Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrew 10: 23-15
So you have left the Watchtower, you found a Saviour in the Lord Jesus, you have repented of your sin and Jesus has given you the free gift of everlasting life. Hallelujah! John 3:18.
Now what? Thanks God!! I’ve got my ticket to heaven…now I will just get on with my life… it doesn’t matter what I do now! Well sure some people will do that. Yes we are saved through Christ alone, through faith alone. Are we ones who never want to grow? Who just want to take the 4 gospels, but never go beyond this? Do we not want to follow the rest of the bible that talks about the way we should live our life as Christians? Maybe we don’t want to fall under somebody else’s leadership again? Afraid of getting hurt again? How do we even know what church is false and which is true? All fair questions and I hope this article helps.
Unfortunately there is so much nonsense in the “Christian” church today. It can be difficult to find a good fellowship. Sadly people look to God TV where the majority are actually business men and women trying to get rich, who wrap it in Christian clothing to make it appear christian. Do not be fooled by these…. “Watch out for false prophet’s. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves”. Matt 7:15.
However, this is no excuse to not go to church. There are still plenty of good ones around… how can you find one? Well here are 10 tips for helping you find a good church, and possibly even to question wherever you may have previously attended.
1) Remember Christianity is a “DONE” religion….not a “DO” religion. (Ephesians 2:8)
All sermons should be fixed on the “done” work of Jesus. Granted we do need leaders to advise us on how we walk in sanctification, but the way it is done is by having a deeper relationship with Jesus. When you are a Jehovah’s Witness everything is “you must do more, or else…….”. King David knew his sin, and he knew he was just not strong enough to deal with sin based on his own strength. I love his words in Psalm 65…
Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
to you our vows will be fulfilled.
2 You who answer prayer,
to you all people will come.
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
you forgave our transgressions.
4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
God our Savior,
Now sure Joyce Meyer may well give some sort of brilliant advice on how you stop being tempted. It might be some sort of psychological thing that helps you overcome it. But the truth is we deal with our sin by getting closer to God, and letting him do the work in us.
As soon as your preacher starts saying… you MUST DO this, or DO that to be saved…unless that thing is repent, then he is wrong as this does not align with scripture.
2) Is the leader qualified for teaching? Titus 1
Yes, believe it or not you do have to be qualified to be an elder in the church. This does not involve a little green book published by the Watchtower society, all we need is what is in the bible. Do not be put off by this term “elder” it is actually biblical.
5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. 6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:5-9).
This does not mean the elder has to be perfect, but the verses are clear as to the fact an elder must be an example to the congregation.
I know that it may be hard to accept this coming from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but there is a correct way for an elder to behave which is biblical.
3) Stop complaining about little things you aren’t happy with (Acts)
In the book of Acts, there were constant fall outs with the Jews and Gentiles about things such as:
- Not eating animals that had been sacrificed to false idols
- Abstaining from eating meat that wasn’t Kosha.
Today in the church people leave over things like:-
- I don’t like the music
- The pastors voice is boring
- There is nothing for my children to do
Unfortunately, this is the attitude a lot of people have. But opposed to thinking what the church can do for you and complain about it… see if you can help the church? Remember church is an “ecclesia”… in other words it’s who we are not where we go. So lets help each other, not look to be critical over such small things.
4) Disagree but don’t divide. (2 Timothy 14-21)
Yes, there are false teachers disguised in Christian clothes you should avoid. But today people fall out over many different things. Maybe you don’t agree on the following your pastor teaches:-
- Bible translation.
- Israel in Gods plan.
- If the rapture is before or after the tribulation.
- If we still have spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues.
- Whether baptism is a sprinkle or full immersion.
The list goes on! But why are so many Christians focused on these things? and fall out about it! By all means, all of these points are healthy to debate. The Jews call it “beit midrash”, where they would study scripture together and then discuss it. These things are not something to fall out about. It is OK that we may have some different views on secondary things which don’t affect a person’s salvation. I doubt that there is one Christian that has everything 100% correct in terms of their theology. But if the true gospel is being preached then we should be able to discern from the bible to see if these things are so.
