4 Questions to ask before joining a Church

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8

This post is a response to this article by the “The Gospel Coalition”:

Link:  4 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Church

1. Is this a Church where my family will be safe from sexual predators? Is this a Church where my family will be safe from deceptive pastors who will do anything to cover up evil in order to protect and preserve what they have worked so hard all their lives to build?

2. Is this a Church where I am convinced I will not be lied to by the endless false doctrines and traditions of American Churchianity?

3. Is this a Church where my family will experience truth and freedom and love, and not shame, bondage, lies, oppression, condemnation and shunning? (And disenfranchisement if we question anything or speak truth?) Is this a Church where the PASTORS have accountability and do not circle the wagons in “good old boy” fashion to protect their kingdoms (Churches/ministries) and reputations, fame and income, at all costs?

4. Is this a Church where I am allowed to use my gifts and serve Christ and the saints by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, as led and directed by God, without having my work and service nullified, shamed and disallowed by the Church Clergy hierarchy? Is this a Church where I am allowed to obey Christ above the Church leadership and not submit my service to Christ, my conscience and very soul to the “Clergy”?

Important final note: You and your family must understand that it is Christ who is your Lord, not the Institutional Church, not the “Clergy” (self-appointed pastors) and not the religion and hierarchy of Roman Catholic based Hierarchical Christendom. You must understand that you are accountable to Christ Jesus who leads you by His Spirit. You must understand that you are not under the authority of “local shepherds” you are under the authority of Christ. And understand that YOU, saint, also have authority in Christ not just the “Clergy” which is a man-made construct of the Roman Catholic Church, based in ancient paganism and religious Old Testament Judaism. You have authority; you are a priest of God, yes you. This wonderful truth is brought to you by the Kingdom of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Kingdom of God is within you.

You must understand this hierarchy, with men lording it over you, is not of Christ, that you are all brothers, equals in Christ and free in Him to love God and neighbor and serve according to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. You must all submit to one another, it is not about the lowly “laity” submitting to the higher ranking “Clergy”. You must understand that men requiring you to be under them in an authoritarian hierarchy of lordship over you, is sinful and not of Christ. Watch out for men who want you to submit to their “shepherding” (control and dominance and suppression) of you.

You must understand that it is being IN Christ that makes you part of the flock, not attendance at an institutional, man created, 501c3 Church business franchise. You must understand that Jesus Christ Himself is the real Shepherd and you all are the church (ekklesia, the called out assembly) and wherever you are, with other saints, there is the church, there is the people and flock of Jesus Christ. You may meet in a dirt floor shack, a coffee shop, an empty lot, at a kitchen table, on the street corner or in a prison cell. Christ is with you and in you (Christ in you hope of glory) and there you have the church, wherever YOU are, dear saint of God. Do not let the hireling “shepherds” lord it over you, shame you or stop you from being who you are in Christ.

Do not let them lie to you and deceive you. Do not let them shame you. Do not let them turn your joy of your first love (Jesus Christ) into a lifetime of oppressive bondage to serve them and maintain the existence of their man created, business marketing managed, flesh powered organizations. Do not let them turn your first love joy and Christ Life into a lifetime of serving, slaving for and financing a “Thing” to keep it going. (The man created Church System is a “Thing”, an “it”.)

Therefore friends, do not join a “Church”, join Jesus Christ and stay joined to Him. Listen not to Churchmen who are NOT focused on Jesus Christ, they are completely focused on The Institutional Church, especially THEIR CHURCH and making it “successful”. Jesus Christ is your Shepherd and you are in His flock. He will lead, guide and teach you. HE will care for you. Listen to Jesus Christ and continue in His word. You will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free. Peace in Christ, my beloved brothers and sisters.

9 thoughts on “4 Questions to ask before joining a Church

  1. Here is the original article:
    ————————————-
    I’ve been asked this question many times not just through my Practical Shepherding website, but even more recently in my own church by visitors. It is a common scenario. You move to a new area. You get find your new residence and job. You get the kids enrolled in school. Where you settle in a local church often becomes a longer, more drawn-out task.

    After checking out all the churches you desire to visit, here are four questions to ask yourself as you narrow the search to make a decision.
    1. Is this a church where my family will be regularly fed by God’s Word?

    This is the first question that needs to be asked. Not just are they faithful to the Word of God, but will this church preach and teach in such a way that my soul and the souls of my family will be nourished? In other words, are they preaching expositionally through books of the Bible as the regular, steady diet of the congregation? This approach does not automatically answer this question, but it is a great place to start and evaluate.

