Most people would likely look for a gifted and engaging preacher. Or maybe they’re more interested in stimulating worship, so they keep an eye out for talented musicians. Perhaps their kids take first priority, so they look for a church with a thriving children’s ministry. On the other hand, maybe they simply want to feel welcome, so they’ll settle for any place with friendly faces and a welcoming environment. Or maybe the deciding factors are merely comfort and convenience, so they land in a church with good coffee and donuts and lots of parking.
The real question is not what people are looking for in a church, but what should they look for. It’s not an issue of fulfilling our tastes or felt needs, but pursuing the priorities the Lord wants us to have when looking for a church.
This is one of the most pressing issues for believers today. In fact, the majority of questions we receive at Grace to You have to do with the struggle of finding a good local church.
But you’ll never find one if you don’t first know what to look for. That’s where today’s featured sermon comes in. “How to Recognize a Real Church, Parts 1-2” is John MacArthur’s summary of what constitutes a true, biblical church. In it, he pushes past all the modern trends and tastes and takes a biblical look at what a true church is and what it does.
Working through key passages from Christ’s ministry and the epistles, John explains God’s design for the church—what he calls the church’s great confession, communication, contrast, conquest, conflict, contradiction, and consummation. Here’s a brief excerpt:
The church is not a group of people who need a motivational talk. It is not a group of unbelievers who like the music. It is not a collection of unsaved people who need help for their addictions. It is not people who want to feel spirituality, who want to experience spirituality. It is not a collection of people who want to go through mindless rituals and traditions. It is an assembly of those who make this great confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you’re currently looking for a church or know someone who is, “How to Recognize a Real Church, Parts 1-2” is the message you need to hear.