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What should a person look for when looking for a church to join?

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  • What should a person look for when looking for a church to join?

    The statements of faith a lot of churches print on their websites, if they bother to do so, sound similar and a lot like the Nicene creed. They sound similar in their statements but seem so different once I walk in. Some seem modern, flashy, with lots of youth programs, electric guitars and coffee bars. But, they also seem shallow, and full of spoiled yuppies who just want to talk about golf and brag about their children's accomplishments. Others seem old fashioned but almost devoid of life. The congregation seems to consist of 3 grumpy elderly folk who do not want you to sit next to them.I don't seem to fit anywhere in particular. I don't have young children. I am not in college. I am not a soccer mom. I am not a senior. I am not married. I am trying to look way beyond free coffee and electric guitars, and learn the bible. I would like some way of asking other people how they live out their beliefs in their daily lives. I am wondering if a home church would be a better option for me, but do not know of any yet. Maybe I should keep looking.

  • #2
    HI Bluebetta, different denominations have different focuses, and different local churches within those denominations all have a different feel or flavor. It sounds like your #1 priority is great Bible teaching, correct? It also sounds like you are a conservative or orthodox believer who holds the word of God to be inerrant and infallible, yes? It also sounds like you're looking for someplace that's got warm, friendly people who are also focused on the Bible and prayer and growing daily in the faith.

    The good news is, those two factors, serious Bible teaching and people who are serious about the Bible often come in one package.

    Do you have any like-minded family or friends who are happy with the church they attend?

    Also, do things like a focus on Calvinism or Arminianism make a difference to you? Are you Charismatic/Pentecostal? Do you hold to Believer's Baptism, or is Infant Baptism ok as well?

    If I knew what city you lived in I might be able to recommend a church, but I don't want you to put that out here on the boards if you don't feel comfortable doing so. William may be able to help you with this, and you could send him (and/or me if you'd like) a private message if there are details that you don't want everyone to have access to, but you don't mind one or both of us knowing.

    It's tough to find a great church sometimes, but hang in there, I'm sure the Lord will lead you to one :)

    Praying!

    Yours in Christ,
    David

    Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

    "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

    "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

    "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

    "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by bluebetta View Post
      The statements of faith a lot of churches print on their websites, if they bother to do so, sound similar and a lot like the Nicene creed. They sound similar in their statements but seem so different once I walk in. Some seem modern, flashy, with lots of youth programs, electric guitars and coffee bars. But, they also seem shallow, and full of spoiled yuppies who just want to talk about golf and brag about their children's accomplishments. Others seem old fashioned but almost devoid of life. The congregation seems to consist of 3 grumpy elderly folk who do not want you to sit next to them.I don't seem to fit anywhere in particular. I don't have young children. I am not in college. I am not a soccer mom. I am not a senior. I am not married. I am trying to look way beyond free coffee and electric guitars, and learn the bible. I would like some way of asking other people how they live out their beliefs in their daily lives. I am wondering if a home church would be a better option for me, but do not know of any yet. Maybe I should keep looking.
      G'day bluebetta,

      Lemme ask you this to begin. Do you think our worship should be guided only as Scripture says (regulative principle)? Or do you think our worship should be allowed to do anything as long as Scripture does not speak against it (normative principle)?

      Generally speaking, you'll find the smaller churches and "grumpy elderly folks" singing hymns and psalms in the Regulative Principle churches. The jungle drums and electric guitars entertaining coffee and flipflop attendees in the normative principle churches.

      Just for FYI, I prefer the Regulative Principle, as you will find in most Reformed churches.

      If I may suggest my denomination... . check out the church locator on the OPC site, find a church, and drop in several times. If you do, please post your experience in the Reformed Presbyterian subforum under the General Faith category: Orthodox Presbyterian Church

      God bless,
      William
      Comment>

      • #4
        Hi William! I never heard of regulative principles and normative principles! I will check out OPC as you suggest. Thank you very much. Wow you sure know a lot of stuff William.

        St. Worm I got a message from you but do not know how to reply, but thank you very very much for your help also. Yes, I think I am more concerned with learning than having a rock concert, so I will just find something more focused on studies and such. As to the tenants of armenianism and calvinism, etc, I am nowhere near that advanced yet! So I have no idea.

        Thanks again to everyone who is so helpful on this site. This forum is truly a wonderful resource full of very knowledgeable and helpful posters.
        Comment>

        • #5
          HI BB, I'm glad you found the commentary helpful :)

          Also, I agree with William that the OPC is a great choice of denominations, as is the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America). If you want great Bible teaching, you will want to stay away from my former denomination however which is called the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA). I believe they are the biggest of the three (and probably the oldest?) but they divorced themselves from adherence to the Westminster Standards and from considering the Bible the inerrant and infallible word of God decades ago, and their descent into extreme liberalism has been profound, especially over the last decade or so. In fact, if you want to find a church that does a good job teaching the Bible, it is best to stay away from our more liberal churches altogether (as the Bible, properly exegeted and taught) is never their focus.

          This is not to say that every individual church in a liberal denomination is that way (the PCUSA local church that I was a part of after becoming a Christian was extremely conservative, but the denomination itself became so liberal that I felt I couldn't stay). Here's a short Wikipedia article about our "Mainline" Protestant churches if you'd care to read it. These are the "denominations" that are considered liberal.

          Yours and His,
          David
          p.s. - I'm now part of the Evangelical Free Church of America (though I also attend an OPC church on Sunday nights as time allows). The EFCA churches are conservative in their approach to the Bible and church government, but they generally have a more contemporary style of worship (something that, like William, I am generally a fan of .. but if you are, the EFCA might be a good fit for you).

          Last edited by David Lee; 07-09-2016, 10:12 PM.
          Simul Justus et Peccator ~Martin Luther

          "We are justified by faith alone, but the faith that justifies is never alone" ~John Calvin

          "The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us." ~C. S. Lewis

          "The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances" ~Elisabeth Elliot

          "The law is for the self-righteous to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost to remove their despair. ~C. H. Spurgeon
          Comment>

          • #6
            My mother always told me to take a discerning view of the pastor, review his theology and treatment of his family. The next thing is to see if it has a welcoming singles dept. Is it active? Thirdly, is the church cliquish? I don't want to have an "in" crowd whrte I worship. Lastly, if I am ill and in the hospital would the pastor come to visit and pray with me.
            Comment>
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