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How to Pick a Church

Newcomers in town are often confused when trying to find a church home. There are so many good churches around that they do not know how to decide between them. No one church will suit everybody but there are four things that are important in this decision.

1. The pastor. While the pastor is only a small part of the church, he exerts an influence all out of proportion to his size. He is the spiritual thermostat of the church, and he affects the temperature of the whole membership. People in cold churches have four choices: 1) Get a new thermostat (pastor). 2) Adjust the old one. This is hard because preachers get set and stuck with age and it’s hard to change them. 3) Stay there and freeze to death. 4) Find a warm spiritual atmosphere where you can grow.

So the best solution is to find the right church in the first place. Many people are fed up with not being fed in church. So look at the pastor. Does he preach God’s word? Is he down to earth? Is he warm and friendly?

2. The people. Look for people who are enthusiastic about their church. The word enthusiasm comes from two words meaning “God in us.” When people are filled with God’s Spirit they will be excited, enthusiastic, and dedicated. How can you tell what people are like on one visit? Listen to them sing. Do they do it with gusto? Watch them greet strangers. Are they warm and friendly? Note their follow up with guests. A visiting church is one that cares about people.

3. The program. Look for a church with a program that will meet the needs of your whole family. Do they have an adequate nursery? Children’s programs? Youth activities? Do they seek to win the lost to Christ? Meet social needs? Offer counseling? Have strong music and missions programs?

4. The proximity. While this is not the primary consideration, all other things being equal, you probably will be more active and consistent in a church near your home. 

In the final analysis, the most important thing is not where you worship, but that you worship (Hebrews 10:25) and grow spiritually.

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Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

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