Every believer should have a church home where he or she attends regularly. We would invite you to make our church your spiritual home. Whether you are led our way or not, our desire is that you find the church home God has in mind for you. In the effort to assist you, consider the following twelve tips:
1. Look for a church prayerfully.
As in the case with all other aspects of a Christian’s decisions, you should begin your search for a church by seeking the Lord’s direction. The Bible promises, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” - Proverbs 3:6 (KJV).
2. Look for a fellowship of loving people.
A church isn’t a building nor a ministry, but the body of Christ. Seek people who love the Lord and each other - people that will love you and people to whom you can give your love. Find a church that extends a warm welcome and is accepting of others - people who care about people.
3. Look for a church that preaches the Bible.
Seek a fellowship that has sound doctrine, proclaims the whole counsel of God’s Word, and sincerely lifts up the Lord Jesus Christ in worship and everything else they do.
4. Look for a fellowship whose leaders demonstrate spiritual commitment.
Seek a loving, peaceful, stable church which has leaders devoted to holiness, prayer, and the Word.
5. Look for a church where you can become more committed.
In many ways, your relationship with the church is similar to a marriage - what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. The only church in which you will ever grow and mature spiritually is one where you commit yourself and get involved - where you will care about the needs of others more than your own. Your church should be a place where the people submit themselves to God and each other . . . where you will be encouraged and held accountable.
6. Look for a church that is trying to reach people for Jesus Christ.
Find a fellowship that is seeking to bring lives to Christ - in your community, your nation, and the world. Look for a church that is unapologetic and unashamed about sharing the message of the Good News. Such a church understands its purpose on earth and will provide a healthy environment in which you can grow in your walk with God.
7. Look for a church where you can contribute.
A church is like a pot luck dinner. What you bring with you is added to the content of the meal. Your contribution to the gathering helps to make it what it is. Seek a church where you can roll up your sleeves and minister to others. Don’t look for a church that will only “serve you,” but one in which you can “serve.” Remember, a church is the combination of what its people are. If you want your church to be the best it can be, you must be the best you can be.
8. Look for a church that seeks to depend on the power of God.
Psalm 127:1 (KJV) says “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Make note of the spirit of humility among the leadership, the sense of reliance on God in all that they do, and the amount of emphasis given to prayer. These are things that indicate a church is seeking to function on divine power, not human energy.
9. Don’t look for a church that’s like another you’re familiar with.
Frequently people look for a church like the one in which they found Christ, or like one they have watched on TV, or like the one they “grew up in,” or like the one they just left. But this is futile, because even though a church might have the same benefits or similarities as another, every church is distinct and different in its personality, just like people are. Always use the Bible as the standard to measure a church - not other churches, no matter how wonderful they may seem to be.
10. Look for a church with reasonable expectations.
Don’t look for a perfect church, because there aren’t any. In every church there are people who are wonderful and some who aren’t; and you’ll find some things done well, and others that are not. Don’t worry about finding a perfect pastor or staff, either. They are all human and will make mistakes. Rather, look for a church whose leaders are sincere, who are trying their best to live godly lives, and who are committed to proclaiming the uncompromised Word of God.
11. Don't just visit a church once.
Too often, folks make one visit to a church and then go to another the next Sunday. We would encourage you to visit a church at least twice, if not more before deciding to move on to another. Churches are filled with imperfect people, who might not be at their best on any given Sunday. You wouldn't want someone to reject you after one meeting. Give the people you meet at a church you visit the same consideration.
12. Don't just visit the worship service.
At First Baptist Portales, we often say that a person really hasn't visited out church until they've visited a Connection Group. Why? Because the church is made up of people, and it's hard to get acquainted with anyone with the little bit of opportunity you have for interaction in a worship setting.
There are many good churches in our area. We’d like to think that our church is one of them. But whether the Lord leads you here or not, our prayer is that you will allow Him to guide you in finding a church home. Don’t be a church hopper, bouncing around from one church to another. Submit to the accountability of spiritual leaders who will help you and even correct you when necessary (Hebrews 13:17). This is impossible unless you have affiliated with a local church, so make finding a local church home a priority!