What should you do if you’ve been disappointed by a local congregation of believers? What should you do if/when you are looking for a place to worship God, but all the congregations around you just don’t quite fill the longing deep in your spirit? Should you go to another city (Maybe), or watch a TV preacher (Possibly… for a short time), or go out in the woods (No)? Well… here are a few suggestions.
First Things First. Make sure you are seeking God’s will through prayer and leadership of the Spirit. Make sure your evaluation priorities are in the right order (Which are): Doctrinal faithfulness to Orthodox Christianity; Worship that is God exalting and glorifying unto Christ (This has little to do with style of worship); A fellowship that is loving, open, gracious, merciful, and forgiving (This will take more than one visit to discern!).
Be sure you have been diligent in seeking God regarding where He would have you worship. Don’t “jump ship” too quickly.
Make a concerted effort to follow God’s leadership regarding a place to worship.
Consider denominations other than that which you grew up attending.
Carefully evaluate, under God’s leadership: 1) The faithfulness of the message to Scripture; 2) The centrality of God glorifying worship; 3) The sense you get from the pastor and people in attendance (Is there joy? Are they genuine? Do they model love for one another? etc.)
Do not make a decision quickly, but follow God as He leads.
But What If…?
You might be surprised, but there are other people… strong faithful Christians… who might be in the same situation. There may be some you know who might be open to exploring the idea of coming together to fellowship with other believers in Christ. Be willing to talk to a few of your friends about the possibility of coming together as a fellowship of believers.
Warning! When considering to possibility of a new fellowship of believers, it is of tremendous importance… and I cannot over emphasize this… that the new fellowship does NOT form out of hurt or anger toward a previous church, denomination, or minister. It is not healthy for a fellowship to begin as the result of anger, bitterness, or hurt. The only way a new fellowship is healthy is when it forms for God honoring and Christ glorifying reasons.
Ask God for direction regarding whether or not He would confirm exploring the possibility of a new fellowship. Be patient… don’t pull this trigger too quickly. Talk to a few of your friends about what they think God’s design is for a congregation that glorifies Him (Not that others aren’t, but maybe in a fresh way that is needed where you live)? Ask God to connect you to others who are of like mindedness to you. Then… as God leads… it may be that God would use you as either a catalyst, or part of a group, to begin a new fellowship that meets a need going unmet in some way. No church can or should try to be everything to everyone. Some are called to meet one need, another congregation another one, and others in other ways. Just as believers IN a congregation have different gifts and callings, so do fellowship and congregations have special gifts and callings.
Or you may find during the process that God is calling you in a way you hadn’t considered to a fellowship already in existence. Be open to God’s call… whatever it is… to honor and glorify Him. After all, if these hadn’t happened IN HEALTHY WAYS, there would still be only one church congregation in every city…