman was going to shake my hand, that is, until she reached around me to grab a bulletin next to me! We were not looking for an overwhelming outpouring of attention, just a friendly hello or two would have sufficed from someone other than the pastor.
They are concerned about the gospel. We exist to glorify God, and we glorify God by living and loving the gospel on a daily basis. When we are challenged by the gospel of Jesus Christ, it can result in an amazing, beautiful time of praise and glory to His name. This is shown when a church emphasizes missions, ministries, and daily personal evangelism.
- They are unified with one another. Every church has negative Nates and Nellies, but there’s a difference between a person or two who can be cranky a church who has a culture with many of them. When personal preferences disrupt unity in a church, there is a spirit that permeates everything. This can become obvious to a guest.
That’s all I have for now, and I realize that there’s only four characteristics here, but these are essential. Personal preferences in worship style, preaching style, driving distance and other items might come into play, but these, in my opinion, are secondary. Over all of this is the overriding leading of the Holy Spirit, so prayer and discernment must come into play.
That’s what I have, would you add anything to the list?
Very nice article, however yes I do have a questìn that maybe you can give me some imput.
I recently met up with a Recerand of Bethel A.M.E. African Methodist Church. The Reverand and the congregation of 3 ladies is cert friendly, however. the church isnt growing and has been pastored by this man of cloth for nearly 2 years.
I hace been asked to become a member and conduct Bible Study, given the topic of prayer.
I also was in charge.of flyers, and signs for a church revival and BBQ but when I spoke with the Reverand about what I had come up with for a design, he text me back and said “we need to talk”.
Well, Sunday I had to go out of town on business and the Sunday before I wasnt feeling well.
What do I do, I like the Reverand and all but I just do not feel the Lords presence in the church so I have been considering another?
I would find out what he wants first and go from there. Two years is not a long time for a pastor to be effective. Pray, pray, pray!
You guys gotta come see us at FBC South Lebanon. We keep working on the four things you mention and it would be awesome to have the world famous Pastor Fran!
Brother, you know we would always love to visit you 🙂