Be careful as you make decisions about which church will become your home. Take time. Visit as many churches as it takes. Seek wise counsel in this decision. Pray about it. Remember this. You will never find a perfect church. In our generation, people need to commit to a church and stay there. Being a part of a church should not be a decision like shopping for a blouse, selecting your favorite restaurant, or buying a house. It should be like marriage. In marriage, we make the best initial decision and stay there permanently.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind as you select a new church:
Expose yourself to the relationships of the church. Healthy churches focus on relationships more than programs. Jesus called local churches to make disciples which is inherently a relational process over time. Programs replace relationships with events and surface interactions that never truly produce life change or people with hearts devoted to Jesus Christ.
Do the people seem friendly and open to newcomers? Do they seem genuine and desiring of actually building relationships with you? Are they authentic and real about the challenges in the spiritual life? Avoid a church full of fakes and people unwilling to get down into the trenches of life with you. Spirituality and life in general is messy, and you want to find a church that recognizes that and embraces it. Try out a small group, Bible study, or other group that allows you more exposure to the people of the church beyond the Sunday morning worship service. Give yourself more exposure that the surface once or twice visit to Sunday mornings. Churches can seem great on Sunday mornings but are actually shallow as you get into the real lives of the people. Make sure you find a church that is warm, uplifting, and encouraging in the area of relationships.
Understand the beliefs of the church. Many times these beliefs are called the doctrine of the church. Every church should have a statement of what the church believes displayed in a public place. These beliefs are many times posted on the church website or in a welcome or hospitality area of the church. Ask the leadership of the church to show you these beliefs. Typical orthodox Christian beliefs include the inspiration of the Bible, the virgin birth of Christ, the bodily first and second comings of Christ to the earth, salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ, and total depravity of people. Evaluate the beliefs of the church as compared to your beliefs.
Choose an externally focused church. Look for community service opportunities offered by the church. A healthy, growing church will provide significant ways of serving the people of your community. An inwardly focused church will be more focused on meeting needs of the
children, parents, and families already at the church. These community service efforts should include ways to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people.
Some examples of community service might include the following: serving at soup kitchens, refurvishing homes or apartments for financially challenged people of the community, appreciating civil servants such as fire and police, and helping the local crisis pregnancy centers.
Look for practical teaching in a local church. Becoming a Christ follower is not just about knowledge acquisition. Knowing more facts about the Bible does not necessarily produce spiritual growth. Practical truth will help you live as God desires in obedience to God.
Teaching at a good church will help you understand principles of truth from the Bible. The church will also help you take those principles and clearly understand how that truth works in your life.
Does the teaching of the church help you in family relationships, your marriage, decision making, issues at the workplace, and your personal finances? You should be able to apply the truth of the Bible in real ways that produce a difference. If you are not or cannot really understand and feel challenged to change, keep looking.
Get involved in a church with a strong belief in fiscal responsibility and conservative stewardship. The Bible says that leaders of a church should use the same wisdom and obedience in finances of the church as they use in their personal lives. Debt is a source of bondage and keeps a church from truly reaching its full outreach potential. Stay away from churches with debt.
A healthy church spends money on people and global outreach and less on buildings. In addition to being a spiritual organization, a church is also a business and should be run as such. Is there financial transparency with the finances of the church? Does the church carry debt? Does the church meet its budget? Are there controls and policies in place to insure wise financial decisions? This is a less obvious area of consideration, but I assure you that it is a critical piece of the pie.
Intersect Church is a nondenominational church in McKinney and Frisco Texas. Everyone is invited and welcome to attend any of the open services.
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