What are you looking for in a church?

I was recently reacquainted with a statement that was critical in my early moments of connecting at 12Stone Church. I actually haven’t seen the statement in nearly 14 year but I have talked about it a good bit. When I first walked into the doors of the church I saw a little sign that contained the purpose statement for the church. It read:

Our mission is to reach as many people as possible for as long as God allows us to serve.

I cannot explain why this resonated with me so deeply. I know that the statement put words to a longing in my heart. It gave a verbal handle to the internal desire I had to connect with a growing church. Over the last 14 years I have seen a lot of things change at 12Stone, including the words we use to articulate our purpose. In fact our current purpose statement reads:

One Matters to God so we boldly Reach the Lost, Serve the Least and Raise up Leaders.

The words have changed, however the raw heart desire to chase the heart of God, build the Church and grow the Kingdom has not changed. The heart behind that purpose statement was the thing that won me over. It caused me to call 12Stone my home church.

What are you looking for in a church? When you identify what is most important to you in a church that thing becomes an anchor for you – it is the grounding which helps you stay connected and engaged.

Choosing the right anchor is essential in your spiritual journey. God didn’t create us to be church nomads, He created us to anchor ourselves and engage in the long-term work of building and investing in a local church.

We are most healthy when we anchor ourselves to the passion and purpose of our local church. (click to tweet) The heart behind the passion and purpose of a church will remain consistent even as everything else changes.

Pastors and staff will change. If you anchor yourself to a personality you will find yourself lost at sea when that person shifts to a new roles, campus or church.

Styles changes. When you anchor yourself to the style of a church you automatically start a countdown towards disengagement. Culture continues to change, and with it things like clothing, music, humor and video all shift.

Ministries change. It might be the night that student ministry meets. It could be the way your church reflects compassion to the community at large. Perhaps it is the way you do small groups, or the process for people to serve or give. Ministries constantly change, and if you anchor yourself to a unique ministry pattern you are likely to feel displaced at some point.

Whatever church you are at, learn to fall in love with the heart of that church. (click to tweet) Let everything else be the details, but allow the purpose and heart of the church to be the anchor for your long-term involvement.

One thought on “What are you looking for in a church?

  1. Your words speak into the heart of the Church. Commitment to the community has identified God’s people since the Israelites. Scripture over and over shows the witness that this model shows to the world. It means walking together when it would be easy to walk away. Conflict, leadership change is part of life. How we deal with it shows “this is how the world will know you are my disciples.” Yet, the challenge to call others into commitment in the local church is real. Consumer mentality drives people to “dabble” in a multichurch, multiministry experience. The bigger picture of life together, with all its flaws as well as rewards, is lost.


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