"What should I look for when trying to find a church?" or Church shopping. This is a question that has been asked over and over again. If a person does not love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, then they are likely to end up back in a cult-type environment again.
Why Choose a Church?
Why do people need to shop for a church? Why do people need to look for a specific church? Don't we all know the answers to this? Can you think of reasons why you wouldn't just ask your neighbor for the closest church and then just go? Obviously, not everyone who calls on the name of the LORD is saved.
Mat 7:22+ Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Why do People Leave a Church?
Statistically, people leave a church for several reasons:
Most people leave a church because they don't feel spiritually satisfied. And others leave because they don't find meaning or work to do in the church. I think that's sad.
The Bible teaches that the church is the body of Christ. And Christ's body is certainly busy doing His work. If you aren't actively involved in doing the work of God, I believe something is definitely wrong.
If the teachers of a fellowship don't bring you the Word of Life and help explain things to you, then it's probably time to find a better teacher.
Don't Rush to Join Another Church
Some pastors insist that you must join yourself to their church. In fact, they pressure people. Why are there so many churches though? What is their motivation? Don't other pastors feel that they have the best church to? And so, if you are going to fellowship with any of them, which one? Certainly you don't want a church that idolizes the pastor. Learning about the many different religions out there takes time. And getting to know what a church believes takes time. So, please, take your time and make a good decision. If a pastor pressures you, then I would venture to say that he doesn't appreciate the importance of such a decision, wants your money or wants to lord himself over you. I have personally seen this many times. In fact, they may pressure you with this scripture (which doesn't contain the urgency they suggest of rushing out to join a church):
Heb_10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Do you see any pressure in this scripture to rush out and join a church? Does taking time to make a good decision make you any less of a Christian? If somebody pressures you with "you need to join a church right away, then try this "Oh, really? Well there is X church right near me, I can go there can't I? And if they say, "Oh, don't go there, they "......" You can say "Well, it looks like I need time to decide who I want to fellowship with then. I cannot take just anybody's word for it." Maybe that will get them to thinking?
I was horrified by the way I was treated by pastors after I left the cult. Having no ties to their churches, I was free to ask them tough questions that set them back. Like, "If you treat me this way when you don't know me, how poorly will you treat me if I was a member of your church?" Or, "What's your name?" Interestingly when I wanted to know one man's name after some of the things he said, he quickly hung up.
Will Fellowship Affect You?
The people who you are friends with and with whom you fellowship will have a profound impact on your life. I would not recommend rushing to join yourself to a church. Instead, I recommend joining yourself to God, getting to know God first. True, good fellowship can help us learn about God, but there is a high likelihood that a bad church can destroy you.
Even more than your friends, what you do will have a profound impact on your life. Consider Paul's instructions to Timothy:
1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
If you are not diligent in searching the scriptures, then it's likely you will fellowship with people of the same mind. What will be the end result?
Are There Any Offenses to Deal with in your "Old Church"?
You may be looking for a "new church" (new to you) or a different church. And most likely because of problems in your "old church". Consider this: if everybody just leaves a church and goes to a "better" one (in your opinion), what about all the people left behind? I would encourage you, that if you have been offended or trespassed on/against by a member of that church, that you deal with the problems there as taught in Matthew 18. And if the issue cannot be resolved, that you bring witnesses as Jesus Christ instructed. And if that doesn't resolve it, bring it to the church itself. This IS the will of God. These are the instruction of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Now, not all problems are offenses. Perhaps it's false doctrine being taught by the pastor. Have you talked with them? Have you talked with the elders? Have you all met together? Is it a significant doctrinal difference? If it's not a significant doctrinal issue (Peter likes blue ribbons and Sally likes yellow), then why is it being taught? Consider the instructions of Paul to Timothy:
Frankly, much (not ALL) of "Christianity" (from what I've seen) is just a business market. No different in human nature than the workers, pastors are compelled for financial reasons to preach what people want to hear. Just like the workers, pastors are obligated to get financial support. Just like the workers, many pastors want to obtain a following. As Jesus Christ said, "All that came before me were thieves and robbers..."
But, not to worry. Salvation doesn't come through a good pastor, or a good church. Look at the book of Revelation from John. Here John was in the Spirit on the sabbath and wrote down what the Spirit said to the seven churches. Which of the churches were perfect? and without need of God for cleansing from their sin? All needed God. Some were more righteous than others. Many had problems. I have problems and you probably have problems. That's what God is for. Through faith in God and by God's grace, we obtain salvation. We should not expect to be saved by belonging to a church. We should not expect to be saved by listening to a nice-sounding pastor. Nor will any children be saved by a Sunday school class. Undoubtedly, we must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ (not a false gospel), we must learn about God (not a false Jesus Christ), but we can do this independent of a church. And granted, we don't want to go listen to some false prophet (like the workers). But just because a "church" calls itself "Christian", this is not a place to stop asking questions.
