How to Find the Right Church for You

Almost 40 years ago I asked the question, "How do I find the right church." I had been raised as a Lutheran in a small German community in rural Detroit. During my childhood, my mother left the Lutheran church and began to look for "God's true church." She eventually attended a church that observed Saturday (Sabbath) worship. At 16 years old I found myself pulled between my father and mother. My father insisted that I attend the Lutheran church on Sunday and my mother insisted that I attend her church on Saturday. I finally made the decision to stop attending church altogether. I told both my parents that I did not want to spend my whole weekend in church. I felt like a Ping-Pong ball, bantered back and forth between both parents.

I began to read the Bible in earnest. I asked God to help me understand what I was reading. The King James Version was not that easy to understand but this was the beginning of my quest to find a church. I spent some four years reading the scriptures on my own as I went through high school and community college. I continued to ask God to show me what church I should attend. I had no idea how I should even go about looking for a church. This time was well spent as I look back on it now. I was able to put aside all beliefs and just read.

I found myself asking many questions about the Old Testament and looking at the New Testament through different eyes not shaded by my Lutheran background or my mother's prodding about her beliefs. I asked God why we did not worship on Saturday, why Christians do not keep the days that God gave Israel to worship in the Old Testament. I began to ask God if it would be possible for me to experience this.

It happened one day that as my mother was attending church, I decided to go with her and my sister. They always stopped to get a nice meal after church. I figured I could live through a couple hours of her church for a good free meal in a nice restaurant. To my surprise, what the minister was talking about that day was more filling than any food on earth. It made so much sense. This church was teaching about most of the things I had read about. I began to attend that church and became a member. I met my husband at the church and we were married in the church and raised our daughter in it.

My mother and sister left the church a few years later and I stayed with the church almost 25 years. When times were difficult I would ask God if it was time to leave and that peaceful thought would come into my mind, "not yet." I learned much about God's Holy Days, the Sabbath, Tithing, Jesus, Paul, the New Testament, Prophecy, etc. That experience showed me what a miracle it is that we even have Jewish people on this planet still keeping many of the things the Old Testament talks about. Many Christians shunned our family when they learned about our beliefs. My husband and I lost jobs because we observed the seventh day Sabbath. It was not an easy life but we always brought our bibles to church and I had an opportunity to really study what was taught. After many years our church changed doctrines and we went from legalistic beliefs to grace. God gave us peace through the changes but so many people left the church during that time that our local church eventually closed it's doors.

Once again I was wondering what church I should attend and asked God about the whole thing. I continued to read my bible but by this time the Christian bookstores had sprung up and many people were using TV, radio, and the Internet to preach. I now had the opportunity to study in depth on various religious subjects of interest. I find that the more you read from a variety of sources the easier it is to discern what makes sense. I no longer believe that I must limit myself to what one particular church might say I could study.

All my life I was told that women were not allowed to preach. Now the airwaves began to show many women preaching. This was a new experience and again I went to God to ask Him what to do. He directed me to different ministries. God opened up a bible study for me to attend with about 12 other women from all different churches. I used the Sabbath as a day of rest and learning about God at home. I learned about the charismatic movement. I attended various churches on Sunday in my area and various special gatherings for different ministries. Could it be that I had become a Charismatic Protestant Jew?

I believe that the right church for me would have the following qualities:
1. It would believe in Jesus Christ, His death, resurrection, and supremacy as God, and would confess that.
2. It would have people who are taught to pray in the Name of Jesus. They would also be taught to pray for and with other people using scripture.
3. It would have people who love to praise God and give thanks to God. Worship would be FUN!
4. It would teach people how to meditate on the scriptures for every area of life.
5. It would teach people the fundamentals of using the Bible and all of the different study aids and translations.
6. It would include anyone who wanted to attend. Skin color would not be a problem. Rich and poor would be equally loved and cared for. Money would not determine status. Women would not take a secondary role or be looked upon as second best.
7. The minister would be respected as a guide and leader but would not take the place of God. Members would be taught how to have a personal relationship with God, to understand that God looks on the heart and not the shell of a person. Members would be free to follow God's guidance without judgment by leadership or other members.
8. It would be open to not just gentiles but to Jewish people also. There would be worship services on the Jewish Sabbath and on Sunday as well. Members would learn about the observation of the Jewish Holy Days as well as Christian days like Christmas and Easter.
9. Offerings would not be done publicly but privately. Giving to others would be emphasized and not to just fellow church members but to all community members. Members would be taught to pray about whom they should give to, how much they should give, and why they should give.
10. The Lord's Supper would be administered on the Jewish Passover with the washing of feet. The Lord's Supper would be administered weekly also. Members would be taught how to observe the Lord's Supper in their own homes.
11. There would be classes for free to study Greek and Hebrew and anything else God related. The church would have a library of many books for anyone to check out for free.
12. There would be lectures but also small group sessions of study, prayer, etc.
13. When members accepted Christ as their savior they would be baptized by being immersed in water. They would also be helped to understand the baptism of the Holy Spirit and be given that option. They would be taught and practice the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
14. Members would be helped to identify the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The whole group would be very careful not to shut off the flow of the Holy Spirit.

The above list may seem a little pie-in-the-sky or out of the normal. There are other things I could add but most of all it would entail loving each other and growing in Christ. I have learned to not shut out an idea. The church has put so much emphasis on the gentile point of view that we have lost an important part of our Savior and the first followers of the church. They were all Jewish. I am no longer afraid of the Sabbath, Holy Days, the Holy Spirit and how He works. I do believe in healing but also in taking care of the temple of God, our body. The more I learn about God, the more I realize how far-reaching He really is. I do believe that some churches are coming very close to the above model. In the meantime, I will continue to ask God to help me follow whatever I am learning as it follows Christ. After all these years I am still asking God what church I should attend. God's Word promises that the bride (the church) will be ready when Jesus returns. I know that He is making us ready. I can hardly wait to see what His answer will be next!

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