I’m a 12th grade student and I prepare to go to college in autumn. Now I am actively involved in the church ministry in our area, but when I go to town, I should get involved in another church. How is it right to choose what local church to attend?
It’s good that you already start thinking how to involve in the church once you change your place of residence, even if you live there only for a time. Here are some important principles in this regard.
Choose a church where the sound doctrine is preached
The local church is where Christians go to receive spiritual food from God’s Word. Choose a local church where they set great store on profound study of the Holy Scriptures and where the sound doctrine of the Bible is preached and not opinions or teachings of men. When he was in jail and was waiting for the ”the time of his departure”, because he was to be executed, the Apostle Paul wrote to his beloved disciple Timothy thus:
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)(NASB)
In the passage quoted above, on the one hand, the Apostle Paul says what the trends of some Church ministers will be in the last days, but he also tells us that people will encourage such attitudes, that means they will seek to hear pleasant things that tickle the ears and not the profound truth of God’s Word that changes lives. Be sober in this and choose to go where the Word of God is preached and persevere on studying and fulfilling it.
Choose a church where you will serve according to your abilities and spiritual gifts
Someone told me once that he came to a new church and told the pastor what he could make in the the Gospel, how he had served the church where he had come from and asked how he could be useful in the ministry of the church he wanted to join. And the pastor told him to stay in church, about a year or two, and then he could see where and how to engage better.
Once you come into the town, it will be good to visit churches, to see where it would be a greater need for your involvement, and then it is very important to go to the pastor of the church where you wish to establish and tell him what you can do, what you have done before in the church where you came from and tell him how you want to get involved further. If somehow the pastor will tell you too that it takes time to see what you can do, suggest him to contact the pastor/priest of the church you came from to get a recommendation from him. Lord Jesus teaches us to redeem the time and, given that “crops are white but the workers are few”, we can not lose years for waiting. We must work to our greatest potential in the Gospel, because the Savior:
… gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)(NASB)
Comfortableness should not be a priority
When you choose the church you want to join, do not think from the perspective of a consumer who wants to have a warm, comfortable place, where all will serve him and no one will demand anything from him. Choose to go there where your service is needed. Attend the small churches, too, those that are in the process of planting, that are making mission and that badly need your involvement.
Put together all these principles and make a wise choice on the local church you want to get involved. Start inquiring now for the churches from the city where you want to go to college.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru