Deciding on a church

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Greg B, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. So I am about to make a decision and welcome input from all other users on this site. You do not have to agree with my views and I encourage any words of wisdom.

    Ok let us begin.

    I am moving to another state (actually my hometown) in about a month. I looked online for some potential churches in the area I will be living. After searching I realized they all shared a similar culture (similar preaching, church size, etc.) and decided on one that I am familiar with (a church I went to in high school, before I was converted). I preface this only to say that I haven't started attending this church yet.

    Here is my dilemma (and where some disagreement between us may lie): I have been watching the church's sermons through their website and, in my opinion, are filled with weak (but not false) teaching. It is the type of church where it feels like I am watching amateur comedy and Bible verses just happen to get mentioned (Honestly, this is most of the churches in America). It feels more like they are trying to entertain rather than, you know, save souls and equip their members to save souls.

    However, there is a church about an hour south of where I will be staying that I attended several times after college (on my way to being converted). The teaching there was amazing. There was an undeniable sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit within those walls, which is what I much rather prefer.

    So. Here is the deal. I'm just going to spill it all out and hope my discussion point is clear.

    I am not a fan of people rejecting churches just because they prefer something different like comfy seats, daycare, hot lattes, etc. and I am not convinced that my preference (teaching) falls too short of these either. I am a firm believer that church members must submit to their pastors and elders (unless of course what they teach is not the Bible) and I would conform to this no matter where I end up. I am also a firm believer that the church should be involved in their community and, assuming I go to the further church, I would basically have to bypass my community to serve another one. But, I would be fed real meat (at least what I consider real meat).

    Agh, so much I want to say but I don't want this to become overly lengthy. If anyone would like to join the discussion please feel free, I would greatly appreciate it :)
  2. Meat and potatoes is what one needs. Popcorn is for those who only want to snack.
    This is about salvation.
    Your allegiance ought to be to the gospel and the Word of God - not geography.

    Hebrews 5:13-14
    For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
    14 But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised
    to discern both good and evil.
    Psalm 119:912 ASV
    Beth. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to thy word.
    10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: Oh let me not wander from thy commandments.
    11 Thy word have I laid up in my heart, That I might not sin against thee.
    12 Blessed art thou, O Jehovah: Teach me thy statutes.
  3. Hi Greg,
    To me it all depends on how mature you are as a believer. This is not to mock you but for your discernment. If you are a new believer, needing solid food, an hours travel to ensure you grow in the grace of God to inherit eternity is nothing.
    However, if you are a mature believer, prayer can really change things and maybe the local church that you know is your calling? Food for a mature believer can come from many sources; recorded messages, online, forums such as this one.
    Personally I have experienced and led many amazing works of God. I consider myself to be very blessed. I prayed long and hard about where to attend where I now live and I am attending a Bible believing church that is falling short of what I know God can do. I am involved in as many prayer sessions the church holds because I know there is a power in prayer that can change such churches.
    I hope this may be of some little assistance in your decision.
    Bless you my brother
  4. Greg,
    It is important to consider the churches primary teachings and practices, but there is more to it.

    Have you placed any consideration in the idea that it is not about what you get from it?

    Have you asked God what you need to give or what have you been called upon and/or gifted to do?

    Does He want you to go, speak, and serve on His be behalf to bring a stagnated assembly back into growth?
    Pastor James likes this.
  5. An hour's drive each way is a long drive and I am pretty sure that you will not keep it up. If it was me, I would ride around and talk to people. What do the locals say in the restaurant's, hardware stores and barber shops? Ask people if there is an old fashioned church in town. The locals will know!

    If you do not mind, tell us the state you are moving to and someone here on this site just might know of a church or preacher close to you. You just never know what might happen my brother.
  6. Great stuff! So everyone has said something very key. I will list them below and then address them in my reply.

    Ok so I have typed and re-typed this 100 times and I keep going into wayy too much detail so let me be concise:
    • We are going to name the in-community church Church A
    • We are going to name the farther church Church B
    • I have only been following Christ for a year.
    • I feel really arrogant saying I'm a mature Christian
    • I believe I am more on the mature side of being a Christian (see what I did there :))
    • When I surrendered my life to Christ I didn't just pray a prayer to invite Jesus into my heart so I can do whatever I want and cover it up by saying it's cool guys it's all grace!
    Ya those bullets look much better than 4 paragraphs. Anyways... :)

    To address the topic of giving to the church: I am very driven to make disciples and walk with others through discipleship. Thus I am eager to offer my time and efforts to come alongside either church and help equip others, under the authority of the church of course. Now, I don't know this for a fact, but after browsing Church A's website and listening to over 100 of their sermons I would be very surprised if they were at all active in evangelism or disciple making. Church B on the other hand lives and breaths this.

    So let me now paint a better picture of my dilemma with the new information. At Church A I have an opportunity to help them grow into discipleship and it is in my community, but the teaching is sub-par. Church B has excellent teaching and are active in discipleship, but it is an hour away.

    Honestly, I feel more lead to try and do something at Church A. I brought this up to the pastor at my current church to hear his thoughts. He basically said that Church A would be great to do in a few more years. I think he has seen a lot of "new" Christians going that route and just getting burned out and not really producing fruit due to lack of experience.

