On the back of the Mark RML weekend away on the church, we thought it’d be a good to think through the question that will face, almost all, of us in the future…

Where should we go to church when we leave St Helen’s?

If church is as important as the Bible thinks it is; as one of God’s primary ways of keeping his people going until the new creation, then it is a question that has huge significance!

So here are a few questions to think through for that day when you find yourself visiting a potential new church…

  1. Could I grow here? The most important of all questions (as our recent series in 2 Peter taught us). Growing is what the dying apostle Peter wanted to tell His people to do. Why? Because if we’re standing still you’re likely to fall over (remember the physics of riding a bike!) So, as God grows us, through His Spirit, as His word goes to work on our hearts, it’s worth asking whether you’ll be able to grow in this family and be able to stand firm to the end? Do the Bible studies actually get the Bible open and put it central to discussions? Does the preacher just tell me what he wants to say, or is he sitting under the authority of Scripture?
  2. Could I serve here? Remember, church isn’t about you going to serve yourself, but rather, it is about you going to help the whole body grow together as it builds itself up in love. Does this family have an attitude of serving each other in this way? It’s worth asking, could you serve this body with the role every one of us has been given in Ephesians 4:15, the role of speaking the truth in love? Can you see yourself serving in other ways using whatever gifts God has given you?
  3. Could I be loved here? If what we learned on the church weekend is right, a church is people of God gathered around the word of God. Therefore, finding a family that can love you, is about finding a family that will help you come to know Jesus through his word. Any church you go to, should love you by bringing the gospel to bear on your life. Is it a place where there are opportunities to have the truth loving spoken to you? Is there a culture of people speaking about the truth in love to each other after the sermon and during the week as they love each other?
  4. Could I bring a friend here? Of course our friends won’t necessarily love the gospel, but it would be a shame if when you brought your friends, they hated everything about your church and didn’t get to hear gospel. It’s worth then asking, could I bring a friend here? Would the family here welcome you and others?

Two quick health warnings. First: if you find the perfect church, you’re in the new creation! No family will be perfect (but neither are you.) So don’t expect perfection, but look for brothers and sisters striving in the right areas, doing their best with what the Lord has given them. Second: answering all these questions quickly is impossible, so don’t rush the decision! They need to be your family after all. (By the same token though—don’t take so long that you start drifting in your walk with the Lord!)

Listen to 'The church' weekend away talks.

Image by Flickr user 16:9clue used under CC BY-NC-SA 2