Over the years of my being a Christian, I have often been asked how to find a good church. Maybe you’re looking because you just left a church, maybe you moved, or maybe you’re new to the faith and looking to connect. Wherever it is you’re coming from in your personal walk, let’s dive into this important topic together.
Everyone’s process is a little different, but today, I’d like to share how I personally do it.
But first…why it is even important you FIND a good church? Let’s find out…
And if you want the free PDF book of this topic to download to gift or save for yourself, you can grab your copy absolutely FREE here when you use special discount code: FAITH
How to Find a Good Church
Why it’s important to find a good church
Finding a good church is vital to the Christian faith for many reasons.
First, we NEED to be surrounded by believers. The Bible says iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). We all have blind spots and without other believers around us, it’s harder to maintain that healthy walk with the Lord.
Problem is, if you go to a church that’s super lazy, super busy all the time, or lackadaisical, that also can affect your walk. Good company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).
You’ll never find a perfect church. Why? Because the church is made up of humans and no one is perfect (Romans 3:23). We all mess up, we all fail, and then we all wake up and do it all over again the next day!
But finding a godly church can help you learn about God and get better IN your Christian walk. We can edify each other and lift each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We can serve others and it’s a place where we can come to “lick our wounds” as we live our lives out in the world during the week.
Yes, church is vitally important to the believer’s life!
Did you know that the church began on the Day of Pentecost? If you’re feeling a little rusty on the supernatural spread of the church, go back through and re-read the book of Acts to brush up on this, along with a bit of history on the early church. Paul’s remarkable conversion story, detailed in Acts 9, will make your jaw drop!
He is a man who went from a life mission of persecuting Christians to one of the most studied men of the Bible due to his evangelistic efforts in the face of intense suffering and even death.
It’s an amazing story because it shows us there’s hope in Jesus Christ for everyone. Even the most nastiest jerks in the entire world can be saved out of their horribleness (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
But, how does this relate to us today? And how can we use all of this to find a good church? Keep reading!
The example of a godly church
In Acts 2:42-47, we learn about what a church that’s full of life looks like. These verses describe a true church as one where people heard the Word preached, gave their life to God and enjoyed fellowship with each other.
They worshipped God and devoted themselves to service. When looking to find a good church, we should go back and re-read Acts. It may just help reinforce for us why every Christian not only should attend church but, most importantly, should want to attend worship services.
There’s so much that happens at church that benefits our faith; it’s hard to list everything. There are a lot of beautiful things we get to do together inside a church worship service.
We get to sing hymns and songs to worship God. He enjoys that!!! Think about it. He has angels worshipping Him in Heaven, but they are in Heaven. It means so much MORE to Him when WE do it because we are willingly doing it. We are sacrificing our time to spend time worshiping and praising Him. He thoroughly enjoys it when we praise Him! It is to Him a sweet-smelling aroma.
Why do I say that? Because offerings and sacrifices are sweet smelling to Him (Ephesians 5:2; Philippians 4:18) and worshipping Him IS offering. Offering isn’t just about money, it’s also time and our hearts! We are offering our hearts to Him in that moment that we are singing to Him. And that pleases Him.
At church we are collectively giving thanks always and for everything to God.
Most importantly, at church, we also get to hear the Word of God preached, which in turn grows our faith (Romans 10:17). Ladies, it’s not enough to hide in our caves and read our Bibles in a vacuum. We need to not forsake the meeting together if we are genuine Christ-followers (Hebrews 10:24-25).
How to not forsake meeting together when there’s no godly churches in your area
1- Make sure that you’re only leaving a church for biblical reasons. Things like, the music is too contemporary or not contemporary enough is not a great reason. I’ve also heard, “Well, my kids don’t have any other kids their ages there”. Okay, BRING SOME kids your age to the church!!! 🙂 Personal style or felt needs like that, is not a good reason to leave a church.
If there’s drama, if they are not lining up to the Word of God, if they are in sin and unwilling to repent, yes, leave, but make sure you’ve adequately prayed it through first.
