For those who are new to christ the first thought is often; which church or denomination should I go to? Thats a good question, obviously you want to go to the best church. At this point usually most find themselves thrown out into complete randomness. Or they have no understand of why there is so many options with just one bible. It’s very simple, Each denomination is simply a different interpretation of how god wants us to practice Christianity. The bible itself provides alot of grey or suggestive areas, which some might say is deliberate, so Christians can have different opinions on how to worship. Take Baptism for example. Most denominations say Baptism is absolutely necessary, others say its purely optional, some say its entirely irrelevant. As it turns out the subject is very debatable, because Jesus himself nor God himself said “You have to be baptized to go to heaven” instead It was a suggestion. the idea actually is something the Jews invented inspired from Ritual Cleansing that god commanded them to do while lost in the desert before being in the presence of god (take a bath)- and many denominations prefer to keep the tradition, which isnt a bad thing at all. Another example is Communion, some denominations say it has to be done every Sunday, some say once or twice a year, others say only on special occasions- again the bible does not specify frequency, it just says do it in remembrance of Jesus. So here is the thing to keep in mind- Of all the different views and different opinions there is only 3 requirements that are absolutes in any christian church as it is spelled out definitively in the bible – That is to pray for Jesus to come into your heart, praise the holy trinity, and keep The Royal Law. How you go about praising the trinity and god is where there is complete freedom, (This where things like communion and baptism come in). Everything else is open to debate. That is a lot of the reason people like Christianity to begin with, It’s not very complicated. What that means for you is it doesn’t really matter what denomination you pick, just shop around. None of them will affect your salvation more then the other. as the bible tells us:
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. – 1 Corinthians 12: 12-14
So in summary, a new christian is just starting their walk his/her path, no one expects you to know anything yet. You will change your mind on denominations and baptism, etc as you grow. But honestly worry about those changes in personal opinion later, as they come. The fact your here reading this tells me your on a good enough start.
Though I think many are not content with what I had to say about it. So if it makes you more content take a test by clicking: Which Christian Denomination do you belong to.
The House Church
Then there is the house church option. Alot of people like this because its smaller groups, more intimate or ‘Homey’, and much less formal. This was actually the original church, its spelled out in the book of acts and much of 1st-4th century Greek/Roman documents. The idea here is simple, Go to a persons home and have essentially a bible study with 3-12 people +/-. Every house church is different so again shop around. There are many directories with house church listings you can look around your area. I will give you a list at the end of this blog, I hope you will find useful. Though in a pinch, you can just start your own. The drawback with this is it can be very unorganized or hard to find in alot of areas- This is why Christians did away with it in the first place. It’s making a comeback in modern times in the west- However it’s always been the thing to do in places like the Mid-East or China where the church is under heavy persecution (no doubt why it was written about in the bible in the 1st century). Alot of people never even think of this one, so its well worth pointing out. Remember what Jesus says:
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
– Matthew 18:20
Then there is the no church option. Truth be told this is actually me and many others. The thing about this is staying fully committed to Christ, reading the bible, studying and practicing on your own. You can watch sermons online, you can read blogs, you can read your own bible and books- basically your on your own terms with unlimited freedom. There is the drawback of this, that is you are also left to you’re own devices, there isnt much resources here that say belonging to a church can offer. For many this isn’t really a big deal, but being solitary takes a lot of personal discipline. But as I say who can be a better pastor then the written word of god? Truth be told this is not for everyone.
So here is your options spelled out.
Lets say you want to go to a church what kinds of things should you look for?
Well lets jump straight into it.
- The pastors people will be influenced by him, if they are lukewarm or not friendly it’s a good reflection of the man himself.
- If the church does nothing for others, or tries to reach out to the community it’s basically useless in preaching to the choir.
- Does the pastor have anything to say that’s contrary to the bible, quoting verses out of context, thump the bible to insult people, use the bible to deceive in any kind of way, full of legalism and ‘holier then thou’, etc…
That’s what your looking for, the denomination in truth is irrelevant, because every pastor is different- and so every church will be a little bit different, and so will every house church. To get started I would say just go to the church closest to you and shop around from there. Never mind such labels as “denomination” or lack there of. When I was a kid we use to go to a Mennonite church even though we were not Mennonite. The pastor was just that great and we had a lot of friends within the church from the neighborhood. Eventually we moved and started going to Heritage Church of God in Severn, Md. My mom liked they did alot of things with kids like church sleep overs, puppet shows, Home school center, camping trips, etc. In the end Mom settled on a Baptist Church and me I’ve gone on to my solitary practice… You might want a community church like Heritage or maybe you want a small Mennonite church, Perhaps you want a House Church- you don’t really know until you check it out do you.
Here is a list of House church’s Directories: