Explore new horizons of a living faith
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
There is a wonderful variety of churches. We have different ways of expressing ourselves, different approaches to God, different tastes of music, different ages. So, there are many churches because there are many ways people prefer to meet with God. The centre for any church however is Jesus. He is the head of the church, and so we know we are safe in our search if we can see Jesus lifted up above all else.
There may be a variety of churches in an area that are unfamiliar to you. If you are looking for the church that is right for you, then this is an opportunity to experience the rich variety of churches. It will also enable you to meet new people. If you go to a church and explain that you are looking for one, you should meet with a helpful and encouraging response.
The easiest way of exploring churches is to visit on a Sunday. Find out where and at what time they meet. In some countries they meet early for a teaching time. It is preferable to not go to the same church twice in a row while uncertain. That would give people the impression that you had settled with them.
To get a broad view of what churches there are try asking at a Christian book shop or organisation with a broad perspective and ask them if they could give you an overview of the churches your area. In the UK, the Evangelical Alliance UK has a site that gives you details of member churches in your locality.
There are a wide range of styles across the churches. These vary from where people will make a point of spending time to chat, offering you a drink at the end and seeking to make you welcome, through to others where everyone is so engrossed in their personal spiritual reflection that no one talks to you before or after the meeting. Whichever type you end up in, you will find that for most there is a sincerity of faith.
Here are some factors that those who run churches think about in their approach to worshipping God. It is helpful to have these in mind when visiting a church to understand where they are coming from.
It is helpful to bear in mind that when you visit a church of a particular style, the people there will usually only be able to help you think about churches of their style. If you want to broaden your perspective and think of other styles of church then it is best to ask in a more neutral forum such as a local Christian book shop.
Terms to know
How do we approach God?
How do we understand truth?
I regret to say that some groups, even those that go by the name Christian can be sufficiently off track that I find it necessary to give you some indicators of danger signals. These are things to look out for, and if you see them , they might be a sufficient warning that you might want to walk away from the situation. The first indication is - Do they teach the gospel?
1 Corinthians 15: 1 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters,* of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it.2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.*
3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.5 He was seen by Peter* and then by the Twelve.6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers* at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles.8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.9 For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God's church.
Consider the following text where Jesus gave tests to evaluate a ministry.
Matthew 7: 15 "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.18 A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit.19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire.20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
We live in a consumer society in which there is a tendency to think only about our own needs and preferences. A church however is a community. We are not involved only for ourselves but also for all the others who are there - see Family. It is a good idea to take some time looking at the different churches in an area in order to make a wise choice, but when that choice is made, stick with it.
In the UK there is a service called Fellowship Finders that could help you to find a church nearby. Their contact details are,
Page appears in Bible Explorer - Choose a church
Choose a church