    Gotta run soon so I have to cut this a little short but real quick wanted to say this:
    So I am moving to CA. And I'll be honest, where I live is right next to where Greg Laurie preaches (Harvest). Before anyone freaks out on me let me just say a few things. One, the church I am planning on attending is not Harvest. Two, I know a lot of people love Greg Laurie but personally I find his teaching rather weak too (dang, that probably opened more cans of worms than I thought). I really have nothing against him but I have NEVER been convicted from one of his messages. That's all I'll say for now :)
  7. Well I am out. I know no one in CA. that I could recommend to you. I would say however that since you have been a Christian for a year, why not go slow and learn. Grow by reading the Scriptures and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you. There will come a day when you will feel comfortable and then you can spread your wings and fly solo.

    I would recommend reading materials from Dr. J Vernon Magee and Dr. Oliver B. Green. Both are down to earth, and easy to understand men of God.
    Greg B likes this.
  8. I would encourage you to find a reformed fellowship. And stay away from arminian free will fellowships like Greg Laurie and Calvary Chapels. So your foundation will be embedded in the gospel of grace as taught in scripture.
    Greg B likes this.
  9. A true adage - "Birds of a feather flock together."
    I have over many many years come across 'fish out of water' or 'square pegs in round holes.'
    Often on the forlorn assumption that they as a "better" or more "spiritual" Christian they can make a difference.
    My observation has pretty well always been that such people deteriorate in their walk and their commitment to the high calling of
    obedience to the gospel. Proverbs warns us directly that your friends will influence you for better or worse.
    Bad company corrupts good character - another true adage.
    A congregation that is slothful in its worship and obedience is a danger not only to themselves but to others that foolishly get involved.
    He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20
    A reproof enters more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. Proverbs 17:10
    A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaks lies shall not escape. Proverbs 19:5
    The man that wanders out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. Proverbs 21:16

    Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
    Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
    1Corinthians 15:33-34

    And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,
    and that ye receive not of her plagues. Revelation 18:4

    If you want to be wise and be strong in the Lord then surround yourself with likewise people.
    Do not give an advantage to your adversary, Satan, who prowling around looks for souls to devour.
    Greg B likes this.
  10. A large Church has the advantage of many different programs and a diverse culture,
    On the other hand if your inclined to pop in and leave early you can find after ten years you don’t know anybody, you can be bypassed and overlooked, ignored and not have grown a dot.
    A small church is ideal for the Gifts to operate at your level to involve you personally.
    You should understand the Holy Spirit has given you a gift, a real gift not playing the guitar.
    But a small church can have cliques, small family groups who have taken control in the flesh,
    you don’t see them at the prayer meeting but you do see them on stage and on the board.
    That’s okay God can change anyone. NOBODY in ANY Church you attend is immune from the Spirit.
    Internal Love is the truth of the Church.
    Don’t be dazzled by TV programs, evangelism outreach, prison ministry, soup kitchens, crusades, camps, the big meeting down in florida with big names learning all there is about fix my marriage, how to be prosperous etc.
    Yep you can have a big band on stage, all the teaching tech, your own CD, impressive as all these things are, It’s all ADD ON’S if the heart of Love is not there.
    But this love reaching out to the community of sinners is not the priority, this love must first reach inwards to those smelly Christians you sit next to on Sunday.
    This Love is you giving yourself, and money, and time, away.
    When Jesus said Love one another He was talking to His disciples not to the world or about loving the world, yes I know you are to love your enemy, good Samaritan on the road etc.
    Internal LOVE IS about respect, communication, prayer, sharing, giving of wealth to help one another, meeting one another for social occasions as well as spiritual ones,
    praying for one another, hands on.
    Looking at one another with good eyes, a clean heart, your mission is your brother, his welfare is your welfare, your going to be spending eternity with them.
    Jesus says he who keeps my commandments loves me and we will come and make our home with him.
    So a church needs laws, not written but mentioned, silence as shown in the past is a slippery slope of permission?
    laws that everyone is aware of from the new to the old, moral laws that people should aspire to.
    You may fail, in fact you probably will on some things, failure is not a problem but wilful evil is.
    Laws that say keep your eyes on your own wife, don’t play with porn, treat children as the pure innocent fragile gifts they are,
    stay away from gambling smoking drinking, stealing from social security,
    lying on your tax return, drugs etc etc. You’re not perfect, that’s not an excuse. Are we prefect, no, we aspire to perfection in our moral behaviour without hypocricy or pretending.
    Do you believe in evolution, gay marriage, abortion, the death penalty, gun rights, politics is the answer? Better not preach.
    You have an opinion that’s’ nice, you know the bible backwards, that’s nice but you don’t understand it, this whole concept of Love.
    Love is why we have a day of rest, the sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath,
    tithing to give thanks read deut 14, salvation.
    Those laws are about love eg don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, its all about common good, stability, respect, caring.
    Will you succeed in keeping these laws? not if you don’t write them on your heart,
    If you’re not going to pray and read God’s word, then you are a rudderless ship blown by every desire. Been there, still there sometimes.

    You yourself, yes YOU with the nose on your face, can change a Church, ANY church,

    If you will walk in the Spirit and pursue Love, pure love, then the Spirit will burn like a fire and change the church from the inside out and the world will beat a path to the Church and not the church beat a path to the world. Love, inside the Church, is the power switch on the wall if you want to see miracles and healings.
    Pastor James likes this.

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