The grass withers,
The flower fades,
But the Word of the Lord remains forever
I have a friend that likes to ask people who visit the church I belong to (Trinity CC): What are you looking for in a church? Whether we realize it or not we all have an answer to that question. We might not even be looking for a church, and yet, we still have an answer to that question.
- trendy music
- a cool worship leader with a “tight” band
- high octane youth group
- a children’s program that competes with Nickelodeon
- the look of the building
- convenient parking
- a relevant pastor
- Small – home groups
- non charismatic
- dynamic preaching
- and on and on and on it goes.
Jonathan Leeman, in his outstanding book Reverberation says: “Are any of these things bad? Not at all. Most are fine or even good. The question is, Where are we placing our confidence?”
I want to re-iterate what J. Leeman said – these are not bad things! Who doesn’t want relevant sermons, or a good band?!? BUT…..Where are we placing our confidence?
It seems to me that the church today is placing less and less of its confidence where we ought……in the Word of God. The result of a misplaced confidence is concerning.
4 things to look for in a church:
1.) Does the Word of God drive the church in all of its ministries?
The Word of God must be central to all the church does. The Word must drive. This is much more than just reading scripture or preaching from a passage of the Bible. It is the DNA of the church that hungers for the Word and gladly submits to God’s Word. So, what is driving the church? What or who is in the drivers seat?
2.) Due to the above, does the church have a conviction about preaching God’s Word?
We are in and seem to be headed for difficult days! Does your church preach God’s Word, without apology, and with conviction? If God’s Word is our confidence, then we should not be shy in our preaching and proclamation of it! The goal is not to be politically correct, the goal is to be biblically correct.
Pastors, the most loving thing you can do for your congregation is to preach the Word.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)
3.) Is the church God centered or man centered?
Who is at the center? You? Me? A pastor? Dynamic youth leader? a hard working deacon? or a long term member? When we make the church to be primarily about man, we miss out on the very reason we exist as a church. Why does the church exist? We exist, first and foremost, for the worship of God! ALL else falls into place UNDER this ultimate and primary purpose.
Have you noticed the Word of God is….. a God centered book?
4.) Does the church have a gospel culture?
What is a “gospel culture”?
It is one thing to “know” about the gospel. Anyone can know the gospel factually. One can even share the gospel with others. BUT, is the gospel functioning in the life of the church? Does the gospel permeate down into all the ministries of the church? The gospel is the focal point of the Word of God, oh that it would be the focal point of the church!
To read further about what the gospel is click here.
I hope you have found a good church where you love to worship God! There is no perfect church! The church I have the privilege of pastoring is always seeking to grow and is always needing to grow in the above! We have NOT arrived, no church has!
If you are lacking in conviction about these 4 questions above, pray, and ask God to help you to grow.
Or, if you do have a conviction, and you see ways in which your church is lacking in the above….. Get involved! God has given you a passion for the above for a reason. Get involved and help your church to grow in the 4 areas listed above.
Is there more than these 4 things to look for in a church? Sure. But, I hope these are at the core of your heart if you are currently looking for a church to call home.