Part 16 of series: Choosing a Church: Some Recommendations
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This will be my final post in this series on choosing a church. Of course I could always say more about this subject, but I think I’ve said what needs to be said, more or less.
Here, in summary, are my eleven specific recommendations if you’re in the process of looking for a new church:
Recommendation #1: Clarify what you value most in a church, though with an open mind and heart.
Recommendation #2: Look for a church that is essentially orthodox, unless . . . .
Recommendation #3: Use the Internet.
Recommendation #4: Meet with the Pastor.
Recommendation #5: Choose a church that proclaims and embodies the gospel of Jesus Christ
Recommendation #6: Choose a church that encourages you in your worship.
Recommendation #7: Choose a church where you can experience genuine Christian fellowship.
Recommendation #8: Choose a church where you will be equipped and encouraged to live out your life as a minister of Christ.
Recommendation #9: Choose a church where you will grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Recommendation #10: Choose a church that sees itself and seeks to live as an outpost of the mission of God in the world.
Recommendation #11: Choose a church that values the Bible as God’s uniquely inspired and authoritative Word.
Recommendation #12: If you have children, choose a church that will help them to know Christ and to grow as his disciples.
Before I finish, I want to remind you of a couple things I said at the beginning of this series. One is that there is no perfect church. Not in this age, at least. Every church has strengths and every church has weaknesses. So when you’re looking for a church, don’t expect perfection that can’t be found. (Photo: The church in Bodie, California, a ghost town. No, this is not a perfect church, though there are no disagreements or problems in this church, since there are no people.)
Moreover, I want to emphasize again that the most important issue when you’re looking for a church is recognizing that the question before is really: What church has God chosen for me? When you put it this way, you realize that choosing a church isn’t simply a matter of figuring out what you value and looking for it. Rather, choosing a church is greatly a matter of prayer in which you seek the Lord’s guidance. He might lead you to a church that fits your expectations quite nicely. Or God might have different things in mind for you. In the end, you’ll want to know that you’re in the church God has chosen for you. This will be especially important when you run into the inevitable discouragements all Christian experience with their church. Knowing that God has led you where you are will help you to stay put and work things through in a way that will help both you and your church to grow into greater maturity.