In generations past, most people attended a church in their neighborhood, often within walking distance, and/or attended a church of the same denomination as their parents and grandparents before them (Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, etc.) But these days things are very different. Neither close proximity to home nor denominational loyalty are significant factors for most people in choosing a church to attend. So what is important? What kind of things should one look for beyond the programs and services offered? Here are a few questions that may be helpful for you to ask as you consider connecting with a church.
1. Is the Bible clearly accepted as the word of God and the basis of all the preaching, teaching and mission of the congregation?
2. Is Jesus Christ unapologetically recognized and worshiped as Savior and Lord?
3. Is the church outward-looking and mission-focused or only occupied with maintaining itself?
4. Are the people genuinely glad to be there and enjoying being with each other or do they just seem to be putting in their time?
5. Do you sense the presence and love of God in worship and through the people?
6. Are there opportunities, beyond Sunday morning, to help children, youth and adults continue to grow in their faith, deepen relationships and serve others in meaningful ways?
7. Do you go home challenged with something to think about and apply in your life during the week?