In today’s world, it can seem like there are churches on every street corner. The list of “options” can be confusing and challenging. Many people are concerned about finding the “right” church. There are some great Biblical churches, and there are some unbiblical churches. Which of these do you think you should be part? Should you just go on your gut feeling, or are there some indicators of what makes the “church” the one Jesus built?
Sometimes our understanding of certain things is colored by what we’ve been taught in the past or by a perception which has been shaped by culture. When people think of “church,” they may be thinking of a building or a denomination. But neither of these are what the Bible means by this term.
Historically, the term “church” is not a religious term; however, Jesus Christ used the term with great spiritual significance when upon Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God,” Jesus responded “…upon this rock [confession] I will build My church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus was saying that He would build a group of people to call His own. We learn that He purchased this group of people with His own blood (Acts 20:28); and as people obeyed the Gospel, “The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). This text also tells when the Lord adds one to His church (see Acts 2:38).
How Do I Choose a Church?
After we are added to the church by the Lord, we should seek a local church with which we can fellowship and worship. It is important that we take this search seriously as well. The following should help.
A Used Bible
A Bible church will use the Bible. It will teach and do only those things approved by the New Testament. Avoid any church that claims the religion of Jesus is not important, or does not place a premium on the use of scripture for what it teaches and practices (see Gal 1:6-8 and 2John 9). Ask, “Is Christ the head of this church? Do they follow what He says in the Bible?”
A Resolute Purpose
A church should stand for its Christ-given purpose. Look for a church with backbone in its mission. We live in a time where many people are ashamed to state their conviction to the truth. However, if the Bible calls certain things sinful, that should be our judgment as well; because it is God’s judgment! A church truly built on Jesus will resolutely stand on what God says without apprehension. Look for a church then, that has not allowed the societal pressures to slip in and weaken it’s stance on standing for the truth. 1Timothy 3:15 declares that a true church of Jesus is “…the house of God, which is the church of the living God…” and that it’s mission is to be “…the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Look for Love
Finally, look for love. As Jesus said, the true people of God will love one another as He has loved us. John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” It’s more than just “going to church;” it’s sharing, and showing love for others which matters to God and His people. Observe how long spiritual family members visit after service, how often they plan to be with one another, how many hugs, handshakes, smiles and other displays of love are seen, then consider how easily they’ve shown that love and care for you. Abounding love and kindness in a church is not just a good thing, it’s proof as to the presence of Jesus Himself! And it’s worth being a part of.
Like the man who discovered the “pearl with great value” (Matthew 14:45), and did all he could to attain it, this is what God expects of us when we find what is truly valuable. Too many are more concerned about planning their summer vacation than they are their eternal destination. Our church family has much influence on where were are going in our life and our eternity. Our church family can distance us from God or help build us and make us stronger for God. So, if you’re looking, look for a local church where God’s Word is taught and practiced and where the love of Christ is clearly seen in the spiritual family.
If you have any questions, or would like a personal study, call (806) 799-6813 to speak with one of the preachers, or send us an email.
~ Nate Fritz