How to find the right church

How to find the right church

How can we find the right church among so many?

26/06/20236 min

By ActiveChristianity

How to find the right church

6 min

The Bible speaks of “the church” because, as Christians, we need to be together with other believers of the same faith. This builds us up in our faith, and God’s Word tells us to get together more often as we see the day coming near when Christ will return. (Jude 1:20; Hebrews 10:25.)

But the question is: how do we find the right church among so many? There are thousands of different churches to choose from.

A true Christian church

The choice is especially difficult because every church says that they are built according to a “Biblical pattern” or on an “apostolic foundation”. They can all look so good and there are often a lot of “good” people in these churches. Most of the time there is a lot of activity, which can be a good thing, but the question is, “Do they truly do what Jesus taught?”

I myself was in a church whose main goal was to knock on doors and spread the gospel. This is not wrong, but it was the only thing that was important to this group. The same is true of another church I was in. They were feeding the poor, and there was also nothing wrong with that, but it’s all they really had to offer.

Jesus gave us the task to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19), and both Jesus and the apostles tell us to care for the needy, but all of these activities must come from living a personal, righteous life, and that is what the gospel is about. 

Paul wrote to young Timothy, “Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach. If you do this, you will save yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16 (CEB). The apostles wrote a lot about coming to a godly life and the way to reach such a life. Paul calls this process the “dying of Jesus” that leads to life (2 Corinthians 4:10), and Peter speaks of “suffering in the flesh and stopping with sin” (1 Peter 4:1), while John says, “these things I write to you, so that you may not sin” (1 John 2:1). Jude warns us not to use grace as an excuse to sin (Jude 1:4).

A true Christian church is a church for whom it is most important that we change on the inside, no matter what the name of the church is. This change isn’t just about trying to look good so that I am more pleasing to others, but it is a change deep inside me that causes me to become a new person in Christ. I become like Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Romans 8:29). Nothing else is good enough.

When looking for the right church we should ask ourselves: What do I really want for myself as a Christian and in my Christian life? Am I willing to let go of my personal beliefs if they are not in line with God’s Word? Or will I be satisfied with getting a “good” conscience, hearing pleasant sounding words in a church without life behind the teaching, or one that promises forgiveness without preaching the life and obedience to what God’s Word says (2 Timothy 4:2-4)?

In such a church we may get many good feelings, but we are not coming to a new life in Christ. We might just become “nice” people, but with our sinful human nature very much alive. We must do what Paul told the Corinthians to do: “Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith.” 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NCV).

We have to be honest with ourselves and make sure that we really only want what Jesus wants for us and nothing else, and that we are willing to give up everything to get a life in Christ (Matthew 13:46). We have to be true and honest and have no other side interests or hopes. Then Jesus can and will lead us to a place that is best for us. We can be sure of that.

Find the life of Christ

Above all, when we search for the right church, we have to be interested in getting the life of Christ, rather than just looking for a church that gives us good feelings.

One great evangelist travelled the world and said he had been asked all kinds of questions: Do you believe in the trinity? What is your position on the role of women? How do you baptise? And other similar questions. These can all be very good questions, he said, but in all his many travels, no one ever asked one simple, important question: “What type of life do you lead?” Do you get angry? How is the relationship between you and your wife? Are you full of joy in all your trials? What are the results of the gospel you preach in your own life? (1 Timothy 4:16)?

John wrote that the life in Jesus was the light of men (John 1:4). When we see the life – the life of Christ – in a church, then we know we have come home. This life, this light is what brings unity.

The Bible does not talk about a lot of different and competing churches, but simply about “the church” (Ephesians 3:10 and other verses) and we are baptised into “one body” (Ephesians 4:4). That there were divisions in the church at Corinth was a sign that they had already failed, as Paul says, “The very fact that you have legal disputes among yourselves shows that you have failed completely …” 1 Corinthians 6:7 (GNT).

If there is true unity of the Spirit, you have found the true church. I wish the very best to all those who are sincerely seeking, for if you search, you will find, just as it is written in Matthew 7:7!

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This article is based on an article by David Stahl originally published on and has been adapted with permission for use on this website.