What Should I look for in a church?

Questions to ask with hints at answers:

1. Do they believe and teach the gospel message clearly and regularly? You’ll want to hear how they articulate the gospel and what they believe about Jesus’ death and if one is justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ.

2. What do they believe about Scripture? They should believe that it is true, authoritative, without error, and points to Jesus Christ at every point. They should also believe it’s the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

3. Do they practice the ordinances (sacraments) of baptism and the Lord’s Supper? What do they understand these to mean? It should be tied to faith in the gospel and not working grace in you apart from faith in the truth of the gospel message understood and freshly believed.

4. What does the church believe? Do they have a doctrinal statement? Is it used? Ask for a copy of their doctrinal statement. If they don’t have one or don’t know where it is, then that ‘s not a good sign.

5. What’s the mission of the church? Is it about God’s glory, edifying and equipping the church members, and making disciples of those who have not yet believed and repented?

6. Will they love you enough to hold you accountable to the privilege and joy of trusting and obeying Jesus? Will they discipline you out of the church if you refuse to repent? They should be willing to do that with great love and earnest pleading.

7. Do they preach and teach from the Bible? Is it obvious that what is being taught is rooted, grounded, and coming from the Bible’s actual words? They should be.

8. How does one become a church member? This will give you an idea of their value on and commitment to those who are committed to them as a local church.

9. How will I be equipped to love and serve the Lord Jesus, his church, and the neighborhood God called me to live in? They should have some general idea that includes the gospel, biblical truth, fellowship and shared life, and partnership in loving those not yet in Christ.

We’d love for you to ask Bethany Baptist Church members these (and other!) questions that are on your mind. Also, if you’re looking for another church in the greater LA area, please don’t hesitate to contact a pastor who can recommend other churches that would help you know, believe, love, and follow Jesus Christ! We pray for many of them in our Sunday gatherings and are glad to point you to them if the Lord Jesus would have you go there.

9Marks answers this same question a little bit differently and it’s worth reading.

Don Whitney has a more exhaustive (and exhausting!) list of questions to ask.