When I went to college I had to find my own church. To the naive 18 year old, this task didn’t seem that hard. I was sure there would be plenty of churches. The only drawback for me was that I didn’t have a car. Therefore, I needed a church where friends went, or a church that had some sort of transportation. The college I attended had a “Church Chapel” within the first couple of weeks. At this chapel, many local churches came and set up booths. Students were able to walk around, visit the pastor or youth pastor, get a brochure, and hopefully find a few churches that looked intriguing.
I honestly don’t remember which churches I looked at. I remember going with several friends to several different churches. I finally settled on a small Evangelical Free church about 15 miles away. A few friends chose to go there also. There were only a handful of us, and we all fit into one car. We made the trip weekly. The church had few young people, we were known as the Crown Group. Some of the people invited us over for lunch afterwords. The pastor and his wife made it a point to have us over several times. The young youth leader and his wife invited us over, tricking us by driving up the drive of a beautiful (big) house on the way to their actual (modest) home. We laughed. We played games. We grew. I’ll never forget the Sunday when one of my guy friends had the courage to kneel on the floor and weep — in a small church were everyone could see. Those were good Sundays.
I spent one semester in Colorado. Finding a church there was much harder. I looked at the list of churches. My friend and I picked a church off the list at random, and decided to go. Unfortunately the time was incorrect so we arrived in the middle of one service, with 45 minutes before the next. We got back into the car and rolled up to a church that met in an all-purpose type of building. The man at the door said hello. All the people in the church could fit into 6 rows. There were only about 30 people, and they all had name tags. We were obviously visiting, yet no one else said hello. We never went back.
I now had a theory about “church finding.” I had decided that there were two factors. 1) Principle — what did the church as a whole believe, what did the pastor preach, and did I agree. And 2) Preference. Things like size of church and music options. Remember the small church I attended in college. The pastor always started Sunday school (following the service) with two questions: What about today’s service do you think dishonored God? After allowing time to think and respond if necessary (though I never heard one complaint here), he asked, “And what didn’t you like about today’s service?” The point was clear, if your preference is simply a preference, deal with it yourself. If it dishonored God, then we should deal with it together as a church. In fact the pastor’s wife didn’t care for the organ music that came before the message. She always chose to wait in the foyer until the music was over. Preferences. However, I was now armed with better knowledge of how to “find” a church.
Then I moved again, this time to Virginia. There was a church on every corner. I had entered the Bible Belt. This time I didn’t have a friend to go to church with. I wound up alone some Sundays in a pew halfway inside the church sanctuary. I smiled, I shook hands, I listened, I observed. One Sunday I was in a quite a large church. I found the message interesting. The topic was good actually. The pastor seemed knowledgeable, but the Bible was not even opened. Oh, of course it was alluded to. The pastor said things like, “In the Bible we see…,” or “In the book of _______ we find ____________.” Yet the Bible wasn’t opened. I thought perhaps it was just do to the topical nature of the sermon. I went back a couple of weeks later, in hope that the sermon topic would have changed. It had. The Bible still wasn’t opened. Not even to just read a scripture passage. That sort of bothered me. I wanted a church that opened the Bible.
One of the things I like now about the church I attend is that the Bible is read every Sunday. I also find that my pastor preaches out of the Bible. Why does this matter? Well, in honesty, I find that as a whole, the church-goers in our Western churches seem to have very little personal time in the Word of God. If the Word of God is not a large part of their personal lives, it must be present at the church, or how will we as Believers be able to understand Biblical worldview, or even if our churches are leaning more towards the world or to God? Now, I’m aware that this could seem harsh. It is. It could seem judgmental to churches and even Christians. I’m not intending to be judgmental, but I will stand up to my personal belief that the Bible needs to have more importance in our lives.
I recently came across the following two quotes. They, in my opinion, are telling:
“The church somehow got away from the Word of God. They stopped believing that the Word of God was really the Word of God. That from Genesis to Revelations there were no mistakes, there were no errors. […] literary criticism came into the seminaries, so we began to doubt the veracity of the Word of God. Any time that you get away from the Word of God, you have a distortion. You have a distortion in your thinking, and that distortion in your thinking leads to a distortion in the way you live. And that, in turn, wrecks havoc, in a society, in a family…” Kay Arthur, Precept Ministries
“Any nation that neglects teaching the sacredness of life and the family does so at it’s own peril. Any nation that sanctions the removal of God’s boundaries will destroy its own. […] When the Word of God is lost, the basis of the sacred is lost and anything goes. […] God’s Word is the scroll given to us to inform, enrich, teach, correct, and guide us to the celestial city. If we lose that Word, we have lost the light that guides us on the journey.” Ravi Zacharias, Christian Apologist
Dear sisters, we need to be women who know and live God’s Word! I’d encourage you to ask God to fill you with desire to know His Word. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a resource called the 30 day Bible reading challenge, if you are interested. Here is the link: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/resource-library/30-day-challenges/30-day-bible-reading/.
When we become involved in churches that study God’s Word, and when we know God’s Word, then we can know what the Bible says for sure. We can be confident that our worldview is God’s view. We can live righteously because God’s Word sanctifies. Press on sisters!