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Church Hunting?

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Church Hunting?

I am often asked by friends who are church hunting on what to look for in a church, since I am a pastor and church planter. Here is my answer:

Just remember that there are no perfect churches out there. There won’t be any churches that are exactly what you want or she wants. When you reflect on that statement you realize how backward our thinking is. Church isn’t about us. It’s about Jesus and His glory. If you go into the search looking for what you want, that makes you a consumer and not a worshipper. A taker and not a giver. To that end here are some non-negotiables that I see from Scripture and other things it deems important:

–Biblical expositional preaching. The pastor should preach directly from the Bible, not self-help or motivational speeches. He may not be the most entertaining preacher but rather engage you with God’s Word.

–Biblical church leadership. The church should be run by qualified male elders that may be vocational or lay elders.

-Worship in Spirit and Truth. Put personal preferences aside concerning style, i.e. contemporary vs traditional. Music should be doctrinally sound and emotionally genuine as we worship God not the style.

-Practice of the Ordinances. A church should be regularly and rightly practicing baptism for new believers as the initiating rite and serving the Lord’s Supper as the ongoing reminder of Christ’s redemptive work.

-Gospel-centeredness. The life and ministry of everything in the church should revolve around the Good News for lost people. Everything should point to our problem of sin and the solution in Jesus.

-Multi-generational fellowship. A healthy church has people from all ages and walks of life that fellowship with one another and learn from one another in a variety of personal and public contexts.

– Intentional evangelism. There should be a concerted vision for reaching the lost and fulfilling the Great Commission. I’m not talking about big events or clever programs. I’m talking about a culture of evangelism where the Gospel is central to every conversation and gathering. The preacher should include a clear gospel message in each sermon and the congregation should be ready with the Gospel at all times.

– Intentional discipleship. There should be lots of opportunity for members to grow in their understanding of God’s Word and living it out in everyday life with one another. Mature disciples are those who worship, walk, and work for Christ.

-Intentional membership. The best way to carry out the ministry of the church and the “one anothers” of Scripture happen with an active and intentional membership process. This means more than just getting on a role and less than a binding contract to sign your life and finances away. Rather church membership is like a marriage commitment where you vow to love and prioritize and sacrifice for the sake of the others and they in turn make the same commitment to you. This is the best way for elders to shepherd well and the sheep to be cared for well and church discipline to be practiced.

At Redemption it is our hope to exemplify each of these things the best we can. We rest on our 4 Pillars and push ahead pursuing the fulfillment of the Great Commission.