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Seeking a church home


Tim Johnson Preacher’s Point

Loyalty is one of my attributes. I am loyal to my God, family, church, country, and employer. The list goes on, but those are the main things.

You may have noticed that God and church are listed separately. That is because they are not one and the same – the church is not my God, but I serve my God through the church. Of course, not all service to God is done through the church. For example, buying groceries for a needy family can be done personally and not necessarily through the church.

Churches serve multiple purposes in the Christian life. At church, we can learn from the Scriptures, have the Holy Spirit work on our hearts and lives, share prayer requests and pray with other believers, and fellowship with each other; we can serve God there; again, the list is nearly endless.

However, sometimes, Christians may find themselves seeking a church to join. Seeking a church home is far more than liking the Preacher or whether or not you have friends already going there. Here are some guidelines for selecting a church.

Pray. That should be the first thing we do in any endeavor. Ultimately, you should be involved in the church God wants you to be a part of.

Know what you believe and why you believe it. A trend I have noticed over the last decade or so is believers going to churches where they do not believe as the church teaches. Unless a person does not care about what they believe, this will cause problems. The Bible explains


From page A4

that fellowship cannot happen when parties disagree.

Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

Every Christian should know what they believe. Within those beliefs, there should be a list of nonnegotiables. For instance, I believe salvation comes by grace through faith in the sacrificial blood of Christ. Nothing added. Baptism, communion, and church membership are all helpful to the Christian life, but none of these are essential to salvation.

However, some churches teach that baptism is a requirement for eternal life.

Consider the confusion inside a church if teachers taught various doctrines in various classes. Even if you are not planning on teaching, it is still difficult for the congregation.

Think of it like this. In first grade, the teacher tells you that two plus two equals four, and in second grade, the teacher says, “Two plus two equals five.

If anyone cares about their beliefs, different doctrines inside a church will eventually cause division and possibly a church split. Know what you believe and why you believe it and seek a church of like beliefs.

Listening carefully to sermons, reading the church’s statement of faith and constitution, and having several indepth conversations with the Pastor and even a deacon or two will help discover what a church believes.

Moving on to another point.

When looking for a church, it seems like most people look for how they can be served instead of how they can serve.

For example – A family with a couple of teenagers is looking for a church. While visiting, they notice there are only three other teens there. Wanting a church with a vibrant, active youth group, they decide to look elsewhere.

First off, prayer is not part of that last paragraph.

The two teens in our visiting family nearly doubled the size of the teen group. Without prayer, how do we know the two new kids are not what God has in mind to spark the church’s young people? Without prayer, how do we know that the mom and dad of our visiting family are not the adult leaders in the youth group the church has been praying for?

The visiting family looked at the church through lenses that only saw the already established instead of lenses of faith that could see what God could do there.

You may not be a family with two teenagers, but this is only an example. There are multiple ways for someone to serve in a church. Some jobs are seen by everyone, while other tasks are only noticed when they are not done, like cleaning the restroom. I believe God has something in mind for all His children to do and passes out talents and resources accordingly.

In summary, changing churches requires a lot of prayer regardless of your reason for changing. Know what you believe and why you believe it and look for churches that share those beliefs. Look for a place you can serve.

Don’t view the church how it is; view the church as if you are a part of it. Lastly, make sure it is where God wants you to be.

I will steal my final words here with something our Pastor in Germany, Brother Minnick, told us when we moved back to America. What he told us emphasizes the importance of being part of a church – “If you can’t find a church – start one.”

Tim “ Preacher” Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind.

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