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Finding a church home is quite an adventure. There are so many churches to choose from.
When choosing a home church, you have a few things to consider:
- the denomination,
- whether you’d like to be at a bigger or smaller church (if you care about the size),
- and the distance you’re willing to travel to get to this church.
As a new believer, you’re not sure where to start. You have questions like: Can I just go to a church? How do I choose a denomination? What makes a great church?
If that’s you, keep reading.
Choose a denomination.
When I first became a Christian, I had no idea what the various denominations believed in or what the differences amongst denominations were.
If that’s where you’re at, that’s okay. I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you with the various denominations and what they believe in. Learning that comes with time.
Some of you may already have a denomination you lean toward because of a friend or family member, and that’s fine too.
If you have no idea what denomination to choose, I would recommend going to a nondenominational church. That’s where I started out.
A nondenominational church is a church that’s not affiliated with any sort of denomination. You can start there and as you learn more, you’ll figure out what denomination is best for you.
Consider the size of the church.
Do you want to be at a small or bigger church? Does it matter to you?
When I first became a Christian, the church size didn’t matter to me as much as the community. I didn’t mind going to a bigger or smaller church and have experimented over the years.
Now, I know that I prefer smaller churches. So, it may take some experiences for you to know for sure what you prefer.
Larger churches tend to have more resources and might serve more whereas smaller churches tend to be more intimate.
Consider the distance you’re willing to travel.
How far are you willing to travel? When I first became a believer, I didn’t drive so the church I went to had to be within walking distance.
After I made some friends, I was able to catch a ride from them to go to a further church.
If you have a car or someone you can ride with, you could go to a church that’s within a few miles or so. It’s really up to you on what you’d like to do.
The 7 Marks of a Great Church
Okay! You’ve considered denominations, the church size, and the distance you’re willing to travel.
Let’s talk about what makes a great church. Here are the 7 marks of a great church.
#1 They teach from the Bible.
This church teaches from the Bible. They don’t add anything to scripture that isn’t there.
You need to be careful about trusting the words of a pastor (or anyone). You should always double-check everything a person says about scripture.
This is a mistake I made when I first became a Christian. I didn’t double-check what my pastor said. I just trusted him at his word. I mean, he’s a pastor. He must know what he’s talking about, right?
The Bible says, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true,” (Acts 17:11 NIV).
Paul is an Apostle of Christ. Surely, he’d know what he was talking about. These believers checked to see if what Paul was saying was true.
We should also follow this example and do the same. We’re all prone to human error and sometimes we get things wrong. Always check the scriptures and make sure your church is teaching from the Bible.
#2 They’re doers of the word.
This church doesn’t only teach the Word of God, they also practice what they preach.
There are a few passages that reinforce this fact:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says,” (James 1:22 NIV).
“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law will be declared righteous,” (Romans 2:13 NIV).
As you can see, we’re supposed to try our best to follow God’s commands. If this church isn’t doing that, it’s not the right church for you.
#3 They are a family.
As a church, we’re supposed to be a family. God tells us that when we’re saved, we’re all brothers and sisters in Him.
Jesus himself says, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice,” (Luke 8:21 NIV).
The point Jesus is making is that those who follow God are family – not necessarily those who are technically related to you.
This church doesn’t just treat you like family – you are family.
#4 They promote and practice evangelism.
You’d be surprised how many churches don’t really promote and practice evangelism. I’ve been to many churches that didn’t have evangelistic programs.
They considered community and volunteer work evangelism, but that isn’t what evangelism truly is. Evangelism is telling others the good news of Jesus and discipling that person. That doesn’t necessarily happen at a church event.
A great church will promote and practice evangelism. It will be talked about and there will be ways for you to practice evangelism at this church.
#5 They serve the community.
Although serving the community isn’t considered evangelism, it’s still important. Most churches do help and serve the community in some way, which is great.
You want the church you go to to also serve the community. Jesus lowered himself to a servant and served others, and we want to follow that example too.
If they serve the community, this gives you a chance to volunteer and give back as well. It’s a good growing experience and a good way to meet others.
#6 There’s room for growth.
A great church has opportunities for you to serve using your God-given talents. Leadership encourages growth and allows you to step up to serve.
Serving may look like volunteering at a soup shelter with your church, helping serve coffee in the mornings, helping set up at church events, or even leading a Bible study.
It can look like a lot of different things, but the important thing is that there are opportunities for you. This is important because it allows you to follow the example of Jesus.
#7 They love like Jesus.
A great church loves like Jesus loves. In the gospels, you’ll see that Jesus loves people you might not expect him to love.
He hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, and the poor. People that were hated and neglected in Biblical times.
A great church will love these kinds of people too. They’ll love like Jesus.
Do you feel more prepared to choose a church? Let me know in the comments below.
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