The Best Church to Join
I have had the privilege of being a member of some great churches in my life and ministry. I have never been a member of two churches that were the same. All churches are different. Yesterday morning was the first Sunday with my new church family, Cross Church NWA. I was a member of Cross Church seven years ago but after one day back, I can tell you that some things have changed. Which just reminds me that while God never changes, church does.
When people look for a church, they tend to look and evaluate them based on all manner of factors, some of them pretty shallow. Things like music style, dress, media, size, etc. tend to grab our attention, but I would contend that these are not the most important aspects of a church. In fact, they are not even close. I just transitioned from one great church to another. I love both churches and they both utilize very effectively different music, dress, media, and they are different sizes. But they are both wonderful churches. So I have thought much recently about what makes a church great – and therefore one that you or anyone else should seriously consider when it comes to membership.
1. Worship – a great church worships God. Period. It’s not about hymns or choruses. It’s not about organs or guitars. It’s not about raising hands or sitting down. It’s not about words on a screen or words in a book. What it IS about is worship of the One True and Living God. This is not something I can quantify other than to say that when this kind of worship happens…you know it.
2. Jesus – a great church is focused on Jesus. There are many things that churches can focus on. They can focus on the poor. They can focus on the next generation. They can focus on the past. They can focus on the future. They can focus on money. Churches can and do focus on all of these things and more. But the central focus must be Jesus. It has to be about Jesus. It has to be all about Jesus all the time. When you look for a church, look for Jesus.
3. The Bible – a great church believes, preaches, and teaches the Bible. Beware of the pastor who preaches and never reads from the Bible. Beware of the church that is more about self-help than God-help. Beware of the church that preaches about social justice and neglects the justice of God. Beware of any church that proclaims the Bible to be anything less than the inerrant, infallible, Word of God.
4. Mission – a great church is on mission, specifically The Great Commission. Every organization and every church exists for a purpose. You can tell what the purpose of a church is based on what it spends its time doing. There are many good and noble causes and our culture has all sorts of non-profits designed to address these social concerns. But the church is not just any “non-profit.” The church is the idea of Jesus. The church is the single greatest entity for world change that exists on the planet. The church’s greatest and highest calling is to seek and to save the lost. To expand the Kingdom of God. To fulfill the Great Commission. If you cannot find these in a church…you probably have not found a “church.”
I just left a seven year pastorate of a great church. I am now serving another great church. Both churches are very different…and they are also the same. I am a blessed man to be associated with such great churches. When you find a church with these four qualities as its focus, you will be blessed too.