Posted by: Craig | 21 September, 2008

Church supermarket…

I always find going to a new place and finding a church a weird time, you go round attending churches each week (maybe two each week with evening services) and then have to decide which one you are going to commit to and become part of the family. This happens far more these days than it use to just because we are far more mobile and able to move to new places for new jobs, I even went to Texas and that was not hard, but particularly in the life of a student this happens and that initial choice you make in many cases has a major impact on your faith at the end of university life because you get many Christians coming which have been attending their parents church up until now and have yet to claim their faith for their own, and also you get those who became Christians in the year, or maybe 2, before university so can still be quite young in their faith upon arriving at university and having to make that decision (I was in the latter category).

So when I started looking at churches in Guildford at the beginning of university I was primarily looking at the style of worship and whether I enjoyed it, also how interesting the preacher could be to keep my attention, and also the friendliness of the people though that was consistenty good at the ones I attended back then. Looking at that my attitude to finding a church was very consumerist and about what can I get out of this, what does it do for ME and will I enjoy it here. The next church I went to was based on none of those things at all and entirely on seeing opportunities to really serve the church and feeling that was what God wanted me to do but then it has also been hard at times when I really struggled to be fed by the sermons and to worship with all my heart (obviously a part of that is simply my own sinful nature that would be with me anywhere).

Now I am here in Newcastle and having to choose a church, so what now am I looking at when I attend these churches.

  • Firstly “Does it preach and teach the Gospel?” (That is all the core theology that can not be compromised eg. penal substitution) This is the one question that if answered “no” then it is straight off the list of possible churches.
  • Secondly “Where does it’s theology stand?” Do I disagree with some of it’s views on the bigger doctrines that would make it hard to worship,serve and be fed by the sermons.
  • Thirdly “Are there opportunities for me to serve the church?” along with “How does it try to do community discipleship and being a missional church?”
  • Lastly “Which style (worship,sermons,services) do I prefer/find easier to worship?”

If I can make it through the first three and still have a choice I would be suprised in most towns and even then he difference in style would normally not be much as certain styles do tend to associate with certain theologies in any given generation.

Disclaimer – I do believe that God guides us by His holy Spirit which is in all who are saved so though the post above is entirely based on our reasoning and God’s word (defining the theologies we agree with) I do believe that prayer is important in this and God can convict us and guide us through that, and there are times when the place we should be does not fit “our” style or even our theology entirely but it is where God wants us to serve for what ever reason.

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Responses

  1. Thinking of your easy mobility in Texas reminds me of our moped adventure when I’d locked my keys in my car. I think I LIVED to make my mobility as difficult as possible. Haha!

    Good good questions to ask oneself. I’ll keep all those in mind and will refer back in case I need to find a new church.

    And thanks for the encouraging comment on my blog. Come back and see me!


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