7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Church

Friday, August 24, 2018

Are you searching for a church? Are you looking for a community of believers to surround yourself with? Are you wondering if your current church is really where you should be? Learn how to choose the best church for you by asking yourself these 7 important questions.

As Taylor and I try to settle into our new life in Georgia, one of the things that is most important to us is finding a church. Not only do we feel that church is an important part of growing in our walk with God, but we also know that settling into a new area will be much easier if we get connected with like-minded believers.

When we moved to Charlotte, it took us forever to get connected anywhere, and we regretted that we didn't do a better job with searching for a church. Not only were we extremely undisciplined in attending church, but also, by the time we found a church that we really did enjoy, it was time to move again.

We want things to be different this time around, so we are choosing to be very proactive. Taylor and I have talked a lot in the past about what we want in a church, and what we believe God calls the church to be. We have also taken the time to talk about what we most appreciate in a church, and talk about our "must haves".

But I also realize that a lot of people don't know what to look for in a church, and they don't feel it really matters as long as it's a church of some sort. So today I am sharing what I believe are the 7 most important questions to ask yourself when you are searching for a church. I believe that if you spend time seeking God in prayer and in His word, while also asking these 7 questions, you will have a much more successful time searching for and finding a church.

Related: How to Find Christian Community


Does the Teaching Focus on God's Word?

Does the church open the Bible and preach from it? Do they use Scripture to teach? A lot of churches out there spend a lot more time teaching "moral lessons" from stories and antidotes than they do actually cracking open the word of God. This is a sign of danger. If a church isn't rooted in scripture, they aren't rooted in God. Why? Because the Bible is the word of God. Ignoring it means ignoring Him.

Search for a church that weekly teaches truth directly from God's word. There's nothing wrong with stories or illustrations if they are to reinforce something being taught from the word of God. But if a pastor gets up there and reads one verse, closes the Bible, and then proceeds to teach moral lessons that could have been taught without ever using the Bible, then steer clear. This church is most-likely not rooted in God's word.

Does the Worship Focus on God?

Do the songs that the worship team chooses focus more on God's greatness, or more on humans? Does it speak more to God's power, or our power? Worship is about God. It's about praising and reverencing Him. So if the songs that are being sung are all about us and how we can accomplish x,y,z, you may want to tread cautiously. God does give us power to accomplish great things through Christ, but church is for worshiping- not making ourselves feel better.

Another thing to look for in worship is whether or not the worship team seems to be focused on putting on a show. Having excellent music at a church is wonderful, and good-quality is far from a sin, but if the worship team seems more interested in guitar solos, being in the spotlight, and showing off than they do worshiping God, tread lightly.

How Do the People Interact with You and Each Other?

Whether or not people come up and greet you when you are new to a church isn't always the most accurate representation of how good a church is. Sometimes the people in front of you are new too, and they didn't greet you or notice you were new because they were new too. Sometimes when a church is larger, people don't welcome you as a newbie because they don't know that you are a newbie. If a church is big enough, that happens a lot, understandably.

But I still believe that paying attention to how the people in the church interact with you and with each other is important. This is because we can tell a lot about people by how they treat others. Is the congregation friendly? Do they stand with each other after church hugging, talking, and greeting people? Or do they huddle up in little groups and talk low so no one else can hear? Do they gather in little cliques and avoid greeting other people, or do they seem to be friendly and aware of the other people in the congregation? And if the church isn't gigantic, do people come and greet you and ask about you?

Again, these aren't necessarily the most important questions, but I do think that paying attention to this area could be helpful in making a wise decision.

Do They Have Bible Studies or Small Groups?

If you are someone who wants to get involved in a Bible study or small group (and I would encourage you to pursue that), then you should definitely check the church bulletin, the church website, or at least ask someone if that's something the church offers. If the answer is "no", that doesn't mean that you have to rule it out, but if that is something that is important to you in a church, then it's better to know and continue on your search.

Related: 5 Tools to Help You Understand the Bible

Is There An Opportunity to Serve?

Do you want to be an elder in whatever church you join? Do you want to be a part of a youth or children's ministry? Do you want to use your musical talents for the glory of God? In most churches, there is always a way to serve. But if you are concerned about how you might be able to help, there's nothing wrong with asking someone or trying to find that info on the church website.

Do They Help the Local Community?

This is a biggie, friends. Does the church you are considering reach out into the community to help those who need it? Do they serve their community through soup kitchens, foster care, or some other form of community outreach? And do they welcome a "misfit" in with open arms, or do they look them up and down because of how they are dressed, etc?

The church is meant to come in and worship, learn, and grow, and then go out into the community to be the hands and feet of Jesus. If it's noticeable that the church you are trying either doesn't do much outreach or they are only doing it every once in a while to "check it off of their to-do list", then it's possible they don't have their priorities straight.

What's In Their Statement of Faith?

Friends, this is so important. Know what the church you attend believes! Most churches have a website. And I have to tell you- if a church doesn't have a statement of faith, that is often a bad sign. And, if their statement of faith just tells you how old their church is and that they are "inclusive" of all, that is a bad sign too.

Why? Because it honestly doesn't matter how old the church is, and the church should be welcoming to people of course, but if those are the only two things that mattered enough for the church to put on their website, then there is a huge, huge, huge, huge problem.

A statement of faith should talk about the belief in our separation from God because of our sinful hearts, Jesus as Savior, the Trinity, Salvation by grace alone, and the authority and inerrancy of Scripture in all that it teaches. Those are the essentials of our Christian faith. If those aren't there, then you need to run away screaming. Otherwise, you will end up in a church that bases everything on personal experiences and feelings, and that's not okay. Jesus is the church's foundation- not individual, personal experiences.

Obviously, not everything can be based off of first-impressions or appearances. Sometimes, how a church appears to us on our first visit isn't necessarily accurate of how that church actually functions. Sometimes, we judge too quickly. But I would urge you to make these 7 questions a priority when searching for a church. Use discernment and be aware of the warning signs that may be telling you that a church is more man-centered than it is God-centered. And remember- church is ultimately the place where believer's come together to worship God and to grow in the knowledge of Him and His word. If that's not the focus of a particular church, then you do not need to be there.




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