What Are YOU Looking For In A Church?
by Steve Hardin
At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans are looking for a church (or, as some express it, a “church home”). They are looking (1) because they have recently moved to a new area, (2) because they had drifted and are now ready for a renewal of religious interest in their lives, or (3) because they have become unhappy with “their old church.” What are they looking for? What are YOU looking for? What do they hope to find? What do they feel they need?
* Some are looking for a church that is like the former church they belonged to. They don’t want to change from the religion or way of worship that they have become accustomed to.
* Some are looking for a church (building) that is close to where they live. One that is within easy driving distance. They don’t want to have to go very far to get to “church.”
* Some are looking for a church made up of friendly people who will make them feel welcome and wanted. Warm feelings and caring hearts are important and a church that is cold and formal has no appeal.
* Some are looking for a church that will lift their spirits and build up their self-esteem. They want a sense of importance and belonging. They don’t want a church whose members just never seem to accept them.
* Some are looking for a big church. They prefer to blend in with the crowd. They don’t want a church that is so small they everyone is noticed and everyone is expected to chip in and help out.
* Some are looking for a small church because they don’t want to be lost in a crowd. Smaller churches, it is believed, are more friendly and more like a family. They don’t want a church that is so big that you don’t know who the regulars are and who are the visitors.
* Some are looking for a church that is busy with all kinds of activities in the community. They like family affairs and youth groups. They want some good wholesome activities that young people can be a part of: a softball team, camping, lock-ins, etc., as long as there are several choices for a family to choose from.
Now, if you will, look back, over that list. There is not one word about God, Jesus, the Bible, salvation from sins, strengthening the soul, heaven or eternal life. Churches were established in the first century for the purpose of teaching God’s word, saving souls and strengthening the members.
When a group of Christians constitute a church, they do not have to wonder what God wants of them. The lives they are to live, the organizational arrangement they are to have, the doctrine they are to teach, the collective work that they are to do are all clearly defined in the New Testament. With open Bibles we find out what a congregation of God’s people is supposed to be, to teach, and to do.
Permit me to offer some suggestions:
* Look for a church that respects the sovereignty of God and the authority of Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17).
* Look of a church that respects the Bible as the inspired word of God, and the gospel as the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1: 16)
* Look for a church that strives to be like the churches you can read about in the New Testament – in name, in worship, in organization, in teaching and in work (I Thes. 2:14).
* Look for a church that is concerned about lost souls and eternal destinies (Mt. 28:19-20).
* Look for a church that ministers to the spiritual needs of men. It is the soul of man that will live forever (Eph. 4:11-16).
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