How to Choose a ChurchMay 8, 2012
In my early 20s I spent time going to school, moving around, and trying new things. Yet despite all the change I continually found myself making a familiar decision: Finding a church to attend.
Since I didn’t just move cities but countries, I quickly learned no two churches were the same. And sometimes they weren’t even similar. Since I couldn’t figure out an easy way to choose a church to attend my selection process generally defaulted to either attending with a friend, or trying out churches nearby.
This “trial and error” process—although stressful at times—did help me deduce what I tended to enjoy about a church or service, and what left me a bit uncomfortable. However, despite this I can’t help but wish I took better notes along the way. It would be so nice to move to a new city and only need to consult my handy “How to Find a Church in Six Simple Steps” brochure in order to make my decision.
Although I don’t actually think there is a perfect formula to choosing a church, since they are all so different (and since our needs change continually), there is still value in writing down a list of questions to ask the next time I find myself looking for a new church. Here are some of my ideas:
- Does this church value Bible-teaching? Are the sermons Bible-teaching?
- What other values does this church have? Do they correspond with mine?
- What denomination is this church? What is their statement of faith?
- Are there opportunities to be involved or volunteer? What are they?
- Is the church reaching out to the community? Are there programs to help me grow as a person?
- Do I know anyone here? Do the relationships in this congregation seem loving and friendly?
- What levels of accountability are within the leadership structure?
- Will I be comfortable enough to worship in my own way?
The next step, for me, is to decide how important each question is. Which are deal-breakers, which can I live without? Understanding upfront no church can meet all my many needs and/or wants doesn’t mean I’m settling for an unhealthy church. It just means I’m accepting that a church’s purpose is not about me. Its purpose is to provide a place for believers to worship together, teach God’s Word, and inspire one another to live holy lives. If I can find that, I’ll be OK. For me, this realization is a game-changer.
For more practical tips on finding a healthy church read this article by Insight for Living.