Lately, people have been asking my advice on finding a good church. It certainly can be hard to determine which church one should attend.
Generally, churches look alike in their yellow pages ads, on their web sites, and in their mass mailings. Their radio and television commercials seem very similar. I might visit a church based on advertising alone. However, if a church did not live up to its projected image, I would not return.
Recently, I have been thinking about another method of finding a church. What if I started looking at the people around me to find the most Christ-like men and women? What if I decided to visit congregations that they attended? I have little doubt that I could find an excellent church using such a method.
I would look for men and women of kindness, the type of people who will reach out in compassion to others around them who are hurting or lonely. I would look for people of conviction, people who would stand for biblical standards and doctrines despite the unpopularity of their positions. I would look for men and women who would not only refuse to participate in office gossip, but who would not allow it to go unchallenged in their presence. I would look for people of wisdom, people who know how to live godly and attractive lives at the same time. I would look for men and women who enjoyed life and had grateful attitudes. I would search for people who spoke of faith in Christ and lived by faith in him. I would seek out men and women of humility, people with a sense of security without a sense of arrogance.
Such people reflect well on Christ, but they also reflect well on their local congregations. They are the best advertisements that a church could place in a community. Their lives would help me in determining which church to visit (and possibly join).
"...they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way" (Titus 2:10, New Living Translation).