A Question for Ourselves
The real question is "Do you love God (the God of the Bible) with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? If you do love God, then you will find fellowship. There are lots of Christians who love God and their neighbors. I have met true Christians. I have fellowship with them.
Motivation for "Going to Church"
What is our motivation for "attending a church building"? Are we going so that other people see us go? We can learn from what Jesus Christ said to some:
Mat_23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Are we going for business contacts? I know some people that go from church to church to make friends and turn them into business contacts. What reward will they have from God?
Are we going to learn about God from other people? Do we want to learn? Do we want to be equiped to minister to others? Will the people there build us up or tear us down with gossip and false doctrine?
Fellowship is The Same Around the World
There are Christians all around the world. And fellowship with them is great. They know about God. They know of God's commandments. They know about sin. They know about Jesus Christ. They believe God's Word. They love God and their neighbors. This is real fellowship. They read and believe that the Bible is God's word, and relevant today. There is fruit in their life: love, joy, peace, long-suffering..
Don't Go to This Church
Would you like a list of churches not to go to? Don't fellowship with a church teaching false doctrines. There are many scriptures that tell about who to fellowship with and who not to fellowship with. Of course, as Christians, we don't fellowship with those that worship demons or satanic cults who worship workers (idolatry) and teach heresies. We don't support or fellowship with them. Here are some scriptures regarding who we fellowship with.
Psa_94:20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?
Eph_5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
1Co_10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
2Co_6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
1Ti 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Jud 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
I don't have fellowship with people who think a cult is of God. I don't fellowship with people who believe that the overseers are saved. I will talk with them, but not fellowship. Most of them really don't believe in the 2x2s anyway. They just say they are Christian to justify living in sin and justifying their choices. It's sickening to see them lose their love for God and lose their vision.
What are Doctrines/Teachings of the Church?
The Bible teaches that we must have fellowship within the doctrine of the apostles.
Act_2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
A fellowship that is not within the doctrine of God is not a fellowship of God. The apostles were to do and teach the commandments of God. And the apostles did.
People who don't believe in the apostles but preach some other way that contradicts the scripture is not a fellowship of God.
Fellowship of the Son
1Co_1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
For many who claim Christianity, it's a fellowship for socializing, dating, living together, playing games, doing fun activities etc. No different than the Workers Way. It's not a fellowship of Jesus Christ. And to them Jesus Christ definitely is not considered LORD.
2Co_8:4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
Php_3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
1Jn_1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
As Christians around the world do and teach the commandments of God, we have fellowship with each other: sharing how God has helped us, sharing what we have learned of God, sharing our understanding and building others up. There is fellowship in hard times and fellowship in good times.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Tit_3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Satan At War
Rev_12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Satan knows who are God's. The dragon makes war with those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Focus on God - Fellowship Naturally Results
Good fellowship comes from faith in God and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves. God knows how to give us good fellowship. If you are church shopping, I encourage you to know God so you aren't deceived and ensnared by false religions.
Questions to Ask
Here are some other questions to ask that may reveal some very important issues. I will try to put the easiest ones to find answers to at the top
We Have No Sin
Kids Hating God
God Doesn't Care
Faults & Offenses
What is that to Us?
Ben Cromptons Plea
Are You Saved
False Prophets - Fear
Not Allowed in Heaven
All the Blood
Apostles Vs Workers
No Faith in God
Proof of Worship
Why the Hate
Kids Set Up
Types of 2x2s
Why the Hurt
Christians and Signs
Thy Kingdom Come
Surviving Divided Home
Free to Believe
Abide in Vine
Praying For Natural Things
House to House
Didn't Think of
Getting a Message
Christians not Respectable
The Older Brothers
Law and Prophets
Understand Old Testament
Sin No More
Just Say You
Signs and Decisions
Led by 2x2 Spirit
Changing 2x2 God
Employees or Subcontractors
How Followers Controlled
Is Jesus Christ God
Ex2x2 Hard to Save
Prayer for Faith
Reasons to Excommunicate
Spot 2x2 Lies
The Come Along
the Blood of Jesus Christ
Who is Saved?
2x2s False Religion
Sociopaths - Demons
Tactics of 2x2s
Christians in False Religion?
How Many Ways?
Praise Changes Things
Are 2x2s Saved?
|To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.|