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So, youre in a new city or a new town and you need to find yourself a good church,

but how do you do that? If you grew up in church, picking one was pretty easy; you
just went wherever your parents went. Even if you left your parents church for a new
one, you probably chose the church the majority of your Christian friends went to.
But perhaps youre a new believer and youve never had to find a church before at all.
No matter our background, weve all got certain traditions weve grown up with and
particular styles weve grown accustomed to. For many of us, those styles have served
us well, so we hold on to them for dear life. For others, those situations really rubbed
us the wrong way, so we oppose them with everything weve got.
Which is right? Which is wrong? What about doctrine? Certainly, what a church
teaches is critical, but a lot of churches dont exactly agree with each other on what
the Bible teaches. Differ as they may, a great many of those churches still abide by
what could be rightly considered their own faithful interpretation of Scripture.

Seven Things to Look for in a Good Church, from Acts 2:42-47


Where better to look for guidance on picking a church than the Bible? Specifically,
well look at one of the earliest accounts of a New Testament community of faith.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, in the
breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many
wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were
together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and
divided them among all, as anyone had need.
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to
house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and
having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who
were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
As you begin your search, be on the lookout for how churches handle the
following seven points. If one or more are missing, get ready to exercise some
discernment in evaluating whether that is a faithful community in which you would like
to be a member.
1. Believers as Members
Now all who believed were together. Acts 2:44
The local church should be a safe place for the believer and nonbeliever alike to come
and hear the good news, to taste and see that the Lord is good. The local church
should be a place that loves and serves the community regardless of whether they
profess Christianity or not.
That said, when we talk about a believing membership in the local church, were not
talking about the people who attend that specific church or are served by its
ministries. The people were talking about are the covenant members of that church.
These are the people who have sacrificially, emotionally, financially, and spiritually
bought in to that church and what its doing for the kingdom.
If you encounter a church that welcomes unbelievers as covenant members, a red flag
should be raised. The membership body of a church is one of the visible fruits of the

culture in that community. If the church does not value faith in Christ or the authority
of Scripture in teaching, then they are straying outside the bounds of what would be
considered a church by biblical and traditional standards.
2. Qualified Leadership
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship. Acts 2:42
The health of a church is largely dependent on the health of its leadership team. When
we talk about evaluating someone as a church leader, were not talking about
something as straightforward as grading a term paper. Were talking about evaluating
a human being with all of his or her strengths, weaknesses, quirks, and shortcomings.
It is a highly subjective task and, to be honest, none of us are qualified to do so; only
God knows the heart.
What we can do, however, is get to know the overall leadership in the church and find
out a little bit about who they are, how they got there, and what they do. Look at
some of the aspects of a qualified leader as set forth by Paul in 1 Timothy 3.
3. Preaching and Teaching
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship. Acts 2:42
It is an undeniable fact that preaching was one of the primary ways in which Jesus did
ministry. He was an itinerant preacher, traveling the countryside and expounding the
Scripture to all who would listen. Jesus not only set the example but commanded His
disciples to carry on His teaching ministry (Matthew 28:19-20). In so doing, Jesus
established the Church and appointed the teaching and preaching of the Word as the
primary means for nurturing and leading believers into spiritual maturity.
A church that preaches faithfully from the Scriptures may not be perfect, but it will set
the stage for healthy and vibrant spirituality in its people.
4. Worship
They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having
favor with all the people. Acts 2:46, 47
If worship styles in the church were like flavors of ice cream, Baskin-Robbins would be
out of business. The object of our worship is what matters most. When we worship
God rightly, we do so in order to praise
Him and give Him glory with all of our being (in spirit). He also wants us to do it on
His terms and in the light of His revelation (in truth), which means we should never
stop seeking to know Him as He is revealed in Scripture. Find a church that prioritizes
worship on His standards alone and youll have found a church that will be faithful in
its worship.
5. Church Unity and Fellowship
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their
possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. Acts
2:44, 45
Ask yourself whether or not you feel welcome in this new community of believers. If
youve tried to plug in and get connected to community but have not been received
with the open arms of fellowship, then it may not be the place for you. If you are

readily welcomed, however, and still dont feel like youre at home, its time to ask
some deep personal questions...

Am I pursuing every available opportunity to get involved?

Are these people struggling to accept me, or is it the other way around?

Have I brought some misguided expectations to the table regarding what this
new church community should be like?

Am I judging this new group of people on my past experiences or present


circumstances?

Are they speaking difficult truth to me, and is that ruffling my feathers?

In prayer, do some business with God and earnestly ask Him to reveal to you why this
church seems to be shutting you down. Be ready to listen and act based on His
leading. The result of your obedience will surely be His glory and your greatest good.
6. Holiness
And awe came upon every soul. Acts 2:43
You shall be holy, for [God is] holy. 1 Peter 1:16
To believe in God and to pursue His will for our lives means to stop seeing the world
as culture defines it and to start seeing it as God defines it. Thats what Paul meant
when he told believers to stop conforming to the patterns of this world and to be
transformed by the renewal of their minds (Romans 12:2). A good church will exercise
strong discernment in this area. They will wisely distinguish between the areas of
culture and the world with which we should engage and those we should reject
outright. A good church will fight to maintain the sanctity of its people and to
challenge them to live up to the moral standards set forth in Scripture, knowing all the
while this quest for moral purity and holiness is a messy process done not in search of
but in response to a grace freely and fully given. Does this mean the members in the
church are better than those outside its walls? No.
Does the idea that we are holy, or set apart by God, give us a reason to boast and
look down our noses at unbelievers? Absolutely not. If a church holds that view of
holiness, then you should probably run the other way.
7. Mission
And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47
God created the church in order to accomplish His mission in the world. In Ephesians,
Paul tells us that in the gospel of Christ, God has made known to us His eternal plan
to unite all things to Himself (Ephesians 1:10). He invites us to be agents in that plan
by telling us we were saved by grace so we might go out and do the good works,
which God prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:10) and to extend this grace to
every person on this Earth. A faithful church will take these words seriously and
recognize they exist for far more than Sunday morning worship services. Here are a
few questions to help you figure out where a church lands on this great and sacred
mission.

Are they hearers or are they doers? Does this church seek to teach its congregation
for the sake of teaching, or does it point them to actually go out and do something
with that teaching?
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

Are they on mission? The Bible is pretty clear on a few difficult truths...

1. Weve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.


2. Were all dead in our trespasses.
3. Without God, were destined for eternal judgment. Thats the bad news. Thank God
theres also good news...
4. God came in the flesh as Jesus Christ.
5. Christ died to pay the penalty for all of His people.
6. Christ rose on the third day to defeat Satan, sin, and death.
If the church seems willing to serve without spreading the good news, then this might
not be the church for you.
Find Yourself a Good Church
We were not created for isolation. We cant do this alone. For the good of your eternal,
spiritual life, youve got to find a church to call home.