Our family recently experienced our sixth geographic move in 11 years of marriage. This has given us a wide range of opportunities for church hunting, 33 opportunities to be exact! We don’t think this makes us experts in the field, that’s for sure, but since it is part of our days right now, I thought it might be interesting to share what “church shopping” has evolved into for our family. Prayer and internet research start the process; Jeremy utilizes a few sites including www.9marks.org and www.founders.org.
If possible, Jeremy also likes to listen to sermons and read about a church’s beliefs before we attend a worship service. Next, we start making visits using two simple non-negotiables: Biblical preaching/teaching (1 Timothy 4:2 &1 Corinthians 9:16) and love from the Church (John 34:13-14). Of course, these two are not exhaustive, but if a church does not meet this criteria, then usually a second visit will not be warranted.
Children’s activities fall into the “preferences” category along with music style, congregation size, location, cultural mix and other “negotiables.” If during our visiting we find more than one church that meets our two top criteria, then we pray for further for discernment and allow ourselves to consider “preferences” in our final decision. We ask God to lead us to the church He wants us to minister our gifts in and be ministered to in. We believe that unless HE directs our path or “builds a house” for us, all our methods or ideas are in vain. So I can truly say that it has been by the grace of God that we have been able to be parts of some amazing churches in our lifetime, NOT a method we have developed.
Praising God for the blessing of the Body of Christ, and praying that we would “. . like newborn babes, long for the the pure milk of the Word, that by it (we) may grow in respect to salvation. . .” (1 Peter 2:2)