What do you look for in a church? Listen to Sheb and Sam Varghese discuss 8 important things to look for when trying to find a church to attend, and please comment with your own thoughts.
My brother, Sam and I talk about what to look for in a church.
(I should preface this by saying two things. 1. This list is not exhaustive. I did not mention the partaking of Eucharist, but I include that under the theology of the church, though it could have been separate. 2. This list does not correspond to every church context globally or across time, but applies to the Christian church in North
“Welcome to the Faith Colloquium Podcast…today we’re talking about what to look for in a church…”
“We both went to quite a variety of churches growing up since our dad was an evangelist…So I always think of that as a great opportunity to see this variety of churches and worship styles. When did you first start analyzing what things are helpful to you specifically?”
“It was something I started to think about at the end of my time at seminary…I had applied to a lot of different churches…and then we started visiting some of these churches…Really the first and honestly the most important thing for me is, I want to know where does church stand theologically. What do they believe? Are they theologically orthodox? Do they believe in the Trinity? Do they believe Jesus bodily rose from the dead? What’s their view of the Bible? Is the church more Reformed or Wesleyan? Is the church more charismatic or non-charismatic?…I could never attend a church that did not believe that Jesus bodily rose from the dead. But I could attend a church that practices paedo-baptism even though I don’t believe in paedo-baptism…So a lot of that type of thing you can find on a church’s website…There is a trend among particularly church plants recently where they don’t really have what they believe theologically. So it’s trendy now for churches to post just the Apostle’s Creed as what they believe…And then the related point is what does the pastor believe theologically? I want to know where this pastor did his theological training. Does he have any theological training? Where did he go to seminary? Seminary training, theological education is really important to me. I simply wouldn’t attend a church where the pastor had not gone to seminary…And then I want to listen to a sermon by this pastor…Is this sermon an hour and a half long or is it thirty minutes long?”
“It seems like in evangelical culture, the sermon is the pinnacle of the church service…the longer the sermon the better seems to be a general perspective.” “Most of us can’t sit and listen to a 90 minute sermon…I’m a big believer in the 20-30 minute sermon…I think you can be faithful to the text in that type…The third thing I look for is how large is this church? How many people attend this church? Is it a 5000 megachurch or is it a church of 100 people? …I’m convinced the role of the church is to function as local communities of the body of Christ and in order for a community to be a community, they need to be a community of relationships…Paul envisions these local church communities involving real relationship and communities that actually live with each other…I don’t see how a pastor can truly have the title pastor…if he’s looking over 5000 members…”
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