what to look for in a church

By June 22, 2009Church

My last teaching series at LifePoint was entitled “My Three Wishes.” I shared the three values I hoped each of our members would come to embody: prayer, simplicity, and worship. Yesterday’s message was on worship and was taken from Isaiah 6. The message concluded with God asking Isaiah, “Who will go for us?” and Isaiah responding with, “Here I am. Send me.”

I closed the message by challenging our people to rethink how they will look for their next church. Instead of looking for one that will serve them, look for a church that they can serve. Look for a place where their gifts and talents will make an immediate impact. It’s tempting to think like consumers rather than contributors when looking for a church home.

With that in mind, here are a few random thoughts about what to look for in a new church home.

1. Christ-centered. Jesus should be preeminent, mentioned often. The goal should be to raise up mature Christ-followers. Three steps to a better marriage is important but only within the context of what does Christian marriage look like. How does living as a Christ-follower change the way I live as a husband or wife?

2. Bible-based. How does the pastor approach the Bible? How often is the Bible used to teach principles? A healthy church has a healthy respect for the authority of the Bible. When opinion or personal preference collides with the Bible, does the Bible take precedent?

3. Action-oriented. God intends his people to be in circulation, serving and influencing our world. Look for a church with dirty hands – dirty from getting involved with their community. There is a time to listen and learn and there is a time to do. A healthy church will not just talk about service and mission; it will provide opportunities to make a difference.

4. Immediate impact. In my experience, the longer it takes a person to get involved in ministry, the less likely it is they ever will. Small churches can be just as difficult to get involved with as larger churches. The barriers are just different. One of the first questions I would ask a pastor or leader is, “How can I get involved?” He should be able to tell you what the needs are and how to go about getting in the game.

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