10 Questions to Ask When Searching for a Church Family
Cities are places of transition. Seattle is no different. Many people move to Seattle for school, work or new opportunities. Moving to a new city is difficult. But, finding a church that loves Jesus, believes the Bible and preaches the gospel is even more so. Since launching in April we’ve met many new-to-the-city Jesus-following transplants in search of a church to call home. That search is not as easy as it might sound, particularly in Seattle. What follows are questions I encourage people to consider when in search of a new church family. Disclaimer: This is genuinely not written for the benefit of DCC but for all in our city looking for a Bible believing, Jesus-loving, Gospel centered church to call home. Jesus wants you covered by a church like that.
#1 Have you prayed about it?
No, really. Have you prayed about it? Oftentimes we assume that Jesus wants what we want. He might. Or, he might have something even better in mind – but, it may look entirely different than what you expect.
#2 Do they love Jesus?
Is it clear the church worships Jesus Christ? Is Jesus’ name mentioned regularly? Is the music sung to Jesus? Does the preaching center around the person and work of Jesus? Is Jesus not merely assumed, but demonstrably loved?
#3 Do they preach out of the Bible?
Is the Bible opened during the sermon? Is the sermon itself clearly taken from the text or just used as a launching pad for some other topic? Is it clear the Bible is loved and trusted as the Word of God?
#4 Is the gospel clearly presented?
The gospel is the good news that God became man in Jesus Christ to live our life and die our death, in our place, for the forgiveness of sin. Does the church believe and preach this? Is the gospel applied to both Christians and non-Christians?
#5 What happens beyond Sundays?
Don’t let Sunday define the church. There are six other days of the week. Some churches are able to pull off a big production every Sunday, but there is little depth otherwise. Others may have a weak Sunday presence, with great depth. Look beyond Sundays.
#6 Is the church on Jesus’ mission or their own?
Do you hear more about all the great things the church is doing or all the great things that Jesus is doing? Who has center stage? Is Jesus used to prop up the mission of the church? Or is the mission of the church to point to Jesus?
#7 What is the community like?
The church is a people, not a place. It can take time to get to know people. As you narrow down your options, I recommend taking one month to get involved in the life of a church before making a final decision. Get to know people. Meet the pastor(s). Join a community.
#8 How are you gifted to serve the church?
Keep in mind this search is not all about you. Jesus wants you to participate in his mission through the church. Where are your gifts most needed? Don’t merely look for what’s comfortable. Jesus cares more about who you are becoming than your comfort. We often want comfort, Jesus wants us to be like him.
#9 Does the church want to see people meet Jesus?
Does the church view itself as an outpost for the gospel? Is the church primarily focused on its programs or primarily focused on seeing the gospel form a new people on Jesus’ mission.
#10 Are you willing to make a decision and commit?
At some point, you’ll need to make a decision. Don’t make the process drag on for months and months. Prayerfully find a church. Get connected. Serve as you’ve been served in Christ. Extend grace towards the church as Jesus has extended grace towards you. Give generously to the church as Jesus generously gave himself for you.
Whatever you end up deciding, pray for every church you visit. Encourage the pastor, as appropriate. Don’t make this search an exercise in self-righteousness. Don’t search for the elusive perfect church. Approach with what you can give, not what you desire to take. Thank God for all that He is doing in your city and ask Him to do even more for His glory and the good of others.