How to choose a church



In light of the several posts I’ve written regarding our process of choosing a church, I thought I’d throw this out here for discussion. These guidelines and questions are some we have asked pastors and ourselves as we’ve visited the churches in our area. I think using tools like this one are helpful in keeping the search God-centered rather than man-centered. Without weighty, thought-provoking questions like these, I’m afraid we may settle on a place that simply suits our fancies. Read “How to Choose a Church.” Then comment back here to let me know what you think. Did they leave anything out? Is it too much? Which questions are the most important to consider in your opinion?

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11 thoughts on “How to choose a church

  1. Wow! It is an exhaustive list of questions, for sure! I think our situation is slightly different in that my husband is a pastor. I know that for us we wanted to be on staff that was a team. A big issue for us was the leadership of the pastor. Does he have a vision, both long and short term for the church. Too many times when we needed the support of our pastor in a certian situation, we didn’t get it. Now, being at a place where Jason is supported and challenged is a true blessing.Is the church growing? One thing I didn’t notice was is the church evangelistic or inward focused? Some of these questions seem to be more focused on a church meeting all of my needs and not on meeting the needs of the unsaved. Church for us at this point in our journey is about serving others and reaching out. It is about being connected to other believers and doing life together. That does not mean that the gospel is not preached or watered down. I think it is a mistake when people think that for a church to be reaching unbelievers then it is not holding to the Truth of Scripture. God’s Word is the only thing that changes people, not a feel good message that does not bring conviction or challenge us in our faith.For us, most of these questions are answered from the pulpit on a regular basis. We know what are church stands for, why we exist and trust God to continue to lead. Lastly, you can find the perfect church fit, but if the Holy Spirit does not guide you to stay than you have to continue the search. What may look like a less than perfect fit may be where God wants to plant you and your family. I pray you and your husband find a place soon! I know the search can feel unending at times!

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  2. I looked over some of the questions- it’s a lot! I’m sure 99% of people don’t give much thought to the doctrinal beliefs of a church when they seek to change churches. They just want to feel “at home”. I work at a church (as a music director) but if I were looking, I would definitely be discerning about it. Thanks for posting on this topic!And it was good to see you visiting me. I haven’t been here for a while but love what you’re doing with the book study! I’ll be back soon! Have a blessed weekend.

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  3. We went through a season of looking. It is a long story that I will spare the details but in the end we moved our house, job and our lifestlye (from a small town to a big city) we loved to be apart of our current church. It was worth every penny, moment and headache. We are apart of a Sovereign Grace Church and it has redefined our experience of church. I will pray for you as you search. Our church is about to plant a church in Washington State if your anywhere near!

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  4. Well, Mrs. “M”, I for one would love to hear the details of your story! Karl and I have thrown around the idea of moving, but are pretty sure we can find something here–at least we’re still hoping. We love being close to our extended family. It would be very hard to move away from them. Of course, we may not have to move far…

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  5. Thanks for posting this. I really appreciate the link since we’re in the same boat with looking for a church. I showed it to my husband (yes, he reads your blog too!). Since he only got 3 hours of sleep today we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

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  6. I loved this list! It is exhaustive and seems to include almost everything :)but I would ask church membership & discipline questions. It is rare to find a church today that places true cost and value on church membership. It is also rare to find a church that consistently practices discipline among members. We love Mark Dever’s, The Deliberate Church and The 9Marks of a Healthy Church but I would certainly add these questions to our list.I would never base our decision on church growth. We left a church that grew over a number of years and visited another church that is in the middle of incredible growth and is building a mammoth-size campus just 2 miles from our house. Every program you can fathom, all the bells and whistles that will draw tons of children and youth, Saturday night services, great systems in place so that no one falls through the cracks and even a preacher that preaches expositively (mostly), but church discipline is unheard of (just as with most churches). The consequences of that is far-reaching and more costly than most people realize.Our church is small and growing minimally (numbers-wise)*but* I have never been a part of a church that is more hungry for God’s word and more eager to be obedient to that. Jeremiah (“the broken-hearted prophet”) preached & preached with no recorded converts but it never changed his obedience to the Lord’s commands nor did it put into question the message that he preached or his “approach”. What is impressive to man is often unimpressive to God (and vise-versa)The comment I most often hear from people is, “we would love to come to your church, but you guys don’t have ___________” (insert either building, programs, youth group, praise band, etc.)They want the *STUFF* instead of the Word of God! OK, putting on the brakes now because I feel a sermon comin’ on!!!Leslie, you guys have been so deliberate in this search. Certainly the Lord is honoring that already in the careful ways you are worshipping and studying His Word as a family. And most certainly He will honor that in providing the *fellowship of believers* that He desires for you to be a part of. I know we are beneficiaries of the wisdom that He is revealing in you through your blog!Blessings!

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  7. Hello, Leslie,This is my first time here. I rarely ever subscribe with the first reading, but there is much here that is edifying.I was surprised to find a link to my blog in the side bar. Thank you!Looking forward to getting to know you better,K

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  8. In case I didn’t make it clear; I subscribed! I’ll be back!I sense a kindred spirit (and it just wasn’t Edwards’ resolutions, hehehe)

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  9. Kim from Hiraeth–I’m so glad you stopped by. I’ve only visited you a couple of times, but I knew from a just a couple of pages that we are like-minded. I didn’t hesitate to put your blog on my sidebar!

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