So, let's suppose that you have already made the decision to follow Jesus and now you want to know what the next step is. Get ready for it. This one is tough. You need to get involved in a Bible believing, Bible preaching church.
AARGH!!!! I hear you cry. Anything but church. One of the funny things about a new life in Christ is that God helps you understand His way once you commit to following Jesus. I think the biggest reason church is boring for most people is that they don't really let God take control of their life. Oh sure, sometimes the sermons aren't that exciting. Sometimes the music isn't to your liking. But I discovered that when I asked God to forgive me of my sins, He helped me understand more of what was going on in church.
So, how do you decide which church to join? First, the one thing to remember is that it is not easy! My family recently changed churches for a number of reasons. We were involved in a church we loved, yet felt God calling us to move elsewhere. This was difficult for us to do! Yet, through our search, we realized that some of the things we thought were important were not so important, while some of the things that did not concern us a lot, actually were important! Let me share how we searched and found the church we believed God wanted us to join. Maybe that will help you as you search for God's Will.
The first thing to point out is that my wife Lucy and I have three children: Tim, Joseph, and Elizabeth. We made the commitment to our kids that we would not join a church unless all 5 agreed that this was where God was leading us. This became very important in our early visits. Four of us seemed to be drawn to one of the first churches that we visited. That church had a good plan to reach out to the community, and was concerned about youth. Both things being very important to us.
One child decided that this wasn't the right church, so biting our lip and with much chagrin we continued our search. Even though I felt this decision was based more on a bit of rebellion against us for moving from a church we and he loved, we decided to honor that commitment we made to our kids. In the long run, God showed this child to be correct!
We visited a church that I felt we would never feel comfortable in next. The youth minister was leading the service that night. Everyone we talked to made a point of telling us that we needed to comeback on a "regular" night. The truth was, the emphasis on youth, teenagers, serving God and being excited about it was very interesting to me. In addition, the youth minister while claiming not to be much of a preacher, gave a very good Biblically based message. In spite of my disappointment about the first church, I was ready to investigate a bit further.
After a few more visits, we knew God was leading us to this church: Second Baptist Church. The pastor, Doug Jackson preaches a very strong Biblically based message. The Youth Minister at that time was, Tony Celelli who is now our Minister of Spiritual Formations. On Sunday, August 30, 1998 Sam Trujillo became the Minister of Music and Worship at Second. He sets a beautiful, worshipful attitude for those wishing to come into contact with God. Our Minister of Students is Mark McBride. (click the link to find out his nickname!) Mark's wife, Debbie, is stepping down as director of Preschool and Children's Ministries after spending a year helping us get some very important parts of the ministry off the ground!
Why is such a decision important? Isn't it possible to worship God anywhere? If you want to be an obedient Christian, you must join a church. To be REALLY obedient, you even have to do that "baptism" thing. That means, biblically, that you "dip them under 'till they bubble" according to the great theologian, Grady Nutt. God wants His people to gather together to worship AND to prepare to bring the gospel to the whole world. One person can't do that. Individuals working together in the church can do that if they will be faithful to the call of God on their life.Return to One Christian's World View