How I Choose a Church

church building

Here are my four criteria for evaluating a church:

1. Gospel-centrality

The Gospel is of utmost importance. A church needs to return to the Gospel every sermon. Leaving out the Gospel and how the rest of Bible relates to it is church FAIL. What is the gospel? Salvation is a gift by grace through faith alone, in Christ alone, by the work of Jesus paying for our sins on the cross.

David Platt's gospel illustration (2:27)

Tim Keller's gospel illustration (2:36)

2. The Doctrine Statement or Statement of Beliefs

Where does the church stand on key issues? The Bible, sin, the Trinity, the church, creation, salvation, etc. Churches need to take stands in these areas. The Bible is our constitution and interpreting it incorrectly (bad theology) is costly.

3. Is this a place I could/should bring a non-believer?

See questions 1 & 2. I'm afraid there are a lot of people who think they are Christians and in fact, not -- because they converting to religiosity and not Christianity by sitting under wrong teaching and a non-gospel. If it happened to the Galatians, it can happen to you too. (Gal. 1:6-9)

4. Is the pastor humble?

This last question can be mildly subjective. C.S. Lewis says you can smell pride from miles away. Again, a humble pastor assumes he's stressing his own depravity and Christ's sufficiency.