A friend sent me an email with an article entitled “7 Things To Look For in a Good Church” and then asked what my list of things to seek in a church would look like if I made one. After thinking about it, I came up with the following points:
1) A church that fosters loving community and is genuinely welcoming toward newcomers.
2) One in which the worship is genuine and heartfelt, and not just following the latest trends. It is contemporary in style but also includes traditional elements from time to time, such as hymns or liturgy. Worship is participatory by the entire congregation as much as possible, and not just those on the platform up front. (See 1 Cor. 14: 26-33, 39-40)
3) A church in which Scripture is read, taught, explained, and lived in preaching and teaching that speaks to the spirit and not just the mind. The goal is that faith would be “caught,” not just taught, and to teach people how to live as Christians, not just to give people more head knowledge. The Bible is seen as infallible and the final authority for all of life.
4) A congregation in which the church and its leadership follows the Holy Spirit’s leading, even if that takes things out of the usual order or sequence of events. The people are allowed and encouraged to move freely in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit leads, though order is to be maintained (See again 1 Cor. 14: 26-33, 39-40).
5) A church that is led by a group of elders who are all qualified to preach and teach and who share in these responsibilities together. This board of elders and the church may be led by one or more elders who are pastors. (See Acts 20: 17-18, 28-32 and 1 Peter 5:1-4)
6) A congregation in which the leadership of the church recognizes that God can and often does speak not only to the leaders but to anyone in the church, and structures church life in such a way as to allow people to share with the leaders and the body what God has been saying to them. (See again 1 Cor. 14: 26-33, 39-40)
7) A church in which when necessary the leadership administers loving discipline to those who stray (see Matthew 18:15-18, Galatians 6:1-5, and James 5:19-20; see also 1 Corinthians 5)
8) A church in which the leadership and the pastor are not lone rangers but are accountable to some higher body outside the church, whether it be a denomination or association of churches.
I’m sure there are other qualities that are important to consider when seeking a church. What would your list look like? What would you change about my list or add to it?