Mark Dever, What Is a Healthy Church? (IX Marks; Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), p. 79:
Quick Tips: How to Find a Good Church
2. Seek counsel from a godly pastor (or from elders).
3. Keep your priorities straight.
- The gospel must be truly affirmed, clearly preached, and faithfully lived out. A serious lack in any of these expressions of the gospel is very dangerous.
- The preaching must be faithful to Scripture, personally challenging, and central to the congregation’s life. You will only grow spiritually where Scripture is treated as the highest authority.
- Also very important is to consider how the church regulates baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church membership, church discipline, and who has the final say in decision making.
- In short, read chapters 5 to 13 in this book!
4. Ask yourself diagnostic questions such as:
- Would I want to find a spouse who has been brought up under this church’s teaching?
- What picture of Christianity will my children see in this church—something distinct or something a lot like the world?
- Would I be happy to invite non-Christians to this church? That is, would they clearly hear the gospel and see lives consistent with it? Does the church have a heart for welcoming and reaching non-Christians?
- Is this church a place where I can minister and serve?
5. Consider geography. Would the church’s physical proximity to your home encourage or discourage frequent involvement and service? If you’re moving to a new area, try to locate a good church home before you buy a house.
(HT: Andy Naselli)