Recently I had a discussion with a friend of mine about church. Particularly, when dissatisfaction for the church you attend grows, what do you do? How do you know if it’s time to move on? Should you move on, etc. Before I begin I will say I know that the “church” is the people, the body of believers, also known as the body of Christ. The Church is not tied to a location or specific geography. What this article is about is about finding a new congregation. I am using the term “church” because that is how most people refer to it. Here are some of the questions we discussed.
How do you know whether you’re at the right church or not?
I, personally, don’t believe there is a “right” church for a Christian. By that I mean “at best, [churches are] filled with saved sinners whose flesh and spirits are continually at war.” If you’re dealing with churches, you’re dealing with flawed people, so nothing will ever be perfect. There might be churches that fit your preferences more than another, but they are just different, not necessarily right. Of course, if you’re at a church where Christ is not glorified, the Bible is not preached, and hearts are not challenged, I will say that is not the right kind of church.
Okay, so how do you know when you’re at the right kind of church?
The main criteria for that are pretty simple:
- Do they believe in the core beliefs of Christianity? (Salvation through Christ, Trinity, Scriptural Innerancy, etc.)
- Do they have good leadership and is there accountability among leadership?
- Do their teachings “tickle” the ears or challenge the heart?
- Are there ways to be involved in ministry?
- Are there opportunities to disciple and to be discipled?
- Do they follow the great commission and attempt to reach out to the community and the world to make disciples?
Those are not all the criteria, but if a church is hitting on most of those points, you can be pretty confident it is the right kind of church. For more details check out this article.
Are there any other things I should consider when looking at a church?
I would say it is also good to look towards satisfying interpersonal needs as well.
- (1) Are there people at this church you can relate to?
- (2) Will they challenge you in your faith?
- (3) Will they hold you accountable?
These things are important, but not of the utmost importance. I would also add that age isn’t everything. A lot of people want to find a church full of their peers. This can be great but is not always best; we have a lot to learn from people in all walks of life. I would personally say a church with a good mix of young and old is preferable. I would prefer to stay away from a church with only one age demographic.
The conversation continued but it is too long for one article. Be sure to read part two tomorrow to figure out how to assess and deal with an unhealthy church.