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What should I look for in a church?


Prayer is the first step in finding the church that God wants you to join:

  • Ask God to guide your steps as you begin looking for a church.
  • Tell God that you want to go to the church that He knows is best for you.
  • Ask Him to prevent you from committing to the wrong church.

You can trust God to direct the process. You will not hear God say, "Go to Elm Church located at the corner of Elm and Main," but He will be faithful to direct your steps as you visit churches and gather information. God promises to guide those who want to be in His will--and He is always faithful to honor His word:

Prov 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Psa 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Psa 25:12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

Prov 16:3 Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established.

Prov 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.

It's good that there are so many different types of churches, because there are so many types of people. Some people are suited for big churches, others for small churches. Some people prefer traditional hymns and conservative worship style; others like contemporary music and expressive worship. There are so many factors that make one church different from another, that it is impossible to know in your human wisdom which church is best for you. This is further evidence of your need to diligently pray about your church search, trusting God to lead you to the right one.

All churches, however, should believe in biblical truths that are foundational to the Christian faith, which include the following:

  • Jesus Christ is God. He is one and equal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
  • A person can be forgiven for sin and accepted by God into heaven based only on faith in Christ.
  • Salvation is entirely by God's grace; it cannot be earned with good deeds.
  • The Bible is inspired by God. It is accurate, reliable, and practical.
  • The Bible is the only book inspired by God.
  • Jesus Christ can transform the lives of all who come to Him.

There are a number of ways to discover the beliefs on which a church is founded, and by which it operates:

  • Read the church's brochure (if it has one). Pick up other information available in the lobby when you visit on Sunday.
  • Call the church office on a weekday and ask for written information about the denomination.
  • Visit the denomination's and the individual church's web sites, if available.
  • Listen. Note the extent to which the Bible is emphasized in sermons and Sunday school classes. Is the Bible used as a guide?
  • Ask the pastor.

 

Related topics:

What is the difference between Christianity and other beliefs?

How good does one have to be to go to heaven?

What is the Gospel?

What is salvation?

I have decided to become a Christian. Now what?

How can I begin learning the Bible?

 

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