Summary: Many have noted to me that they wish they could find a really great church - one that might truely inspire them. These are my opinions and those of a great many others who have written on the topic. I hope you find them of use.
How to Find A Great Church - and What You Might Expect to Find There
Salvation is by Grace and through faith in Jesus but the offerings of a great church can be of immense value in furthering your walk with the Lord and most importantly meeting your true obligations as a good Christian.
I am constantly told by people in my Christian Fellowship group that they would like to find a good Church, and having found one myself I can truly understand why. We are exhorted in the Bible to join together and worship and to fellowship -
Hbr 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Hbr 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
There is no doubt that a strong church association is truly necessary if we are to grow in our Christian walks for as steel sharpens steel the support of like minded fellow christians is necessary if we are to truly grow to our full religious potential, and I sincerely pray that I can give you some characteristics here that will assist you in finding a great Church that might further your walk with Jesus and assist you in building a strong and fulfilling Christian faith.
Perhaps the greatest church of all was that of the early Christians - formed soon after the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The Characteristics of that early church spear headed by the Spirit filled Apostles tell us much about what is to be found in a great Church. Read the book of Acts for some insight into the early church.
Act 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.
Act 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Act 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Act 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Act 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.
Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
We find here some of the underlining principles of a great church -
It is perhaps the first matter that you find a church of sound religious doctrine that is in line with the Holy Bible.
1. The first mark of a good church is its belief that the bible is the inspired, infallible inerrant word of God. This will assure you that the basic truths of the Bible are at its very core. Namely -That God is a triune God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit and each are persons who have always existed equal in power and knowledge and yet unified in their essence as one God. That the Son Jesus Christ is truly God and truly man.That he was born of a virgin and that his atoning death on the cross was for us sinners. He died and was buried and rose again from the dead on the third day. The message of salvation need be one of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone (Eph2:8-9) completely apart from human effort. Salvation is offered us as a gift which is received by faith. A good church will teach and believe in the Holy Spirit both as to who he is and toward what he does. He implants the new birth, (jn3:5) baptizes believers in the body of christ, (1Cor12:13) indwells in individual Christians (1 Cor 6:19), restrains sin (2th 2:7) and he equips believers for service of the lord (eph5:18) just to name a few - read my sermon entitled "Empowering Your Life With the Holy Spirit" for more. A church that does not equip you with knowledge of this important person in God is truly selling you short.
Acts 1:8 “ But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…”
Pro 4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
This is perhaps the best reason for attending and supporting a strong Bible believing local church where one might expect the interplay with Christians of a like mind will assist in good doctrine, worship, edification, exhortation, and encouragement in line with the principles to be learned from the holy bible and your joint study of it.
2. A great church will emphasize God’s Word and Their Need for Him and His Leadership - it must be a faithfully studying church. We would expect to see Bible studies being offered and the pastor earnestly exhorting its members toward serious study of God’s word as the Holy Bible. Understanding that a great works come not from the work of man but by the grace of God and as a result of exhaulting him and beseeching his presence and leadership in all that they do for it is the spirit of God alone that can make all things great and only the true humbleness of man to understand and accept it.