What do you look for in a church? Are you happy with a church because the location is convenient, the people are nice, and the service simply makes you feel good? Or, do you expect more from your church?
Having been around for a little while; it hasn’t escaped my notice that most people who go to church don’t really have a handle on The Bible; often reading it and letting someone else tell them what the contents of The Good Book of the Lord really means. This is a serious problem, especially during this current day and age, because it means that people are more than likely being manipulated by a handful of folks who have put the glory of “their” churches name, along with their own, “First.”
While it is true that The Bible says that those who manipulate the word of God in ways that will lead others astray shall be damned for all eternity; you are still faced with a terrible choice once you’ve realized you’ve been misdirected. This is because, once you know that the church you’ve been attending has lead you astray, even if only in subtle ways, the Lord still requires you to cease and desist from following those ways.
In some situations, depending just how far down the path to the dark side a church might have headed, this may require that you leave behind a congregation comprised of people you have formed strong ties to in a myriad of ways. And, “Yes,” the prospect of having to do this really sucks. But, unfortunately, this may often be the best option for those who are truly seeking and ever deepening relationship with the Lord, especially if they ever expect to continue along the path of spiritual growth.
Personally; one of the most important things I look for in a church is the Pastor’s ability to present his messages with accuracy. For example; any pastor who is reckless enough to tell their congregation that any person who has never read The Bible would be ok if they only read John 17 is suspect in my book and to be avoided.
“Also,” how many times have we been told by church leaders that there is nothing more important than bringing someone new to know Jesus as their savior. How often have we been told that it’s important to help folks, who have never known the Lord, understand that “only” through their belief in Jesus can they ever hope to draw nearer to God, “Jesus’s Father?”
“Yet,” I know for a fact that when push comes to shove, when the chips are down, there are churches out there that will not hesitate for a second to put the needs of leadership first; making their own personal crisis more important than helping a member of their congregation draw nearer to the Lord through His son, “Jesus Christ.”
Thankfully, as indicated already, The Bible makes it clear that there is hell to be paid, “Quite Literally,” for those who engage in such activities; actually having the balls to try to cover their inexcusable behavior using The Bible itself as their shield. However, that requires us to wait for these little dirt bags to die a lot of the time, and I’m sure that “you” would like to find a church before the end of the next decade, “Just like I would.”
“Anyhow…” What I’m also watchful for when I look at a church I’m seriously considering getting involved with is how commercialized they are. Do their sermons follow the format of a Televangelist? Are they working pleas for money into their services; telling their congregation that they are 170,000.00 (for example) shy of their annual budget.
This is important because Jesus tells us that the Lord knows what we need before we even ask for it. “And,” how many times have churches and Televangelists pointed out this fact in one breath while making their sales pitch with the next?
You would think that the church would be able to practice what it preaches along this line, “Wouldn’t you?” So, how are the rules different for church leadership than they are for us? How is it that we are supposed to trust that God will provide and the heads of church are not supposed to trust the Lord will afford them in the same way?
These are the kinds of things I’m routinely watchful for; having a reasonable understanding of the core principles of The Bible already. “And,” I urge anyone who is thinking of getting involved in a church to read The Bible “First” before selecting a place to go.
It’s clear to me that churches are not the safe sanctuaries that we should be able to find them to be and that in many cases swimming in a tank full of hungry sharks would be preferable. In short; for a person serious about drawing nearer to the Lord, “Being a sheep is not an option.”
So, how do you find the best church to go to in Sussex County New Jersey? “Pray!” It’s not hard. But if you are still at a loss as to where you should begin (which technique will work) simply begin by reading The Bible from cover to cover; keeping your mind open and eyes peeled for those passages that will give you clues on how you too can talk to the Lord.
Of course; other material found under the “Spirituality” section of this site might help you, too. But, reading The Bible, cover to cover, is your best bet for getting started.
“However,” if that seems like too much trouble for you, just remember that, “The best things in life are worth working for.” Therefore, a personal relationship with the Almighty is no exception and well worth the effort.