When someone is looking for the “best” church to attend, it really depends on what their motive is.
I have met people who are looking for a church that meets their needs. They want comfortable chairs, wonderful music, entertaining preaching, an air-conditioned facility, and great babysitting while the service is on. They might also want a variety of midweek activities that they can choose to be a part of if they want. And they might not want to be challenged to give too much, or to consider a sacrificial life.
The person with the motive just described has an inward focus on what is best for them in a somewhat selfish type of way.
Someone else might want to join a church that has solid doctrine, celebrates communion regularly, the preaching is biblical and the children’s program is designed to teach their youngsters the Bible. So they are basing their decision on what is best for their developing faith, and the spiritual future of their family.
This motive is seeking what is best, but with best as being determined to be not necessarily what I want to make me comfortable, but what is going to help me and my family grow in the Lord.
There are also people who realise that the best church for them is the one that God wants them to attend, regardless of who the pastor is, or how comfortable things are, or what programs they offer. God doesn’t only call people to be recipients, but to serve, and to contribute, and the Lord places his people in many situations that are not always easy. So what is best for you, may be what the Lords knows is the best place for you to be according to His will.
The motive here is one of submission to Christ, knowing that by following him into whatever situation he chooses, you will find your way forward spiritually, and into His grace.
Having said these things, here are a few pointers that I would consider in looking for a church with spiritual quality, and opportunities to grow, belong and serve:
- A church with a smaller congregation, or small groups. This gives you a chance to develop genuine relationships with people.
- A church where the pastor is honest about his own life and struggles, as well as has a commitment to preach from the Bible.
- A church that has prayer meetings.
- A church that isn’t exclusive and doesn’t look down on other christians, and knows it is a part of the bigger body of Christ, and tries to love and serve other believers.
- A place where you have an opportunity to serve and be a part of what is going on, even if it is just cleaning toilets.
Join a church with an open heart. Love its pastor even if he makes mistakes or is a boring preacher. Give, volunteer, love, serve and honour. Never slander anyone, or hang onto offence. Your attitude will be a part of what makes the church great. Your children will see that and love God because of it.