Find Your Church in 5 Simple Steps
Skipping church at Bible school
I often went to church 12 times per week during my junior and senior year in high school.
And I loved it.
Now the main reason I went to church so often is that my church was also my school, but I legitimately loved being at my church. I was extremely faithful and couldn’t imagine ever skipping a service.
Until I did.
When I went away to college, I visited a couple new churches but none of them felt right. In my eyes, none of these churches could match up to my home church. I ended up skipping church often and didn’t find a new church to call home until I was almost finished with my freshman year.
Where do I even start?
Finding a new church is hard.
I certainly had a hard time. Working in a church now, I’ve met so many people who searched for years to find a church they can call home.
It’s not an easy decision to make. There can be so many factors one can consider. What’s the preaching like? Do I like the music? Do they have ministries that meet my family’s needs?
It can be overwhelming.
But it shouldn’t be.
Now I’ve already attempted to simplify the process of finding a denomination because I know it’s extremely helpful to be in a church where you are theologically aligned. But to find a specific church requires more than compatible theology.
We need to know what a church does.
If you are already comfortable with a church’s theology, the next step is to evaluate its practice. In order to do this, you will need a guide. You need a guide to show you the bare essentials of what churches should be doing. To find this guide, you need to look no further than the very first church.
What sort of things did the first church do? What did they value? We find our answer in Acts 2:42,
"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."
When a pastor first pointed this out to me, it blew my mind. It is so simple, yet so profoundly freeing. Based on this verse, I offer the first four qualities you should look for in your church.
1) Is this church committed to the word of God?
The first church had the Apostles physically present with them, but their words remain available to us recorded in scripture. Churches today need to also be devoted to the Apostle’s teaching found in the Bible.
Observe how central the scriptures are in a church’s sermons and ministries. Find a church that is devoted to the scriptures and you will have completed the first step in finding a healthy church.
2) Do the members of this church love each other?
Church isn’t just about music and sermons. I guarantee that you can find better sermons or music online. Church is about people. It’s a gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ. When looking for a church, you’re looking for more than a good chapel service. You’re looking for a community. You’re looking for a family.
See if a church has opportunities for you to be a part of the family. Maybe they have small groups or other ministries where you can befriend others. Or maybe it’s a smaller church where being a close-knit community is just a part of the culture. Find a church where the people love spending time with one another because after all, the church is the people.
3) Does this church cherish the gospel?
In the first church, the “breaking of bread” was synonymous with eating meals together and remembering Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The main point, however, is keeping the gospel at the center of everything. If the very eating of bread was meant to remind Christians of Christ, then the church should point to Christ in all things.
See if a church faithfully reminds its members of the gospel. Observe the importance given to the gospel in the sermons, worship, and communion.
4) Does this church value prayer?
How much prayer is in the service? Is there any sort of prayer groups or meetings? See if people in the church really take the time to pray with one another.
5) Is this church active in sharing the gospel with unbelievers?
After reading how the first church devoted themselves to four things in Acts 2:42, we see those values in practice within the next couple verses. However, this description of the first church ends in Acts 2:47 saying,
“…and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
You’ll notice this verse isn’t describing evangelism specifically. Rather, the Lord blessed what the first church was doing—being devoted to the Apostle’s teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. As a result, more were added to their number each day.
So why do I include sharing the gospel as a quality you should look for in a church? It’s because sharing the Gospel fits hand in hand with all of the first four qualities.
When a church is devoted to the Apostle’s teaching it cannot help but share those truths.
When a church is devoted to fellowship, it cannot help but bring others into the fold.
When a church is devoted to the breaking of bread, it cannot help but invite others to the table.
When a church is devoted to prayer, it cannot help but intercede for the lost.
A church full of people saved by the gospel cannot help but share the gospel.
A Simpler Way
The point is, finding a church doesn’t have to be complicated. When visiting a church, don’t be so concerned with the music style or the list of ministries they have to offer. Look for these five simple and Biblical qualities. Visit, observe, then take the pastor out for coffee and ask him what the church is doing in these five areas.
No church is going to practice all of these things perfectly, but you should be able to tell fairly quickly if these qualities are valued. The church may be lacking in some of these areas, but hopefully, the leadership is aware of it and is trying to improve.
Don’t make the decision more complicated than it needs to be. With the first church as your guide, you can find a family where you belong and a community where you can thrive.
↓ Subscribe Below ↓