We all have different methods of finding a local church to attend. Some of us go where we have the most friends. Others pick churches for their amazing worship team or inspiring sermons. Some of us like a more traditional feel, while others prefer a more contemporary vibe. Truth be told, many of us will attend several different churches throughout our lifetime. Our personal preferences change, we move to new cities, we get married, etc. We all have our reasons for attending a new church. So is there a “right” way to go about choosing a church to attend?
Here are 4 things to consider when choosing a church to attend:
- Remember the purpose of attending church. When you try a new church, what is your method of evaluation? Are you listening to the music? Do you analyze the pastor’s sermon? Do you scan the announcements for opportunities to connect with others? How important is the children’s program?
None of these questions are wrong to ask. In fact, my husband and I pondered each of these questions when selecting our current church. But what is your reasoning behind these questions? The purpose of attending church is spiritual growth. We grow closer to Jesus as we worship Him in song. The sermons should be challenging and inspire you to grow. Connecting with other believers is also a large part of spiritual growth as we encourage one another and keep each other accountable. And for my family, a good children’s program is a must. I want to know my girls are learning about Jesus and growing as well.
- Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. Sometimes God calls us to a place that may not be our first choice on the surface. And other times, God stirs your heart to move on towards something new even when you’re attending a good church. The truth is, there are many good churches out there. God calls us to different places for different reasons. He sees the big picture and knows exactly where you should be in every season of your life. Trust the Holy Spirit and His peace as you make a decision.
- Don’t allow emotional hurts or frustrations to dictate where you attend. This one is hard. What do you do when you attend a church with someone who deeply hurt you? While I can’t tell you whether you should stay or leave, I CAN tell you that this should never be your sole reason for leaving. The Bible tells us that iron sharpens iron. God often uses our hurts to cause spiritual growth. We learn to forgive in a whole new way. Sometimes it is good to remove yourself from a toxic situation, but other times God wants us to work through our pain and remain where we are.
- It truly is all about growth. Spiritual growth is always the end-goal. It is the primary purpose of attending church. We grow personally in our own walk with Jesus, and we encourage others to grow as we build relationships and serve. When choosing a church, make this your top priority.
When choosing a church to attend, remember that the ultimate goal is to meet with fellow believers in order to grow in Christ Jesus.
It’s not about stellar music, eloquent and practical messages, or an abundance of programs. It’s all about Jesus and growing together in Him.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.