    2. Is this a church where I am convinced the care of my soul will be a priority?

    Does this church have real pastors/elders who see their primary task to be the spiritual care and oversight of the souls of the members? In other words, just because they have powerful, biblical preaching does not mean your individual soul will be tended to on a regular basis. Ask the pastors. Ask other church members. It will not take much investigation on whether this work is a priority of the leadership of the church.

    3. Is this a church where my family will experience meaningful Christian fellowship and accountability?

    To know this, it will require a bit of a commitment to one church for a time to build relationships, attend some church fellowship events, and get to know some of the pastors and leadership. Yet you must have a realistic expectation as you are not yet a member, so do not expect to be treated as one.

    4. Is this a church where I can serve God’s people and use my gifts for its benefit?

    It will help to know where you are gifted and what some of the needs of the church are. Some needs can be filled by your simple presence and commitment. Also, do not assume you know what those areas of need are by your limited observations.

    You should be able to know the answers to these questions within a few months of attending one church if you give yourself to the process. If you can answer in the affirmative to all four of these questions, it is a good possibility you have found your next church. At that point I would encourage you not to delay but to pursue membership.
    Important Final Note

    One final element is the key to persevering with the zeal required in this search. You and your family should feel a sense of persistent unease knowing that you are not in covenant fellowship with a local church and are not under the authority of undershepherds caring for your souls. The freedom and absence of accountability many experience in the search for a new church can cause a sinful complacency.

    In other words, you do not ever want to become comfortable being one of God’s sheep who has wandered away from the fellowship of the flock and the accountability of shepherds to care for you, even if that journey at the time feels fun and exciting.

    Brian Croft is senior pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also the author of Visit the Sick: Ministering God’s Grace in Times of Illness and Test, Train, Affirm, and Send Into Ministry: Recovering the Local Church’s Responsibility to the External Call. Brian blogs regularly at Practical Shepherding.
    ——————
    This is the original article posted on The Gospel Coalition on this date.

  2. “To know this, it will require a bit of a commitment to one church for a time to build relationships, attend some church fellowship events, and get to know some of the pastors and leadership. Yet you must have a realistic expectation as you are not yet a member, so do not expect to be treated as one.”

    Don’t expect to be treated as a club member til you sign the dotted line and start paying your dues to the man. These are the rules for playing the game of Churchianity. Such a great counterfeit whore of what Jesus died for. In the real kingdom of God (as opposed to the delusional fake religious kingdoms this article talks about) the saints in a local area ARE THE CHURCH. There is no baptist, methodist, etc ‘church’ in the bible. These are man made counterfeit kingdoms. We are all brothers and sisters on equal ground and are to be treated as such. If you are born again you ARE A MEMBER of the one true church. Flee from your slightly reformed roman catholic religious delusions dear believers. Leaders who have their personal kingdoms, allow people to call them ‘Pastor Bob’, have their names on buildings, etc will have a hard time accepting these truths as their lively hood depends on them not accepting them.

    fleebabylon.wordpress.com

  3. “Yet you must have a realistic expectation as you are not yet a member, so do not expect to be treated as one.”
    This statement is so outrageous. So contrary to what Jesus said to His disciples in the gospels. So contrary to how He relates to us today, treating us as His friends. So cold and distant… keeping us at arm’s length. Let the little children come to me He says, and we do…. we are welcome to join with Him, and be a member of His flock.

  4. The Nicolaitanes (organized Xianity, victorious over the people) is what Jesus says He hates. She for the most part began in Rome 1600 years ago and has now encompassed the globe deceiving the whole world. (God hates her teachings and her deeds) Many churches find security in their works for God in hopes of covering up their licentiousness. Their charities are spotted of the world.

    Rev 2-6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.
    15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

    The doctrine of which the Nicolaitanes teach are of a mouth that speaketh great swelling words however turning the grace of God, the power to live holy in this present age, (Titus 2-12), into lawlessness workers of iniquity.
    Jude 1

    peace, bill

  5. “You and your family should feel a sense of unease knowing that you are not in covenant with a local church and not under the authority of under shepherds caring for your souls”

    I do have unease- every time I hear, read or see such foolishness being preached or portrayed as the faith once delivered. What part of “it was for freedom that Christ set us free” do these not understand? What rational person would desire to be bound to man’s wisdom, doctrines, buildings and even threats?
    Sorry guys, me and my household are free indeed, and we ain’t goin back or backwards for you or your man-made institution. And no, you can’t have my friends or children either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s