How To Choose A Church

Through the years I have been asked on many occasions, “How do I choose a church?” That question seems more relevant today than any time before, primarily because there are so many new expressions of religion, false worship, and pseudo substitutes for the church.  

For example, just a few years ago the Associated Press carried an article discussing the rise of what’s being called Atheist Mega-Churches… the article looked at the opening of a Los Angeles area Atheist church in which it said, “more than 400 attendees, all bound by their belief in non-belief” gathered for the inaugural service. It further stated, “Hundreds packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational sermon, a reading and some quiet reflection… the only thing missing was God.”

Think about it, they gathered to worship nothing! They meet on Sundays. And in one of the pictures of this gathering it shows a young adult singing with his arms outstretched in praise of, well, nothing! And it is more than just a little ironic; it is an expression of futility and foolishness. Psalm 53:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.” Tragically today, Ignorance now often masquerades as Intelligence. It’s just as Paul wrote in Romans 1… “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

One of today’s common cultural myths is that it doesn’t really matter if you go to church, or where you go to church as long as you believe in God. Even among Christians there has emerged a fear in which no one wants to say or suggest that where you worship, or what you worship for that matter, is as important as the fact that you worship somewhere or something and acknowledge God or some god substitute. But the book of Acts is largely about the formation of the Church and much of the writing of the Apostle Paul was to instruct believers regarding their congregational model and doctrinal integrity. It matters! In my message this Sunday I’ll speak to the importance of connecting to the local Family of God. But for just a moment let me address two things to keep in mind when answering the question, “How to choose a Church?”

First, everything that calls itself a church is not a church.
At least not a biblical church, emphasis on the word biblical. The biblical church has certain biblical distinctions in its operation, its purpose, and its doctrine. Some years ago, a group on the west coast actually organized and called themselves “The church of Monday night football.” They mimicked a kind of church service each Monday; they even developed and practiced a regular set of rituals to begin their meeting, and then watched the game together. While that is a bit of exaggeration perhaps, it does illustrate the point. Just because a group organizes and calls themselves a “church” does not mean they are organized biblically and thus spiritually qualified to be called the Church of the living God. Just like everyone who calls themselves a Christian is not a Christian, so also every group that calls itself a church is not a church.
Second, many churches that started right have drifted left of scripture.
There is ample evidence of this in current culture, history, and education. Many formerly strong mainline churches and denominational groups that once held fast to scripture, over the past 100 plus years, and particularly in the past 25 years have, and are, mirroring and in some cases affirming the increasingly rapid leftward drift of the culture. And that is why choosing a church is so important. Because it does matter where you worship, and it does matter who or what you worship!

It is Memorial Day Weekend…  How grateful we are for the men and women who have laid down their lives for our nation and our freedoms! Remember to say a prayer of thanks to God tomorrow for their sacrifices. Sunday, we are concluding We Are Family month by combining our blended and contemporary services for a “One Family Worship” at 10:15 AM. I hope you will gather with us.

And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!

For God’s Glory Alone,
Pastor Ray
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