Many of us have found ourselves in this situation: we want to go to church, we wish we could find a good church, but even getting started seems like a daunting task. There are so many churches out there —how do I figure out whether a church is a good church or the right church for me? I get you. It can be overwhelming and even sometimes discouraging.
Can I just encourage you? There is a church for you.
Because God wants you to live out your faith in community, you can trust that he will provide you with a good church to do just that. And the best place to start is by inviting him into the process. Even now you can pray, “God, please give me wisdom and discernment as I seek a place to worship you with other believers.” God knows all of it, and he’s delighted to guide you in this.
As for the nitty-gritty of how it’s done, I’ve compiled a list of helps for you. They aren’t comprehensive, but they should get you going in the right direction.
1. The Bible should be primary. This is the most important thing. If the music is like a concert, and the people are friendly, and the programs are incredible, but there’s no strong biblical teaching, then what do those things matter? The pastor should be preaching from the Bible every Sunday and not just using it as a point of reference but as THE POINT. What else are you there for, if not to learn and apply the Word of God together?
2. Theology matters. This is another critical component of finding a good church. Here are some essential questions to answer: Do they believe the Bible is wholly true? Is the Bible authoritative for living? Do they believe in the physical life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus as the only means of our salvation? One good way to find answers is to look up their statement of faith or ask to see it. For a solid point of reference, check out the EFCA statement of faith (it’s what we use at Dwell).
3. They should be committed to the entire faith journey. Are they sharing the gospel with and baptizing new believers? Are they training up people in the faith? Are they remembering Christ’s sacrifice and looking forward to his second coming as they regularly celebrate communion? A church should see you through from start to finish on your faith journey, not just focus on one part.
4. What about community? So much of our Christian faith is lived out with other people. So, are they doing that well? Are they sharing life and ministry with one another? Is there a Bible study or smaller group you could join to get connected? Are they serving together? Think about where you would fit in and where you could serve if you joined.
5. Try out more than one church. In my experience, there are usually a number of “good churches” in any given area. But churches are like people—very different. Even churches in the same denomination can vary widely in expression. It’s good to give yourself some time to look into at least a couple of “good churches” in order to find one where you could grow and serve.
6. Ask questions. If you think you’ve found THE church for you, well that’s AMAZING! Now, set up a meeting with a pastor or elder to ask questions and find out more.
Now, may God himself bless you in this process. May he grow you not only in experience but in wisdom and faith as you trust the Holy Spirit to guide you. And may you find a place that will become home and a people who will become family. Amen.
READ MORE HERE about the importance of going to church.
Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder
Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!