5) Ok so should I be a Methodist, Baptist, New frontiers church, Anglican, ..which one has the truth?
All of these things are just labels. Just because someone says they are an Anglican doesn’t mean they believe in same sex marriage, its just that some Anglican churches have failed to keep to Gods laws. There are still plenty of good Anglican churches around.
Just because you go to a Baptist church, doesn’t mean everyone is a reformed Calvinist or needs to be.
You need to judge the church on the basis of how biblical it is, not what label is above the door. I would always recommend looking at their faith statement, which can often be found on their website nowadays, and if you should see something such as “We believe Jesus is the son of God, but not God himself” then you can be sure that this is false according to the bible. Also pray for guidance and discernment in your search.
6) Don’t give money to them based on how guilty you feel.
Sadly, many “so called Christian” churches are obsessed with you giving them money. Many of them then live lavish lifestyles, or even have their own planes, mansions and all because of the money the church is giving them.
Recently Creflo Dollar said that he needed over $14 Million dollars because he needed a private jet for his worldwide ministry!
Now, it is practical to give the church money, they do need a building to maintain, rent, a church should look after the widows and orphans, and they should get paid.
The Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. – 1 Corinthians 9:14
The key thing is, they should be preaching the true biblical gospel. If your pastor is constantly talking about tithes and offerings and trying to make you feel guilty if you don’t give – then more often than not they are preaching a false gospel.
Now I am not suggesting it is not right to ask the church for money – but it is down to the individual church member as to however much, and how often they are to give. And to give whatever the Lord has laid upon their heart to give. Many churches now have become so obsessed by this, that they forgot what church is actually about. Some churches even put blame onto it’s members for God not giving them blessings and saying it is their fault for not giving the church money!
7) Christ and Bible based teaching.
Tozer said “if the church sermon is not centered on Christ, chances are Christ is not leading them”.
Listen to your pastor, he is worthy of your respect – but you must still test his sermon/ teaching against the word of God.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false – 1 John 4:1.
But what if your pastor teaches something false? Should you just leave? Well Matt 18 says “if you have a problem with your brother leave your sacrifice at the altar and go and make peace with him before making your sacrifice”. If you have a good leader and he has said something you believe to be unbiblical you should point it out to them – most of the time they will just be grateful of the fact you have told them. I am not suggesting you pull them up for every little thing, but certainly if necessary you should point out to them their scriptural error.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective – James 5:16
If you have a desire to find a good church, God will lead you to one. But don’t go to one “just because you like it” do it on the basis of whether or not it is true.
9) Move if necessary.
“There are no good churches near me”. In all honesty I doubt that – it may be that you are just being too picky about what you want as opposed to actually allowing yourself to be a part of a church. All churches are imperfect as we are all imperfect. Try to find a church which is teaching biblical truth and pray as to where you should fellowship. If you know of any christian’s nearby, you could find out where they go. Some may even meet in a home.
But if it is true, that you have no biblical churches nearby, then why wouldn’t you move?
You would move for work, for school for the children…why wouldn’t you move to find a good fellowship with Christians?
10) Will you try and find one?
The biggest factor as to why people don’t go to church is simple… they do not want to. They do not want the authority of a biblical arrangement and do not mind ignoring the verses that talk about going to church. They will make excuses like “there are no good churches” when in fact there are!! They seek out the imperfections of every church to excuse themselves.
If you genuinely are looking for a biblically sound church, pray for one and accept its imperfections. Be prepared to give something to them as well as getting something back. This may even be helping them in an imperfection they have or something they’ve been in need of. Accept that you may differ on some things and you will find one.
It may not be easy in a day when, sadly, good churches are on the decline, but what did Jesus say:-
Matthew 16:18 – And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Right from the time of the disciples there has been a remnant church on this earth, and there will continue to be until Jesus returns for them.
If you do need any further advice on how to find a good church we would be happy to answer any questions.