Choosing a church is difficult. While you know it’s something you do in pursuit of God, you have personal preferences that you want to meet. It’s not bad to have an idea of what you like and don’t like, but your choice should ultimately boil down to the necessities of your faith. As there is no perfect person, there is also no perfect church. It’s best to abandon any expectation that you’ll find a congregation that’ll tick off everything in your checklist.
There are requirements, however, that you shouldn’t overlook or compromise. Perhaps you can ignore the dated decor and absence of fast-paced music, but you should not ignore these four characteristics at all costs.
You must analyze a church’s theology before you submit to it. How do they interpret the Bible? Are all their practices and beliefs aligned with a sound theological explanation? Where do they stand regarding certain issues in society?
The teaching method is also crucial in assessing whether you’re fit for it. While it’s good that the preachers give you new insights on the Gospel, they must do it in a way you’ll understand. You’ll also need to reflect on how their approach to studying the scriptures and preaching them benefit your own spiritual growth.
Believe it or not, leadership can make or break a church. In no way does it reflect God’s sovereignty or ability to provide despite human error, but there’s a reason why King Solomon in the Bible asked for wisdom instead of riches.
Leadership defines the entire church’s approach to crucial decisions like financial management, staff supervision, and the entire congregation’s growth. A sound church won’t have trouble with you asking how leadership roles are filled. Are they chosen based solely on availability and skill, or are each of them required to undergo church leadership training?
Do the current church authorities value transparency with regards to how the money is being spent? How do they monitor the small group leaders to ensure that they’re disciplining people according to the church’s values and the Bible’s instructions?
Look for those with leadership that is Bible-based and aligns with what you know is true and just.
This is the part where you consider the ambiance and the attitude of the congregation. You’re not out to spot mistakes and find things you don’t like. Rather, you’re assessing whether there’s a sense of community in the first place. Do the people engage one another and take time to pray together? How often do they meet, and what activities do they do? Can you be a part of a smaller group, and do they encourage activities that aren’t purely spiritual?
You also have to think about your preference when it comes to population. Are you more at ease with a small crowd or a big one? Some people feel a smaller congregation allows for more personal interactions, while some feel they participate better in big crowds.
A lot of Christians make the mistake of prioritizing style over theology, community, and leadership. While style is the most apparent aspect of the church, it shouldn’t hinder your spiritual growth and decisions. The consideration you should make when it comes to style isn’t aesthetic, but whether or not the church enables you to worship God the way you should. If there are too many distractions and unnecessary elements that remove your focus from God during a church service, it would be best to back away and find another church.
Be the Right Kind of Picky
You should do your part to protect your faith at all costs. If it means you have to be meticulous in scrutinizing the churches you’re eyeing, then there should be no shame in it. Do it with the right attitude and goals in mind. Above all, pray for it. There’s nothing like prayer to lead you to the right church.