2- Be sure you’ve searched EVERYWHERE for a godly church. Ask your friends; maybe they know of a godly church to go to. Are there any other cities near you (maybe 5-10 miles away)? I remember years ago, I was driving an hour and a half one way to go to a church.
I wasn’t able to go EVERY Sunday obviously, especially in the snow, but eventually, I moved to that city because of the church. Which brings me to my next point.
3- Move. Listen, you live on planet earth and you are fully free to move wherever you want. That may not suit you and that’s fine. But I honestly believe that you should move if you do not have a godly church to attend, unless God does not allow you to. I will stand by that statement. It is THAT important to have a church.
Your life should be very influenced by church. Your activities, your day-to-day life, it should all center around godly friends and the church. If you don’t have that where you’re at…move. Church is a high priority to a believer’s life.
4- If there is no church where you’re at, can you start one? Church planting and home churches are how many churches get started!!! If there’s none in your area, start your own! Be sure it lines up with Scripture (a male leading it or you’re watching a male pastor on TV or something.
For a short while, before I moved to another city to be near a godly church, I was involved in a home church and we would watch John MacArthur on TV each week. We would do all that was necessary for a church, including taking communion. Don’t skip those things…it’s important.
5- If there’s no other churches in your area, you can attend online worship services for a brief time. This is obviously not something you want to do long term, for all the reasons listed in the previous chapters, but sometimes, it just may not be possible to meet with others and so your best bet is to worship online.
This is something I’ve had to do in my life and it’s proved beneficial while I waited for God to provide me a home church. I think the point here is that your heart wants to go, but it’s not a possibility and so you don’t want to forsake meeting together so you attend online. Sometimes, t’s the only possibility, depending on your circumstances (maybe you’re not physically able to go, maybe you’re sick, maybe God doesn’t want you to move and you have no godly church in person, etc.)
It’s important to continue meeting together and so attending online at the time that worship service is, can be an alternative. You don’t get as many benefits, but you can still be considered not forsaking meeting together so that you are not in sin.
6- Pray. Pray that God open doors. Pray that God help you find a church. Pray that God help you move or whatever it takes for you to have a church. In my own life, church has always been a really high priority that I was willing to move for or relocate or shift my whole life around.
God wants us to be around other believers. We need that, more than we realize. No, it’s not perfect, again, no church is, but we need to be around other believers if we want to be a godly Christian.
Unbiblical church examples
While Revelation has a lot of symbolism and is meant for the end times, I do feel confident that we can glean information from those events and look around our world today to see what we want to steer clear of.
Loveless churches – Revelation 2:1-7
There are churches today that show no love toward others. Sometimes they are caught in the rush-rush-rush of the world, sometimes they have forgotten their first love (God), but love is definitely missing from their church. These types of churches can suck you dry and make witnesses tough.
For example, if you bring a friend to church and they are not feeling loved, there is nothing that separates that kind of church from the world. Is not the world angry and loveless as well? As a church congregation, we must be full of love toward the brethren and toward unbelievers as well.
Compromising churches – Revelation 2:12-17
Notice in verse 14, it says, “because you have there some…” This means that not ALL the people were compromising but where there is compromising, there is more sin quickly to follow.
Corrupt churches – Revelation 2:18-29
Sounds very much like this church has a woman leader. She’s influencing them into idolatry and immorality. However you slice the bread, it is unbiblical for women to lead adult men in a church.
Dead churches – Revelation 3:1-6
These are churches that are just going through the motions. They confess to be believers but their fire is gone. It’s just bland.
Lukewarm churches – Revelation 3:14-22
This one is the saddest to me. Unlike a church being led by a woman and unlike a completely dead church, lukewarm churches are not fully dead and not compromising or corrupt and so, often-times, we tend to gloss over their outright sin and condone it or justify it. This is a massive mistake. Being lukewarm sucks you dry of your vitality, of your zeal for Christ. Go there long and you will become lifeless. What kind of person can be used by God who is lifeless (Ecclesiastes 9:4)???
