By Spencer D Gear
When somebody moves to a new community and seeks to find a church, what qualities should one seek? This will be based on a person’s view of God and the Scriptures. If the Scriptures are taken seriously, what features will be in the church one seeks. My wife and I experienced this issue/problem in mid 2011 when we moved to a northern Brisbane (Australia) suburb. What do we seek since we have a high view of the Bible and are not interested in singing unmemorable choruses driven by a contemporary rock beat?
This is a brief, but practical, example of what two mature Christians encountered in search for a group of evangelical believers who affirmed the Scriptures and worshipped God in the songs they sang, the Word preached from the pulpit, and in their fellowship with one another.
I was participating in a Christian Forum discussion online when I came across this request:
1. One person’s view
I have been attending a local Baptist church for almost a month now and thought the people in there are extremely friendly and welcoming.
I was so excited that i started telling my friends about my discovery and one of them said that she hasn’t been going to church since she moved out of her mom’s! Her reason was that she found that most of the churchgoers at her church were nice only during Sundays…and then from Mon-Sat they were “a**holes” she was very put off by this and generally stopped going every week and eventually stopped altogether.
My question to you guys is if you are noticing similar things? Are church goers judgmental? Are they just actors/actress on Sundays?
2. Some qualities essential for any church
Our worldviews ought to deal with what is happening not only in churches but also our approach to the world in which we live. We need to be people of discernment:
All Christian are called to exercise discernment about what is happening in a church (and the world).
- Romans 12:2, ‘ Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect’ (ESV).
- Ephesians 5:10, ‘and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord’ (ESV).
- Hebrews 5:14, ‘But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil’.
b. Christians who care for one another
All Christians are to care for one another, pray for one another and minister to one another. This is what the Scriptures state:
- James 5:16, ‘Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working’ (ESV);
- Ephesians 6:18, ‘Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints’ (ESV).
- 1 Corinthians 12:26, ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.’ (ESV).
We need to be a functioning body of Christ, a Community of the King of Kings. Are these things happening in your church? We are the body of Christ and we need to be caring for one another when we meet as well as other times (as able and as time permits).
If there is an atmosphere like this in your church, then it will be fairly easy to pick the fake from the genuine through discernment and then counsel of these people should happen and this may even lead to discipline of them if they are not in line with your church’s statement of faith and practice.
There’s another factor to look for:
3. The church’s discipline of Christians
Yes, discipline! That’s what the Scripture says:
- 2 Thessalonians 3:14 ESV, ‘If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed’;
- Romans 16:17 ESV, ‘I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them’.
- Matthew 18:15-20 ESV ‘If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven’.
4. Wheat and weeds will grow together in your church
We can expect the wheat and the tares (weeds) to grow together until harvest. See Matthew 13:24-30.
Please don’t seek to find the perfect church with perfect people who always treat you perfectly. If they are anything like me, they will make mistakes and sin against one another and in other ways. Please don’t give up on them, but the areas I have mentioned above are important in Christian growth. Is the church you are attending also practising evangelism and discipleship?
5. Every church must be committed to evangelism and discipleship
This is self-evident from Matthew 28:18-20,
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Have you had opportunity to meet with the pastor and/or church leaders to address your concerns?
Most importantly, are you the genuine, loving, caring Christian that will make a Christ-like difference in your congregation?
 Christian Forums, Baptists, ‘Fake people in churches? What do y’all think?’, Fobulous#1, available at: http://www.christianforums.com/t7681751/#post61206165 (Accessed 22 August 2012).
 This is part of my post as OzSpen#2, in ibid.
Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 30 October 2015.