Being in the position I am in, I tend to talk with people about a lot about different churches and why they go there. If I am going to be bluntly honest, I get concerned about some of the answers I receive. I have people talking to me about being spiritually dry but they don’t want to address it because….
– their family goes there and they will get a guilt trip if they move
– they are so involved in commitments to roles in the church, they don’t want to let anyone down
– they are groupies of the worship band or the personality of the pastor
– it’s close to home
– the church has great and entertaining things for our kids
– the church is big enough that they don’t bother me to get involved
The cold hard truth is that while some of these things might have merit within the balance of a healthy church (some not all), if you are spiritually dry or worse yet, comfortable and you are not making a change because of the above or similar excuses, there is a concern.
For example, the “family” struggle is a common thing I hear (and one we struggled with before). People who feel God is moving them or wants more for them but their family who goes to the church would be upset. The simple fact is Jesus was very clear who wins when it comes to following His calling or choosing family over Him. We must be cautions of what we think is well intentioned but actually dishonors Him.
I am not trying to talk everyone into leaving their churches, a matter of fact you can find a recent blog from me on that here. However, I am saying that not all churches are created equal for all people and the enemy is deadening “the church” by keeping us in ineffective places.
So let me ask you, if you are a church goer, why do you go to the church you go to? I’ll share some of the things the Bible tells us we should be looking for in a church.
A place where the Word is taught – Paul says in 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Are the messages coming from the Word? Are you encouraged and growing in the Word? Are you challenged and convicted as the Word leads to the moving of the Holy Spirit? These things are important for a healthy and vibrant Christian walk. Don’t sell this area short.
A place where you are encouraged and able to be used – Also in this verse it shares that people are to be “equipped for every good work”. Are you at a place where you are encouraged to grow in who Christ made to be or are they just filling roles with bodies? Or worse yet, is the church set up where you can just hide and not do anything at all?
No where in the Bible do we see people being called to “church” to just partake of what the church offers and not be a participating part. Quite the contrary, you are to be equipped to serve the Lord to the glory of His name.
A place to worship the Lord – What do you look for in your music at a church? Songs you heard on the radio? Great voices and top notch musicians? A great show with lights and a “relevant” environment? Again, nothing wrong with any of these things in and of themselves but John 4: 24 says “His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth“. Much of my past centers around music and I have been in places where I have felt the Spirit and places where I just felt nauseous and none of it had to do with the music style or talent level. I have see more from a women who has lost her voice due to old age singing an old hymn in a nursing home than I have with top notch bands in coliseums with screaming fans.
Now of course, worship is so much more than music. However, since many think of music first, I thought it to be a best example to get things going.
A place where there is an expectation, training, and celebration of individuals taking the gospel message of Jesus Christ to the world – Too many people want to sit back, maybe write a check, and then hear stories from others about how the church is leading people to the Lord. However, the Great Commission is for the church as the whole through each individual as we work together.
Are you taught how to share His message? Do you know what to say if someone asks you “What is the “gospel message”? Are you terrified someone will ask you what salvation means?
Peter instructs in I Peter 3:15 to “Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope you have.” Are you equipped to give this answer and encouraged to reach out to others for the Lord?
These are just a few bullet points to get you thinking and they are far from exhaustive (feel free to add more that you see in Scripture in the comments). For the most part, it’s to get some evaluation going about where you are plugged in. If it’s where God wants you to be and He is building you in these ways, awesome! Praise God that you are blessed! However, if you are plugged in someplace that is not meeting up to the Word, it time to communicate, pray, and if needed….move to where God is leading.