“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity – the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5 NLT)
By God’s grace my wife and I have found a church that, to me, is the closest to the Biblical standard as any church of which I’ve been a part. Ask the Lord to lead you to a fellowship of Jesus followers who love Him, love each other and are seeking daily to live out their faith in practical ways by loving the community in which God planted them. They exist. We found one.
Many churches of which I’ve been a part, had one thing in common. They all said: “We’re very loving here.” Momma bears love their cubs, but they’ll hurt anyone who messes with them. I’ve been hurt a few times by these “loving” churches, so be careful.
Finding a church family is sometimes difficult. Why is that? Because they’re comprised of imperfect human beings. I had to come to the realization, even if I found a perfect church, the moment they opened their arms to me, they’d cease to be perfect! Having said that, I do believe God specializes in reconciling human beings, not only to Himself, but to each other.
Not knowing your specific situation, I can’t address all of your personal concerns; however, I can share things that I’ve learned about churches and what I was looking for in a church family, as they come to my mind.
- I was looking for a family to whom I could belong. If all I wanted to do was attend, I could watch services online. I wanted to know beyond a surface level, not only what the church believed, but what they “walked” in their daily lives. There’s only one way to know that – get involved.
- Find a place of service right away. My wife is a retired nurse, so she volunteered for the Medical Team. My heart is to meet people, so I volunteered as a Greeter. Every church, regardless of size, needs volunteers. If they have a “Guest Services” area, or a card you can fill out, do whatever you can to get connected with someone. Everyone you meet will give you a “flavor” of what the church is like. If you attend more than three or four weeks and can’t find an avenue to help you get connected, move on.
- The messages should be Bible-centered. The speaker may not explain the Bible “verse by verse,” but should focus on God’s Word, seeking to give you a better understanding of what the Bible says and what application(s) God has for us based on His Word.
- Take notes of what happens during corporate worship. If you want to know what a church believes, listen to what they sing. When I came to the Lord it was in the 60’s, so we sang hymns and choruses. Where I worship now the songs are contemporary and I LOVE it! Our worship is joy-filled and Christ-centered, and I’ve made it a practice to carry tissues with me to church, because I rarely experience a time of corporate worship without crying. If you can’t sense God’s presence when you worship, first check your own heart, and if your spirit is in tune, ask the Lord to let you know what’s wrong.
There are a few more things on my heart I’ll share tomorrow.
Blessings, Ed 😊