The final step of creating a Loved Bible is to ‘Invest & Invite.’ Throughout the New Testament, the Bible is clear about the importance of gathering with the local church. But there are so many churches, with large or subtle distinctions. How do you choose one? Where do you start? Here are 5 things to evaluate a healthy local church.
Does the church…
Preach the Word?
(2 Timothy 4:1-4)
- Was the teaching expository? – Expository teaching exposes the original author’s intent of the text, examining God’s message to us. It’s usually done verse-by-verse or book-by-book through the Bible.
- Was the preaching gospel-centered?
- Did the songs reflect truth of Scripture?
- Does the children’s program consistently point to Jesus and the gospel?
Put the God of the Bible at the Center of Worship?
- Was there joyful reverence in God’s presence?
- Was your heart stirred to love and appreciate God for who he is?
- Did you leave feeling more in awe of God?
(Matthew 28:19-20, Titus 2:1-8)
- How do they build intentional relationships to teach others about life with Christ?
- Do they model habits of praying together? Discussing God’s Word together?
- Do they walk together in the mundane? Persevere together and point each other to Christ?
Love and Care for One Another
- Is there a sense of family, brothers and sisters adopted by God, united by the grace of the gospel?
- Could you see God’s love in how they loved each other, marked by humility?
- Is there unity and respect in the midst of diversity (gender, race, interests, politics, age, class, etc.)?
Encourage Everyone to Use Their Gifts?
(1 Corinthians 12:4-27, Romans 12:3-8)
- How do they encourage everyone to discover their spiritual gifts?
- Are there lots of people serving in big and small ways?
- Are there ways to contribute to/serve the church right away?
“When you trust in Christ, you are immediately welcomed into fellowship with the source of love, the triune God, and with his family, the church.” (Paul David Tripp, How People Change, p73).
Resources for Finding a Church
To help you find a gospel-centered church, search the directories below. They will point you to churches that prioritize these things.
Although there are no perfect churches, going to church is an essential part of Christianity.
“The Church is Jesus’ bride. Jesus loves his Church to the point of dying for his Church. The Church and Jesus are a package deal. To embrace the perfect Jesus, you also have to embrace his broken bride.”(Harvey Turner, Friend of Sinners, p115).