Looking for a church can be quite challenging. How do you decide? How do you know which church to go to?
One of the most important things to do while looking for a church is to listen to God. People often put a lot of stock in their perceptions of people they meet when they go, how good the sermon was that week, and other external factors. Seek the Holy Spirit's direction in prayer when making this decision!
Understand the non-negotiables. Make sure that the church closely aligns with what God’s revealed word says about the church. 9marks.org is a great resource for this.
Don’t just look for people like you. Make sure you are not rejecting a body of believers because they seem “different” or make you less comfortable. It’s hard to say how we can ground that kind of sentiment in scripture. The gospel is about breaking down dividing walls between people (Eph 2:14) and bridging people despite their distinctions (Gal 3:28)!
Think of what you can contribute, not of what you can consume. Perhaps the way you will grow in this season is by learning to serve and love a church like Christ has served us!
"Commitment comes before certainty."
An old pastor of mine once said “Commitment before certainty.” As is true with many relationships and commitments in life, you can almost never truly anticipate what life in a church will be like. To know that, you’d have to commit and stay a long time, maybe years, or a lifetime! But then how can you know? You can’t!
You are certain about a church because you’ve committed to it, not the other way around. Churches are not static entities. Recent research suggests that people change in personality every ten years - how much more so with a church being changed by the Holy Spirit!
- Pastor Mike