Criteria for Selecting a New Church
What kind of criteria do people use when searching for and selecting a new church to attend? Some, obviously, simply go back to the church they were raised in. They are comfortable there. Others select a church because someone else they know recommended it as one that makes them happy. Others select a church based on its closeness in proximity to where they live; it’s closeness in doctrine to what they’ve always chosen to believe; and/or the size of its congregation, youth group, or the beauty of its building. This, while still others select a new church to attend based upon its featuring others of their personally-preferred comfort and convenience features; features such as: Is the worship style one that they prefer and find enjoyable? How well does it hold their interest and keep them entertained? Does the church allow them to continue to live comfortably in the lifestyle and situation that they have chosen, without challenge, correction, and/or conviction? In other words, does it tell them what they want to hear, thus keeping them comfortable, contented, and coming back?
While many choose a new church to attend based on the above criteria, there are a few with a completely different focus and goal. They realize that church and it’s work, worship, and teachings on such things as how to be saved and live a new, pure, and holy lifestyle (Romans 6:1-23; Colossians 3:1-17), is not – and cannot ever be – at all about them and their personal preferences, but totally and completely, one hundred percent and forever about God almighty’s preferences, desires, commands, will, and agenda alone. He is the One who came in the flesh and died to purchase His own church with His own perfect blood (Acts 20:28). He is the one and only head over His body, His church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). These folks realize and respect that Jesus Christ is the one, true, Lord and King who has been given full and total authority in all things by the Father (Matt. 28:18-20) – and not them. As such, they recognize and are more than willing to lovingly submit themselves and their wills fully to the Lord and His word (John 14:15; Lk. 6:46-49).
Such sincere and humble seekers of God understand and accept the truth that within His holy word, the Bible, God has given us everything we need in order to stand pure, holy, and perfect before Him (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; 2 Peter 1:2-4). Therefore, they would never seek to be saved by a process, live by a practice, or worship by a pattern, not found in – and therefore foreign to – that perfect, flawless, eternally binding and divinely-inspired life-providing word (Psalm 19:7-11, 119:89; John 6:63, 68, 12:48-50). They have read, understood, and accepted the fact that to worship according to man-made practices, teachings, and traditions which are not found anywhere in the sacred Scriptures, is to do something they definitely do not want to be guilty of: contaminating and therefore rendering their worship vain, futile, and useless before God (Matthew 15:3-14; Mark 7:5-13; Colossians 2:20-23).
The ultimate beauty and beautiful irony for such sincerely humble seekers who are willing to sacrifice any and all of their personal preferences for whatever God said in His word that He wants – thus giving Him His proper place of prominence and preeminence in their lives (Colossians 1:15-20) – is not only that they are truly seeking and will therefore surely find God (Matthew 7:7-8), but that such folks are exactly and exclusively the kind of worshippers that the Father Himself is still seeking today (See: John 4:23-24)!
What are you looking for in a church? Are you one of the many who are simply looking for a place that pleases and gives you, as the audience, what you prefer? Or, are you one of the few who understands that when it comes to worship, God is the audience to be pleased and that we must therefore perform our worship of and to Him with the proper spirit of godly reverence, in accordance with His word? If you are one of the latter, please come and join the like-minded of the Lord’s church this coming Sunday (Romans 16:16).