One question that I have been asked many times over the last 40 years, is when looking for a fellowship to commit to, what is important? Unfortunately many people shop for a church much like a consumer shopping for household items.
The short answer is how is the Scripture handled? Many churches who identify themselves as "bible-believing" churches rarely demonstrate that they are in their practice.
Over the years I have put together a "list," for lack of a better word, of threads that should be woven in the fabric of a fellowship. Lord willing, over time, I hope to develop each thread. When I speak of the fellowship I am not referring to the organization, the articles of faith, the constitution, or even the leadership itself.
By fellowship I mean the individual members which make up the fellowship. Just as you must evaluate the doctrinal statement, the articles of faith against the Scriptures, and just as you evaluate the leadership against the Scriptures, you must evaluate the individual members and their commitment to the Scriptures and to the fellowship itself. Therefore, a worthy fellowship must:
1.Value the preaching of the Word of God. Do the members value, treasure, appreciate, and appropriate the preaching of God's Word? Or is the preaching a somewhat nusiance appended to the music program
2.Experience a fellowship that is spiritual and not social. Gathering together and talking about the food, fun, and family is not fellowship. Social clubs do that.
3.Exercise loving and tender discipline in order to promote and preserve holiness. Sin must be confronted.
4.Watch over one another in Christ-like love and care. If you want to sit week after week and have nobody "bother" you, shepherd you, "interfere" in your lives in a Christ-like manner, the New Testament church is not for you. You would be better off with the Elks, the Moose, or a coffee-klatch.
5.Have a God-centered church life rather than a man-centered church life. Sadly, the majority of churches today are man-centered.
6. Be a membership as a whole that is committed to living for Christ regardless of the cost rather than committed to living for self
7.Preach the gospel unequivocally, unapologetically, and unashamedly.