What do you look for in a "church"?

I've been part of what the post-moderns call "organized" religion since I was six years old. I'm quite convinced that God established the "church"--imperfect though it is, and that His Son gave His life for the "church." The "church" is God's idea--not humanity's.

But I've also wondered, and still wonder "What should someone look for when making the search for a local church?"

Some things are obvious:

A clear commitment to the infallible Word of God.
A clear commitment to the Triune God.
A clear commitment to Jesus as the ONLY WAY to God the Father.
A clear commitment to the present ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the "church."

But what do you look for when you are in that search for a local church?

I must confess that my criteria has changed/altered/adjusted over the last many years.

When I was in college (1980-1985), pursuing the undergraduate degree, I was a member of one local church--and never even remotely considered finding another congregation.

When I entered the United States Air Force, my choices for corporate worship were somewhat limited, depending on where I was stationed at the time.

When I re-entered civilian life in August 1996, my choice was pretty clear--or at least I thought it would be. And then I changed local churches.

When I moved to Chicago, I came here with a "church plant" that didn't work out, and so I became a regular worshipper at The Moody Church here. I was very active in a few ministries, and only left when I felt the Holy Spirit pushing me elsewhere...

I returned to The Moody Church in November 2005 after being part of a congregation that I loved for three years--but sadly felt that I couldn't trust those "leading it" and knew the best thing I could do would be leave, painful as it was.

I hope I never have to look for another "church home"...not any time soon.

But what do you look for in a "local church"?


Gretchen said...

Hi Phil,
I look for some place that welcomes me and some place that I can do work for God.
Gretchen Lavender

Kathi said...

>>only left when I felt the Holy Spirit pushing me elsewhere...<<

Well said. Far too many people leave a church at the first sign of conflict, without attempt to resolve. We should be guided by God to where He wants us to be!

And that regardless of the church's "programs" and so on. Tho your "short list" regarding the orthodoxy of the church is excellent :)


Darrell said...

I look for a place where I can be the boss and run everyone off that does not agree with me. I look for a place where I am looked up to as a hero. I look for a church ...

Sorry Phil, I just could not resist.
Love ya man!