March 15, 2020

How to choose a "good" church?

How to choose a "good" church?

A good church for you to join would be one

(1) Where The Word is preached

In today's world, there is the rise of "the professionals" (the "certified" pros) and the "fix it" mentality (a car-like servicing visit should do the job).  However, the Word of God ministered by His ministers/people and lived out visibly in the local churches that He had established has been His design along along to convey His message to the watching world.

Doing church without due regard to the Word implies that God has not really thought through carefully what is required for the health of his church and might have missed out what is essential for church health.  

Is the church you are considering one where there is the teaching of the whole Bible through the years? Or is the focus on some "pet topics" only that are repeated, while ignoring the rest? Is the Word delved deep into, or is the Word just another stepping stone or platform for the preacher to step on as a nice spiritual sounding introduction but proceeding to preach human wisdom subsequently?

(2) Where the sacraments are administered (Holy Communion, Water Baptism)

The Holy Communion and the Water Baptism are sacraments commanded by Jesus, for the benefit of the followers.

Are these sacraments carried out from time to time, with sufficient regularity?

(3) Where there are the elements of evangelism or mission——the gospel outreach.

Accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour and LORD has its personal dimensions.  However, the LORD's will also envisaged the believers' participation in world mission to bring the gospel and the blessings of ?:a life that knows the true and living God" to the rest of the earth.

Furthermore, salvation by faith is a starting point for a person's entry into the God's community.  But the gospel's ultimate aim has the full restoration / redemption of all Creation in mind——Creation restored and functioning as intended by the Creator, for the Creator's glory.

(4) Where it is a place that you not only GET but is also a place where you have the opportunity to GIVE invest your resources (time, energy, ministry) to support the above items.

A good church is a place where you not only is able to "get"——receiving the nurturing and spiritual blessings that comes from the healthy functioning of the church.  It is also a place where you have the reasonably good opportunities to "give" towards the health of that local church.  Participation begets belonging and ownership.

The inability to participate and contribute towards the church's maintenance and growth would somehow hinder your sense of belonging to that local community.  Contribution is not only to satisfy the "Actualisation" associated with human needs.  It is also God's command for you to contribute your gifts, time and resources to build up that local church.

It is easy to transfer money online to the church. However, the sense of belonging and intimacy within the local church takes more than that!  Are you a passer-by or an organ within that organism?

(5) Where you know others and many others know you (community).

Item (5) is unique and hard to come by.  The diagnostic questions to ask are these:

Does the pastors of that church know your name? Does anyone even know you exists? How many people can actually greet you by name when you arrive at that place? Does anybody even notice you when you come and go?

In the end, you must know you own expectations of what church is according to Scripture, and be prepared to pay the price for that intimate and ideal church participation dream to come to pass.