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Friday, February 16, 2007

Finding the Right Church

What do you look for in a church home? I've struggled with this question as I'm sure that a lot of people have. Finding a Biblically-based, God focused church where you and your family can grow and give back should be a priority for all believers (that is, unless you're already in one).

I remember moving to Tennessee 5 years ago and thinking "Now, what do we do for a church home?"

I recently came across an interesting article that talks about "interviewing" churches by calling the pastor before visiting them, saving you Sundays and heartache.

Below is a lost of 24 questions that I got from CWN:

1. What is man's biggest problem?

Seeker sensitive and felt-needs churches focus on man’s hurts and problems. The Bible says that man’s biggest problem is sin.


2. What must a man do to inherit eternal life?

Repent and trust is the Biblical answer. If the word “repent” is never used, say, “Thank you.”


3. How do you deliver the salvation message?

Ask the pastor to describe specifically what he says. Does he encourage people to simply say a prayer? Does he tell people to ask Jesus into their hearts? The salvation message should include: God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, God’s response (hell), God’s kindness (Jesus on the cross), man’s response (repentance and faith).


4. How hard is it to become a Christian?

The “formula” is simple, doing it is not. It is not easy to believe.


5. How often do you talk about sin, righteousness and judgment?

Balance is key. This should not be the only emphasis, but it should be a regular emphasis.


6. How seeker sensitive is your church?

It is o.k. for a church to be “seeker aware” but seeker sensitive means that they lean toward seekers and not the saved.


7. Who do you do church for, seekers or members?

“Both” is not acceptable. Church should be done for members and the unsaved are welcome to attend.


8. Do you dumb down your sermons?

If he says yes, he is probably not trying to wean his members from milk to meat. Answers like, “We try to make our sermons accessible to everyone” are sermons that are not meaty.


9. What is your mixture of topical vs. expository preaching?

Topical preaching is fine, but if a pastor never or rarely preaches expositionally (verse by verse), then you are going to be learning from the pastor and not God’s Word.


10. Do your sermons emphasize theology or are they relevant?

Everyone should say their sermons are relevant, what you are looking for is if they teach theology.


11. Describe your youth programs.

If fun and games is the major (and usually first) emphasis, you have a youth program that is trying to compete with MTV.


12. Describe your evangelism programs.

Don’t just accept, “We have an evangelism committee.” Dig. Are they serious about saving
souls?


13. What church growth model do you follow?

Hopefully they don’t have one. Churches should be reaching out to the lost, but churches that are plugged into new church growth models tend to follow man’s modern ideas rather than the Bible.


14. How much do you give to missions and the hungry?

Again, this reveals the heart of the church. While most churches give to missions, many never consider the poor.


15. Do you believe the Bible contains no errors or contradictions?

No equivocation allowed here.


16. Do you believe in a literal 6 day creation?

Jesus did (Matt.19:4).


17. Do you believe in a literal hell and eternal punishment?

Jesus did (Matt.25).


19. When you distribute the Lord's Supper, do you emphasize the need to examine yourself?

Paul did (I Cor.11:27-32).


20. Can a person who is living in a persistent lifestyle of sin inherit eternal life?

Sinners can certainly be forgiven, but practicing sinners cannot inherit eternal life (I John 3:8,9).


21. Does your church exercise church discipline?

Paul said we should (I Cor.5).


22. Do Sunday school teachers, nursery, and youth volunteers fill out an application to answer questions about their core beliefs, or are all volunteers accepted?


23.What are the essentials of the faith?

Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Salvation through faith alone, the inerrancy of Scripture.


24. Do you have a cross in your sanctuary?

Many remove it because they fear it will turn off seekers. They should glory in the cross. The cross should be the central focus of every church.

I hope this helps!

3 comments:

Steve & Tiffany said...

Hey George,
I remember when we first came to FBC. We were already believers, but we focused on one thing. After we visited, Ken Hubbard and Pat Hood called the house the next day to know more about us. Immediately we felt at home. It is only the last 5 years we have really gotten involved instead of just sitting and soaking, but we're so glad God led us here, because through this body of believers and staff at FBC, we have grown so much spiritually. Many of the things on this list I can say FBC follows. Even though many come, it may take time for many of them to step out of their comfortable seat, and begin to grow and step out on faith like you are trying to do and as Tiff and I are. Keep throwing out the challenges brother!

Steve

George Romano said...

Steve (and Tiff, of course),

Thanks so much for your post. I appreciate it. I thank God for your example and for you obedienve to God's calling. I know that it's not easy, but wanted to tell you that you all are a great inspiration.

God bless,
George

Steve & Tiffany said...

Iron sharpens iron! We get inspiration from you all as well!!

Steve