How to Find the Right Church: What To Look For and 7 Signs of an Unhealthy One To Avoid
God wants us to meet with other believers. If you aren’t going to church at least twice a week what is keeping you? If you aren’t involved in a church you’re missing out on something beautiful.
There could be various reasons why you are not going to church. Whether you are looking for one or for personal reasons decide to stay away. There may be church hurt.
Or you could think as I did once, “You don’t have to go to church to have a relationship with God.” Which is true, but you need the encouragement and guidance of other Christians. You need to gather with other believers. Not only to pray for you but pray with you. You need community. And you can’t grow alone.
Does this convince you?
If it did, good. If not when the time comes at least you will know what to look for. There are things to consider when looking for a church.
What Do You Want?
Clarify what kind of church you want to go to. Do you want a small local one or a bigger congregation? You will make quick connections at a small one. And you most likely noticed right away. This is a good thing because members are able to pick up on new faves and want to get to know you.
At a bigger church, it may take a bit longer. It is bigger, there are more people, and it may take a while to meet every member. But that’s ok. And the sooner you get involved the sooner you’ll meet people.
You can have some input of what you want but at the end of the day what matters is where the Holy Spirit wants you. Because what you want may not match what you need. God knows what that is though. So through praying and discernment, you will know where you ought to go.
Also note, you want to go somewhere where you will feel conviction. And with a gentle nudge that pushes you to want to be a better Christian. And you want to go somewhere you are going to be spiritually fed. There are things you should have expectations for.
What to Look For
Finding a church is challenging for those who don’t know what they are looking for. If you are a new believer I recommend you read and study the Bible. This way you will know if the church teachings align with Scripture.
Here is what you should see in a solid church…
Opportunities to serve
Life groups/small groups
Encourages the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
Transparency of leaders and tithes/offerings
Don’t attend one time and decide you didn’t like it. Unless something didn’t sit well with you. As long as they are preaching the Gospel and getting everything right about Jesus you’re in a good place. But make sure there are little to few red flags too.
Signs of an Unhealthy Church
First, it is necessary to point out, the church is full of sinners. It is full of humans who make mistakes. Always show grace and compassion in such situations. But if nothing is done or changes it may be time to leave that place.
There are a few signs of an unhealthy one…
No accountability for leaders/elders
You don’t know where your tithes/offerings go
Preaching is all sunshine and lollipops and no talk about sin
Scripture isn’t applied in the correct context
Hypocrisy and double-standards
Members are unhappy/unfriendly
Gossip culture is apparent
Don’t let a bad experience deter you from finding the right church or continuing to go. Don’t allow church hurt keep you from having real, authentic relationships with others. You want to be surrounded by people who are going to pray for and with you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to Guide You
As mentioned before, the Holy Spirit will lead you where you need to go. But that doesn’t mean God won’t give you the desires of your heart. You can have some input on what you want in a church. First, you should get a clear idea of what you are to look for in a church.
It is also important to read and study the Bible so that what you hear taught aligns with Scripture. With prayer and discernment, you will find the right church. God is going to take you somewhere to grow. Or you may have something you have to offer to the church- something that is needed there.
A church with a solid biblical foundation full of praying, caring members is going to thrive in every way. But don’t forget churches are filled with people who make mistakes. But don’t let that keep you away. Life is better when you’re plugged into a church that loves God and loves people. Here, without a doubt, you will grow.
What are some things you look for in a church? What are some red flags for you? Let me know in the comments below.