It’s important to notice that each church is not ALL bad. God has good things to say about each church, but also bad. Good mixed with bad is still bad. If you pour a little bit of poison into brownies to eat, it’s still gonna kill you (or at least tear you up, depending on what is used).
If a church is loveless, compromising, corrupt, dead, or lukewarm, it’s best not to attend them. You may think a little bit is okay, but in reality, it will make YOU fall into that trap as well. Go to a loveless church for long and you will become loveless too. God to a corrupt church, and you will become corrupt yourself. Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.
We must be absolutely diligent in finding a godly church if we take our walk with God absolutely serious.
Wrong reasons to find a church
If our heart desires to attend church for all of these reasons in the previous chapters, we are in alignment with Scripture, but there ARE some reasons for attending a church that aren’t biblical.
I’m sure you’ve known someone who attended church for the sole purpose of networking or to be seen as an outwardly spiritual person. I’ve even heard of people going to church to “find a great guy”.
These are not reasons to go to church. They are wrong attitudes and must be repented of if you find yourself going for those purposes.
It’s really all about the heart. But what do you do when your heart doesn’t desire to attend church at all?
What if God hasn’t radically transformed your heart yet? A lot of women are walking around deceived in their salvation. I know I was. I thought I was truly saved all my life. Got baptized, walked the aisle, but never really was. It’s more common than you think! Many people believe because they grew up in a Christian home or prayed a repeat-after-me style prayer that they are saved and going to heaven when they die.
Some people believe that because they went up to the front of the church during an altar call and prayed with a pastor that they’re saved. Or they have earned their way to heaven by their good works, confessions, or an association with someone else who does good things. In other words, they’re saved by association.
These things alone (without the power of genuine repentance of sin) will not give you eternal life. If you feel you might be deceived in some way, please pray for God to open your eyes to see the actual state of your heart. Salvation is a life and death matter. I beg you to settle it once and for all if any of this resonates with you.
Step by step process to finding a godly church
First start with praying for wisdom and direction. Pray that God will help you find the church HE wants you to attend. After you’ve done that, here’s some practical ways you can go about finding a good church.
First, determine the certain mile radius you’re willing to drive. Really think about this and talk about it with your husband, if you have one. Your life is not now and never will be the same as another person’s life. So, give yourself the permission and the freedom to drive farther if it means you might find a better-suited church.
If you decide to drive a long distance to attend church, think of all the fun and creative things you could do on your way there and back. You’ll have more time in the car, so think of ways to make the time productive and enjoyable. And “think outside the car”, if you will. Are there parks and cool places to visit that you could stop at on your way home? Think of making each trip an adventure or maximize the time finding places to explore and learn something new.
Second, make a list of all the true Bible teaching churches within the area you’ve chosen. Please rule out churches that do not teach the Lordship of Christ. If a church is peddling false doctrine, you will be submitting yourself to something that completely contradicts Christ.
If you’re unsure of what kind of churches these might be, you can use websites that offer Church Location Directories. There’s no way I can personally recommend a church to you, but at least you can start your search from the comfort of your home here…
Third, once you’ve made a list of potential churches, it’s time to officially begin your research. And to do that, you need to go to their websites and social media pages and see what they believe in. Read their Statement of Faith, as well as the bios of the people in leadership positions. See what they stand for. Cross off any of them from your list if you see that are disobedient to scripture. For example, we brought this up earlier, don’t attend if they allow women to be pastors. This is not biblical! Please do your homework, and make sure their doctrines are biblical.
Another thing to be aware of is too short of Statement of Faith’s. If it’s super short and very vague, they most likely are trying to appeal to everyone and that’s not really what you want. For me, the longer the Statement of Faith, the better. It shows they’ve done their research and have thoroughly researched things.
Just between too short of Statement of Faith’s and women pastors, you will weed through a LOT! Don’t be surprised, and don’t be discouraged if you wind up with a small list of churches that remain. It’s pretty normal. Most churches, yes, I said MOST, are NOT Biblical. But that doesn’t surprise us right, in light of Matthew 7:13-14.
