This is an excellent question that sets one up for success when they’ve made preparations in their mind concerning what to look for in a church. This question provides the perfect opportunity for one to obtain the proper perspective before walking through the doors of any church. It is such a challenging task to find the right church. The reason why is because of the confusion that presently exists in the realm of religion. Every group lays claim to being the one with the truth, while each practice or believes something different. It is illogical and frustrating. So here are a few points you may consider that we think will help you in your decision.
1. Pray hard about finding the right church.
The devil has muddied the waters, making it difficult to clearly see the church that is going to help you get to heaven. Pray for God’s help that you will find the church that is right for Him, not for you or me. Ask yourself, is this church doing what God wants it to do? And God always responds to that question, in fact, He already has. Through the word of God, He has shown us what His will is for the church. So then, this first point is a twofold process, bathe yourself in prayer and study of God’s word. A great mindset to have when looking for a new church is that of the Bereans in Acts 17:11, who, when they first heard the truth, “they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
2. Search for a group that is dedicated to teaching and practicing simply what is found in the Bible, nothing more and nothing less.
How does God feel about the individual (or church) who goes beyond what is written, teaching, or doing something that cannot be found in God’s word (i.e. “adding to” the word of God)? Likewise, how does He feel about someone doing or teaching less than what He has told us (i.e. “taking away” from His word)? God revealed to us His view toward both of the above actions: Deuteronomy 4:1-4, Proverbs 30:6, Galatians 1:6-10, and Revelation 22:18-19. So without question, we must end up in a church that speaks the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3. When looking for a church, consider its commitment to the youth.
Does the church have organized bible classes dedicated to instilling faith in the young? Almost all churches today have what is often called "youth programs" or "youth groups", but these terms often refer to churches organizing fun things for young people to do when they get together. Rather than focusing on entertaining the young, look for a church dedicated to enriching their spiritual lives. Are the bible class teachers prepared? Do those involved understand the great opportunity they have before them in familiarizing children with the wonders of God’s word? And finally, is each teacher willing to personally invest in helping children learn more about God? Children have so many opportunities these days to be a part of social endeavors after school and on sports teams, but a sound church will be focused on preparing children for a faithful life to God.
4. Finally, consider the spirituality of the church.
The Bible describes true members of God’s church as living stones of a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). Many churches today appear to be more of a social organization than a spiritual one. Many come expecting to be entertained and to enjoy a meal. While there is a different time and place for entertainment and enjoying each other’s company, when we come together as a church, we are here for God and not ourselves. We all have our own fleshly desires, but it is critical to look for a church whose members are not assembled to serve self but to serve God and be the spiritual house that Christ would have it to be. This is the kind group that will help you get to heaven, and that is exactly what you’re looking for!
For further consideration: