A Little About Westminster
What is attractive about our church fellowship? God's Word is taught, God is honored in our Worship, and God's people find a place to belong and serve. It is a place to call home! The gospel is preached and Christ is savored. We seek to make and mature disciples of Christ by teaching and living the Word of God. You will find a warm and loving fellowship and opportunities to learn, grow and serve as part of our family. We have a beautiful facility, an active choir, intimate small groups, a pioneer club, children's church, Men's Lunch Bible Study, a thriving Women's Bible study, youth activies and retreats, and elders with a shepherds heart. But, don't just take my word for it, come and taste the goodness of God with us here at Westminster!
Finding the Right Church
A Guide to Those Searching for a New Church Home
Determining to Find it
The Lord intends for you to be actively involved in a church; Christians have no option about this. Although home Bible studies and other informal functions are very valuable, they are no substitute for the Church with its corporate worship, ministry of the Word and sacraments, and shepherding care.
If the Lord is directing you to live in a certain place, there is a church that is right for you in that area. It might not be all that you would wish for in a church, nor exactly like the ones you have enjoyed in the past, but it will be the right one for you at this time.
Making the Choice
The value of your participation in any church is found not so much in what you get out of it as in what you give of yourself to the Lord and his people in that place. If you are chiefly concerned to find a church to meet your needs, you will inevitably be disappointed. But if you go to the church to give to the Lord your grateful worship and to share his love with the people there, you are on the right track.
Look for the Marks of a Healthy Church:
· Christ-centered. Proper focus on Jesus as the God-man, as Savior and Lord, as King and Head of the Church. Not a "Jesus only" theology, but a balanced emphasis on the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
· Biblical. The faithful teaching and preaching of the Word of God produces not only knowledge of the Bible but obedient submission to its authority in the lives of individuals and in the life of the congregation as a whole.
· Priority on God-centered Worship. Beware of churches which seek to entertain. Look for a balanced utilization of the biblical elements of worship and an atmosphere of both celebration and reverence. Is the worship service an empty form? Or is the "liturgy" a vehicle for the working of the Holy Spirit and a genuine meeting of God with his people?
· Nurturing. Devotion to God produces a loving, caring fellowship where people support, encourage, and edify one another through personal relationships, small groups and educational ministries.
· Commitment to Mission. The proclamation and incarnation of the Gospel message in its local city and the world is a major aim of a healthy church; it is not chiefly concerned with its own maintenance and survival.
Remember that no church will perfectly exhibit all of these characteristics. Every congregation is at best an "earthen vessel" made up of sinful human beings.
Beware of churches whose primary identity as Christians is blurred by undue stress on a secondary identity. Seek to differentiate between the "marks" of a true church and your own personal tastes and preferences. Such matters as style of worship, leadership personalities, organizational procedures, outreach programs, methods of nurture, types of music, and emphasis on certain doctrines, though important considerations, do not have the same significance as the matters mentioned above. Don't be guilty of a common mistake: "being more insistent about what's least important and least insistent about what's most important."
Remember that your choice of a church will always involve tradeoffs. You will choose to tolerate certain undesirable features in order to be a part of what seems more crucial. It is completely unrealistic to expect to find a church where you are in agreement with everything.
When you find a church to join, commit yourself wholeheartedly. Don't be tentative, thinking that if things don't turn out according to your expectations you will leave. Church membership is like marriage: disagreements and disappointments are to be worked through in the context of the Lord's love.
Seek to build strong relationships with the people in general and the church leadership in particular. Take the initiative if necessary. Be patient, as this takes time.
Give honest encouragement to church leaders whenever possible. Pray for them and let them know you are doing so. When you observe something that needs improvement, offer your help to those responsible for that area of church life.
By Rev. David Sherwood