Chances are that you’ve probably moved at least once or twice throughout your life. With a move comes the search for new friends, new favorite restaurants, and a number of other things. One thing that we also look for is a new church. This can be exciting and interesting, but it can sometimes turn out to be a pretty difficult task. You might struggle with questions like: how will you know that the Church is the right place? What should you look for in a church? Relevant magazine published a very helpful article for people who are looking for a church. They outline a few very common, but sometimes dangerously invalid reasons for choosing a church. I’ll highlight them for you with some of my own thoughts.
First, you might think that the Pastor is really good. What I mean is that the Pastor is an excellent entertainer. However, a Pastor was never meant to be an entertainer, but someone who challenges people and helps people deepen in their faith to grow closer to God. Now I don’t mean that Pastor can’t have a sense of humor. In fact, quite the opposite, Pastors should always be able to connect with people. However, if you choose a church because the Pastor made you laugh, you may have missed the point. Choose a church because the Pastor challenged you, made you think, caused you to grow, and encouraged you in your journey.
Second, you might think that the doctrine is on point. Now I’m not saying that theology doesn’t matter, because it’s absolutely central to a healthy church. However, it’s one thing to have sound doctrine and another to see it lived out. The church needs to be putting their faith into practice and not just talking about it. What a church believes is not always found in words. Is the church supporting the community? Are they serving the poor? Are they getting behind good social causes? Are they making an intentional effort to reach their city? Are they sharing their faith with people? If a church is living out what they teach, they will be active in the community. So, find a church that’s working out their faith daily and is providing ways for you to get involved in what they’re doing.
Third, you may think that they have a great kids’ ministry. Having a vibrant kid’s ministry is important and it’s something that families absolutely need in a church. However, I encourage you to make sure that you are the one pastoring your children. We can’t outsource our spiritual duties as parents to a church. We need to be intentional about investing in our children’s walk as they grow and mature in their faith. A children’s ministry can sometimes become “the place” that we expect to provide all the spiritual growth for our kids. However, this should always start at home.
Fourth, you may think that it meets your needs. I think it can be very dangerous to think that a church should meet your needs. Remember that the whole reason why we became Christ-followers was to serve God and others. Let’s always remember that the church was not created to meet our needs, but to meet the needs of the community they serve.
So when choosing a church, make sure you keep your motives in check and that the community empowers you to serve alongside them. I know this can be a difficult decision, but once you choose a church, I ask that you commit to that community with all your heart. Go all in.
If you have some follow up thoughts, please feel free to respond below. Have a great day!