Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How To Find a Church

~ Finding the Right Local Church is Extremely Important ~

Introduction  ~  Finding an excellent local church can many times be very difficult.  The goal should be to find a church where the leaders (not just the senior pastor) are becoming more and more Christ-like and where the church is as close as possible to the early New Testament churches.  How do we do find that kind of church?  By all means the choice should be bathed in earnest prayer.  Here are a few things to evaluate during church visits.

Leadership That Is Careful With Doctrine  ~  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  Search for a church which is Christ-like in care for correct doctrine.

Leadership That Is Careful With All The Sheep  ~  “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.  For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4).  Search for a church which exhibits Christ-like care for all the sheep. 

One way to evaluate this is to watch the pastor (and other spiritual leaders) before and after the service.  Who do they mingle with and who do they seem to avoid?  One result of this type of leadership is a friendly congregation which welcomes visitors.  Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Leadership That Is Careful With Their Own Lifestyle  ~  As a mentor to Timothy the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.  Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.  Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:12-16).  Paul walked his talk and could also write, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Search for a church with leaders who are truly seeking to be Christ-like in their personal lives. 

Additional Thoughts  ~  (1) When our family was small my wife and I deliberately chose our local church based heavily upon where our children would grow spiritually.  This was much more important to us than the best fit for us as a couple.  (2) You may desire to review a previous post entitled “Church Choice” (Looking for a New Church?) which was posted on May 22, 2012. 

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

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