Fourth, listen to some sermons online. You can get a good feel for a church and their Pastor when you listen to them online and many of them have sermons online. You can weed down your list from there, based on any that have sermons online and don’t line up to Scripture. Things like: they are just glorified story-tellers and only talk about the Bible once through-out the whole sermon.
That’s not going to help you grow deep in faith as a believer!
Fifth, schedule the dates for when you’ll visit each church you have left on your list. As you plan your visit, make sure to give yourself enough time to arrive early so you can have time to get inside and get a seat where you’ll be able to hear the message clearly. And then, ideally, plan to visit each church a few times (a good rule of thumb is at least 4-5 times). A one-time visit may not be enough for you to fully understand what the church is about; they may have a special going on. Finding a new church is a serious undertaking, so treat it as such.
I remember a couple times visiting a new church for the first time and they didn’t have online sermons. One, the Pastor was mocking Godly things and I got so angry (righteous indignation) that I got up and walked out of the church right then and there. I did not care if people looked at me. I couldn’t stand it another minute. When visiting, do not be afraid to leave if it’s completely unbiblical! Staying, is somewhat condoning what they are saying and doing and you don’t really want to be a part of that. Give them a chance, but when there is clear sin multiple times, leave.
When you visit a new church, make sure you visit the Welcome Area when you arrive and take any materials home with you that they provide. You’ll want to do your due diligence and review these materials for any biblical errors or contradictions. Read the bulletin and notice what kind of announcements they have, the type of language they use to communicate to their congregation, their roster of activities, and volunteer service opportunities. Be willing to study everything.
Sixth, check out the women’s Bible study. Listen, point blank, you can tell a LOT about the church by the women’s Bible study. I’ve been to churches where it’s led by someone who is not walking in a Biblical manner and it made me know that’s not the church for me. Another one was led by someone who allowed gossip and the whole thing was just a glorified gossip fest, which is disgusting.
You would not believe the intimate details I know about some people in my previous church solely because they were gossiping those private details all over the place. Not okay. I ended up quitting
that Bible study. If that type of stuff is going on, it’s not really a place you should be.
Another thing you can really check out in that group is the book they are going over. It is by someone who is a false teacher?
Seventh, interview the Pastor. If you’re not finding the answers you’re looking for, meet with the Pastor. I’ve personally done this a couple times in my life and it’s proven well worth it. One time I knew it wasn’t the church for me and the other it helped me know it was. Meeting with the Pastor, asking questions, bringing your concerns is a part of what Pastors take time to do, so be sure you utilize that option!
Keep in mind that there are people all over the world meeting in underground churches where they sit on dirt floors for hours and hours at a time to hear the Word of God preached. As hard as it may be, try not to be overly consumed with style-related issues like how comfortable the seats are, how many stalls in the ladies’ restroom, or the color of the walls in the nursery. People across the globe are risking their lives to attend a church service, so please don’t be consumed with superficial matters.
You should be greatly consumed with being part of a body of believers that worship Christ. In fact, you should be so consumed that you would do anything to be a part of that church– including move. If you find yourself longing to attend a particular church, perhaps God is calling you to move in order to attend that church. I’m not being crazy here by any stretch of the imagination. If you sincerely feel a deep nudge in this direction, don’t rule this out until you see that God has closed this door to you. Keep an open heart and mind through prayer and fasting like you would for huge decisions like this.
With the rise of social media and websites that stream church services, it’s simpler now to do your homework and research more churches in less time. But it doesn’t make the process any easier. You’ll still need to carve out time to read their materials, listen to their messages, and make the right decisions, as outlined above.
Take all of this one step at a time. I know it’s a lot and I hope this motivated you to put yourself out there and find the church home where God wants you to worship and serve. Looking into how to find a good church is definitely a worthwhile endeavor, so don’t give up too quickly.
Want the free PDF book of this topic to download? You can grab your copy absolutely FREE here when you use special discount code: FAITH