Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Looking For a Church Home

I found the following article by Dr. Donald S. Whitney to be a useful tool for those who are seeking a Christ-centered, Biblically based church home.

Of course each individual Christian is responsible to "rightly divide the Word of Truth", therefore the believer ought not only measure the answers to these questions against the revealed Word of God, but also ought to examine his own assumptions as to "acceptable answers" in the light of Holy Scripture as well.

As always, diligent prayer and seeking the Lord's purpose is the key to finding yourself in the center of His good and perfect will; which includes your church family.

Looking For A Church Home?
If you are looking for a church home, the answers you receive to questions like these may help you determine whether a particular church is the one where God wants you.

Tips for using these questions:

Ask wisely. Talk to the pastor, if at all possible. If not, then ask another staff member of the church.

Ask personally. Visit or call him. Do not mail or fax these and ask for a written reply.

Ask courteously. Do not "grill" the pastor or ask aggressively.

Ask selectively. Do not ask all these questions at one time. The more serious you become about membership, the more appropriate it becomes to ask additional questions later.

These questions are not necessarily listed in the order of significance. Some of them may not be important to you. You may want to add others.

Realize that you may not be able to find a church near you which can answer all your questions satisfactorily. However, the Lord does want you to find a church home where you can be involved.

1. How is a person made right with God?
2. What is your position on the inerrancy of Scripture?
3. Do you believe Genesis 1-11 is factual or symbolic?
4. Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven?
5. What is your position on the Lordship Salvation issue, i.e., can a person take Jesus as Savior without taking him as Lord?
6. Do you believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin?
7. Do you believe in the bodily return of Jesus Christ?
8. Do you believe in a literal Hell?
9. What is your position on the ordination of women for positions of church leadership?
10. How do you deal with a young child who says he or she wants to be saved?
11. How do you combat easy-believism?
12. What are your views regarding divorce and remarriage?
13. What is your position on the charismatic movement?
14. How would you/the church handle a case of scandal or immorality by a church member?
15. What is your position on church debt and is the church in debt?
16. Have there been any splits in the church and have any pastors been asked to leave?
17. What have been the high points (or the "best thing") in this church in the last five years? In the last six months?
18. What are the greatest strengths of this church? Weaknesses?
19. How do you foster the spiritual growth of individuals in your church?
20. What are your goals for the church?
21. Would you mind telling me about your devotional life?
22. Who are your favorite authors?
23. What is the doctrinal statement of the church, and may I have a copy? (Note: Be cautious if the church has no doctrinal statement or cannot find a copy.)
24. Does the church follow it's constitution and by-laws, and may I have a copy?
25. Does a large percentage of the church differ with your position on any of these issues?

You may also want to know if there is any antagonism by the pastor or the church toward any ministries that are important to you.

Other issues you might want to formulate questions about, if applicable to your situation, are: abortion, home-schooling, the Masons, the New Age Movement, etc.