A Basic Guide for the Beginning Church-Hunter
Why Should I Join a Church?
No one’s perfect, and churches are no exception. In fact, churches are as flawed and human as the people who are in them. That can be a scary thought when you’re looking for a place to grow and be cared for spiritually. Yet, church life is an essential part of the Christian life.
God created us to be in relationship with one another. We were not made to be alone, but to belong to families and communities. That’s why the 2nd ‘Great Commandment,’ according to Jesus, is to, “Love your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 22:36-40).” As Christians, the spiritual family and community we’re called to be a part of is the church.
Jesus told His disciples that He was building His church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He appointed leaders for the early church, who taught the Bible and established the early form of the church. In Hebrews, the early church was urged, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another (Heb. 10:25).”
So, you need to find a church in order to be a good follower of Jesus and to be obedient to God’s word. You need the teaching, support and encouragement that the church provides. Yet we know that not all churches are alike. Some churches are big and others are small. Some churches play very contemporary music and others prefer traditional hymns. And, unfortunately, some churches teach God’s word faithfully and others do not.
We have worked with some local churches in order to provide you with a list of churches that are faithful in teaching God’s word and that agree with our Statement of Faith. Yet even these churches vary greatly in size, style, practice and organization. How can you know which church to attend?
The Church That’s Right For You
Big or Small?
Some people really like attending a big church. Big churches can offer a variety of programs and options and will often have the money to provide special services that smaller churches cannot afford. The music in worship will often have a more “professional” polish and the church may even offer multiple worship services to suit the tastes of different parts of the church. Other people prefer attending a smaller church, often because they feel lost in a bigger church. Small churches can offer a better opportunity to get to know more people and to feel more like a family. Small churches may not have as many programs or services, but they can feel more friendly and comfortable for many people. How do you know if a big church or a small one is right for you? There’s really no way to know for sure until you try both and see which one you prefer.
Contemporary or Traditional?
Churches also vary in their worship style. Some prefer to sing modern worship songs in a contemporary style, while others like the older hymns. Still other churches blend the old and new in a “blended worship” style. If you have strong feelings about worship style, you may want to call the church and ask or visit their web site and find out if they are more contemporary or traditional.
Who Gets Baptized?
Baptism is one of the biggest differences in teaching and practice among the churches who meet our doctrinal standard of being a good church. Some churches (Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.) believe in baptizing the infant children of believers as children of the covenant. Others (Baptist, Bible, etc.) believe that a person needs to make an independent confession of faith and to accept Jesus personally before he or she can be baptized.