After accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, I’ve been a member of three Gospel-preaching churches. In hindsight, I can say the first two churches had some big problems but this last one has been a real blessing. Rare is the Christian who finds the “perfect” church, one that matches their beliefs and preferences 100%, but the Lord commands us to be in fellowship with other believers – we need each other – but we also need to use some discernment before affiliating with a particular church.
In the old days, all you had were the yellow pages to guide you in your search for a church. Churches were listed by denomination so if you were a nerdy type you already knew what core beliefs each church held to. Today, there’s a lot of non-denominational churches with trendy but mystifying names like Redesign Church, Movement Church, etc. You’ll have to check out their websites and peruse through their belief statements to find a church that matches up with your beliefs. There are plenty of good churches out there, so why worship at one whose teachings you can’t embrace wholeheartedly?
Visit several churches. Be wary of settling on the first church you visit. Different things are important to different people but some of the most important questions I ask about a church are:
- Does the pastor preach the Gospel and the entire Word of God? Some of today’s preachers preach the world (prosperity) instead of the Word.
- Is reaching the lost with the Gospel the priority?
- Does the church participate in ecumenical activities with “churches” that teach a different gospel? Run, don’t walk, away.
- Are members challenged to live the Word and to deepen their relationship with Christ and to serve, and are there opportunities for growth and service?
- Is some accountability in place or is the pastor a mini alpha and omega? If the church seems like it’s all about the pastor and elders instead of all about Jesus, keep looking.
- Is there joy in Lord when members gather together to worship and serve? Is love for Christ Jesus and the brethren and sistren palpable?
Put your trust in the Lord to lead you to a faithful and nourishing fellowship.
Maybe you’re thinking, why’s he bringing all this up? Well, I recently ran across a news item about a group of Christians who were picketing outside of Joel Osteen’s church. I’m not a fan of Osteen or his prosperity gospel so I was curious about the protesters. They turned out to be members of the Church of Wells down in Wells, Texas. I read the information below and this is some dangerous stuff, folks. Read and study the Word for yourself. Be discerning. Don’t become subservient to some controlling pastor who seeks his glory rather than the Lord’s. Be cautious. This church thrives on rancor. They have a “bunker” mentality rather than a “reaching the world for Christ” mentality. The mandatory ankle-length dresses and long hair for women is a flashing red light. Paul Washer has some good advice regarding churches like the Church of Wells in the video above.
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” – Acts 17:11