People ask me all the time what makes a good church? What they are really asking is what criteria should they utilize when they are trying to determine if a particular church body is a good choice or not. The unfortunate truth is that most people do not know how to choose a "good" church. Most people choose a church for the wrong reasons. The seven most popular "wrong" reasons that people choose a church are:
- Availability of "pet" or favorite ministries (Music, choir, children's, youth, men, and/or women)
- Interesting or entertaining preacher/speaker
- Affirms personal values, cultural distinctions, or social-political-or economic
- Low or no pressure for personal involvement or accountability
- Family history of involvement
- Size (large to hide in or provide pet ministries or small for various reasons)
Most of us do desire a church that is easy to get to, has ministries that appeal to us, is not boring, and positively affirms what we believe, doesn't apply much pressure, and/or where family has had a history. However, these are not the criteria that one should use as a guideline for joining and or supporting a local church. Many of the cults and liberal denominations can possess some or all of these distinctions.
So, how does one choose a church? What criteria should you use when making such an important decision? Let me share seven specific criteria with you that I think describes a good solid church. First, let me say, I did not put these in any particular order of importance. Second, criteria number three (3) is more of a personal opinion than an actual Scriptural principle.
- Is the church Elder ruled? (Shepherds lead the flock not vice-a-versa)
- Is there a proper balance of hymns, Psalms, and biblically spiritual songs?
- Is the church Family Integrated? (Does entire family worship together)
- Does the church understand, properly teach, and live out the Doctrines of Grace?
- Is the church committed to biblical discipleship as a means of growth and perpetuation?
- Are the values of the church built on and transmitted through the grid of Acts 2:42-47?
- Is the church committed to expositional and applicational teaching of the Word of God?