Going Beyond Appearance: What to Look for In Your Church Community

This post has also been published on Threads Media

Usually by freshman year of college, church attendance is at a slow decline; especially when you don’t live at home.

It is easy to prioritize your weekends around home games and the need to sleep in after a late Saturday night.

It is even easier to do so when you don’t have a loving, but nagging parent, standing beside your bed telling you to get up and shower or you’ll be late for church.

In this new-found freedom called adulthood, we sometimes find ourselves outside a community of believers. Even when we do, we don’t always have a clear understanding of what we should be looking for in a church.

I wrote this post because A.) I work a lot in church settings and B.)  I’ve seen the church and its programs get a major face lift over the past few years.

The “new” church has an almost thespian atmosphere, very different than the old traditional setting.

There is stained concrete flooring throughout the buildings, a decor of metal and pallets line the walls, giving that industrial feel.

No longer do you see a choir in their polyester choir robes but a band of musicians, with Mohawks and tattoos.

It is not unusual to see this eclecticism from the same people that lead the services or that stand as greeters at the welcome center.

Church doesn’t seem so “churchy” anymore…..

In fact, I go to a church very similar to what I just described.

I love my church but its “coolness” factor has nothing to do with why I choose my church.

My pastor is a gifted speaker, teacher and visionary and has an obvious compulsion for God’s truth to penetrate every corner of our community.  He’s not perfect, but he will tell you that.

The Associate Family Pastor has a heart for others and goes above and beyond making others feel loved, welcomed and important. But he’s an ordinary person trying to be faithful to his calling.

The Music Director is a talented musician that leads one awesome worship service. By far, he has the coolest hair (according to my son) but he’s flawed too.

God has blessed my church with a collective group of people with a heart for sharing God’s word, through music, through outreach and through equipped teaching.

When you peel off the outward appearance and look at what’s left, what do we have besides a bunch of flawed individuals in a really cool church building?

 You have a community of believers that love [Christ], that want to grow and want to reach those that don’t know the freeing power of a relationship with [Him].

So why am I writing about this?

I want to make sure that you are selling out to your faith and not a fad.

Are the pallet walls, Mohawks, and tattoos wrong?

Absolutely not.

But so many times, when we are searching for a church to call our family, we look strictly at the programs they offer or the coolness factor of the church and its members.

I encourage you to look a little closer at what the church is teaching and how it is equipping the body of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission.

Church can be easy on the eye, so to speak, but how are they dealing with the heart?

 Just a few things to consider when seeking a church home:

  1. Pray for discernment as you seek a church family.

  2. There are lots of places you can go to get a feel good message, but is the message taught scripturally sound?

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow

and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human

tradition and the basic principles of this

world and not on Christ.”

Colossians 2:8

  1.  Is the Bible seen as the sole authority of the church? There are certain churches that are teaching things that are not in scripture. Other leaders are “skimming” the Bible and not addressing the hard issues.  Growth sometimes requires us being uncomfortable.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and

is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,

for instruction in righteousness,

that the man

of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped

for every good work”

2 Timothy 3:16-17.

  1. How are they equipping its body of believers to fulfill the Great Commission inside and outside the church walls? We, as a body of Christ, were never meant to keep the truth to ourselves. Are they pointing the lost and broken to the Redeemer?

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