It’s not uncommon any more for a guest (visitor) at Compelled church to say they are looking for a church and they, use this phrase, “we are church shopping” so I’m going to be honest. I really hate that phrase. In fact, I cringe inside every time I hear it. Let me tell you why. It implies that they are looking for the best “bargain”. Where they can get the most for their “money” and the church that offers the greatest and best, whatever they are looking for, for them and their family. This attitude also implies, the decision is theirs, with no input from Christ, the head of the church. They will shop, and list the pros and cons of each church, compare the music, preaching, facilities, and coffee, and come to a decision. BAD! Very, Very BAD! In this consumer driven society we live in, we cannot make looking for a church body, the same as looking for the cheapest flat screen TV ,or the best price of gas. It is deeper, the implications much greater, and it is so much more serious than browsing through the Sunday paper sale ads. Here’s my take on looking for a church so you don’t “shop”.
–Ask yourself, “Where does God want me?” It might not be the will of your Father to go to the biggest, best, most impressive church you find.
–Don’t be deceived that a church can’t minister to your family if it does not have a catalog of ministries and small groups that is for every age, every interest, every person. My daughter grew up here, when our church was small. We started in our living room. When we had little to no staff, rented facilities that were small. But she loved church, and her faith grew here. WE did not have much, but we had the Bible, relationships, love, and family, and that was enough.
–Consider that if you are looking for a new body, you are not leaving in conflict, angry, bitter, or with unforgiveness. Those attitudes will be taken to your new body. No church needs those things. Make sure you know God wants you to go to another church and you are not leaving abruptly with anger, offense, or something did not go you way. God does not bless those things. He might want you to stay, work through things, be humble and grow in grace. Don’t leave in the flesh any church!
–Maybe God wants you to go to a church to not consume the excellent ministries, but to partner with others to minister and be part of that church growing, and to start, launch, and help make excellent ministries.
–Don’t go to sit!! If you are truly saved, you should be involved in ministry on this earth till Jesus takes you from here. It is the life of a follower of Jesus. There is no unemployment in the Kingdom.
–Don’t pick a church for it’s music. Worship is about Christ, which we should be worshiping all the time anyhow, so 20 minutes or so of music, should not be a big deal, if you are worshiping throughout the week. No matter what the music is, nothing can stop a follower of Jesus, from worshiping Jesus, when any style of worship music is played. You don’t need a full band to worship Jesus, or even a great sound system. We worship in Spirit and in Truth.
–Don’t pick a church for it’s preaching. You can hear the greatest speakers/teacher/preachers on your phone if you want, so maybe God wants you to go and be a blessing at a church where you have a great pastor, and he loves God, but can’t preach as well as the TV guys. Does he/she love the Lord? Do they prepare? Are they honest? Are they true to Scripture? Maybe God wants you to be the greatest friend and encourager to that pastor, and help fulfill the vision God has given him for his community. Honestly, preaching is a small part of the pastors week. We do so much more than just preach.
–Don’t go to your new church to tell your new friends and pastor about your old church. Don’t gripe about it, don’t trash your last pastor, don’t tell them what your last church did. If God has moved you on, and He has led you to a body, be a blessing, and a humble servant.
–Be led by the Holy Spirit, not flashy websites, ads in the paper or even commercials.
I was saved and discipled in a small country church with basically 2 big rooms. We had one part time pastor. We had 100 people. We had the Bible, the Spirit, and love, and I grew in the Lord and was called into ministry there. My life was transformed. I heard the Lord there, worshipped (only a piano) there, and was not allowed to take coffee into church, but I grew, I got to know God, and I learned the Bible. It was an awesome first church, with committed leaders and a great Pastor (Thanks Aden Porter!).
So why this little article? To help you find where God wants you. Where you can be involved and be a blessing. So Christians will stop going to get, and they can go to give. So if God is leading you to a church or a new church, remember…. no “church shopping”. Be Spirit led as you attend churches, small and large, rural and urban, bands or not. Pray together as a family and God will lead you to a body where you and your family will grow, become part, be involved to reach your community and you will be happy in Jesus and everyone will be happy God sent you, and we can keep seeing people saved and devoted to Jesus Christ.