We all come from different backgrounds, all over the nation, all over the world and from all denominations.
Transitioning into this season of college life, many are new to the area and begin the avid search for a church. They feel the desire to call a church community home; somewhere for consistent spiritual growth. We cannot allow our eagerness to lean towards a church home if we take down the spiritual guard around our hearts. Occasionally, unhealthy churches can tear down real believers at any stage of life, and we need to be aware that dangerous churches can be a reality.
Does this mean people should go around being skeptical of every church they set foot in?
Absolutely not! Real loving and life giving churches make their residence inside of this city. However, we are called to live above the trap in which we believe that every church with a pulpit is healthy and well suited for us.
Familiar is the parable, “Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” from Matthew 13, Jesus intends for us to be well planted and producing harvest. Therefore, a the right church is necessary.
So when searching for a church to belong in, all on our own, with no parents to umbrella us into their decisions, what questions should we ask to avoid unhealthy environments?
First of all, take every aspect of a new church into consideration with the Bible. Truth and the Bible go hand in hand—if a church is cultivating a poor environment, it is likely its preaching and planting into its congregation is poor in accuracy.
Many churches place their doctrine of faith online, or host a membership class to discuss it directly. This is a great place to analyze their fundamental beliefs against your own. These kinds of foundations deserve to be communicated openly; it is generally a red flag if these ideals are kept under locks.
Secondly, take a look into the ministries made available by the church. Ask key questions as to how the children and youth are organized. What ministries are made available to adults, and what developments does the congregation have toward missions and the community?
The fruit of a church is a great sign to its health for the personal life of any believer.
This notion quotes Matthew 7, “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”
Get to know the head pastor, where they are from and why they are senior pastor now. Take a look at the different congregations this church is in partnership with, as members of one-body churches are meant to work with each other as part of the same team.
The main point is; know thy church. Know everything possible before allowing roots to be grown in a new church, as promising as it looks from the outside.
An open mind among churches is crucial; as people and society grow along with the way that individuals are reached. For example, a church that sends out a letter in the mail every month will not see as many members as one who frequently posts over Twitter. Or at least, their demographic will be greatly affected.
“Embrace growth but pursue health—knowing that health is the vital prerequisite, cause, and sustainer of growth,” said Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Texas, one of the most rapidly growing churches in the nation.
The most astounding sign of a healthy church is the way it actively lives as a congregation inside of the community.
Ask the questions, find the answers and go get rooted in a healthy home church with an aim for growth.