How can I know which religious community, and/or church is best for me?
Glad to hear you’d like to join a church or religious community. Trusting, knowing, and enjoying God – those things happen in community. “No one has ever seen God, but if love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12) Living in a community with others has its real challenges – especially for others who have to deal with us (!) But it is in relationship with others that we grow in a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
I can’t speak about a good Buddhist society – but here’s a few things that make a good Christian church. First, what’s the place of Jesus Christ? Is it clear he is the community’s hope, life and joy? Is the way to eternal life – relying upon Jesus Christ crucified – held high?
A church after, all, isn’t just a social club or activist group. A church is a place where people journey together towards eternal life. What’s the authority in the church – people, traditions, or the Word of God? Is it a community that is passionate about grace – not afraid to admit it’s problems, in fact, one that wants to cure us of the temptation to think we’ve got it altogether – and instead daily seeks to lean on God and what he has done in Jesus Christ? Does the church challenge you? Is it’s idea of “God” one that simply suits us – or something far better? Is it a community that wants to make all of life – not just Sundays – a place of worship, in which God delights? Is it a place where lives are being transformed – away from sinful self-centeredness, to Christ-likeness – humility, forgiveness, love, and service? Lastly, does the church really believe what it says?
When the rubber hits the road, does it hold its members accountable – because it truly knows and believes that eternity is at stake?