Here’s part two of an article by John MacArthur. This is solid advice.
With this wisdom you’ll be able to sort through all the churches in Green Bay to find a good one.
What should I look for when choosing a new church home? (Part 2) By John MacArthur
Examining Its Structure
Once you are satisfied with the foundational aspects of the church, you need to look at its structural components. Recently I walked through a new house under construction. I noticed posts that weren’t plumb, seams that didn’t meet properly, and beams that were crooked and uneven. Those were glaring structural defects in a home advertised as being built by “the last of the true craftsmen”!
The structural components of a local church provide not only its strength, but also dictate the character and direction of its ministry. Those components include:
Church Government. Find out if the church’s leaders function according to New Testament principles (1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:17-20; Titus 1:4-9; Heb. 13:7, 17). Do they understand the centrality of Christ as head of the church and His desire to rule His church through…godly men (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col.1:18; 1 Cor. 11:3)?
Evidence of Order. The church’s ministry, including its services, teaching, and administration, should have an obvious sense of order. Some church services exhibit as much lack of planning as do homes with poorly thought-out floor plans. Some churches handle the Lord’s resources and work in such a haphazard way that they bring shame to the name of Christ. As Paul said in speaking of the church, “Let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Cor. 14:40).
Functional Goals and Objectives. As you investigate a new church, find out if the leadership has set any goals. Has the church planned for future progress and direction? Does it have in mind particular methods of reaching those goals? Like Paul, we as a church need “to run in such a way, as not without aim” (1 Cor. 9:26).
The Size. When purchasing a home, some people prefer the warmth and quaintness of a small home in a quiet rural setting. Others prefer living in a larger structure in an urban area. The same is true when considering the size of a church. Some Christians love being involved in a large urban ministry with hundreds or even thousands of people. Others feel lost in the vastness of such a ministry and fare much better in a smaller congregation. Again, finding your niche in the Body of Christ requires the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Seeing How It Functions
When satisfied that the foundation and structure are what they should be, the wise home buyer will then look at how functional the house is. Does it fulfill the purpose for which it was designed? Does it meet the needs of the family?
As you observe how a church functions, look for an emphasis on worshiping God. See if the leadership stresses the importance of honoring and glorifying God in all things (1 Cor. 10:31; Col.3:17). Also observe the involvement of the individual members. Do they exercise their spiritual gifts among the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), or do they seem to expect the pastor to do everything?
Does the church emphasize evangelism as one of its primary functions? Are home and foreign missions an important part of its ministry (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8)? What about discipleship? Do you see church members and leaders seeking to make disciples and reproduce themselves in the lives of others (2 Tim. 2:2; Titus 2:3-7; Matt. 28:19-20)?
A strong local church is marked by love. Do the members seem to genuinely care for one another? Do they minister to each other’s needs? As you become acquainted with the church, do you sense that the members are loving one another as Christ commanded (John 13:34-35)? Notice if friendships form easily (cf. Heb. 10:24-25; Phil. 2:1-4; Eph. 4:1-3).
The leadership of the church you choose should be committed to teaching and supporting God’s design for the family (Eph. 5:22–6:4; Col. 3:18-21; Titus 2:1-8; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). Does the church schedule contribute to or take away from the strength of the family?
Part 3 of this article will be posted next week.
This article is used by permission of http://www.gty.com, copyright 2014, Grace to You. All rights reserved.