So what do you do when you are ready to stop shopping and decide to join in what God is doing at church? In Stop Dating the Church, Joshua Harris has some suggestions for the non-negotiables. Certainly there are different things you want to look for as you begin your search for a local church to join. Harris is fairly astute in bringing forward the questions to ask about a potential church to join. Here are his questions:

 

1.      Is this a church where God’s Word is faithfully taught?

2.      Is this a church where sound doctrine matters?

3.      Is this a church in which the gospel is cherished and clearly proclaimed?

4.      Is this a church committed to reaching non-Christians with the gospel?

5.      Is this a church whose leaders are characterized by humility and integrity?

6.      Is this a church where people strive to live by God’s Word?

7.      Is this a church where I can find and cultivate godly relationships?

8.      Is this a church where members are challenged to serve?

9.      Is this a church that is willing to kick me out?

10.  Is this a church I’m willing to join “as is” with enthusiasm and faith in God?

 

For those who are overwhelmed by laundry lists of things to ask or things to discover, Harris boils the list down to an easily digestible three-point plan for finding the right church. He says that you want a church that teaches God’s Word, values God’s Word, and lives God’s Word.

In this I see some truths for those who are looking for the right local church. Don’t be caught up in what a church has to offer you: Do they have the right children’s, youth, or singles program? Are they willing to accommodate my needs? Or are they already doing so (this is even better)? What you should be seeking is more an atmosphere where the people are living and doing the things that promote God’s kingdom and kingdom living. Certainly no church will be achieving perfection in any of these vital areas. But look for a church where Kingdom Living is the focus. Look also for a place where you will be challenged to use your talents or expertise to further that kingdom work. Remember, serving God is about God and not about you. Your place in worship is to bring glory to God and His work, not build a name for yourself.

At the same time, I see a call to the church and especially the earthly leaders: retrain your focus on godliness and Kingdom issues. Our role as the church is to build up the Kingdom of God, not to build up our own kingdom.

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