Almost 25 Questions That Will Save You a Lot of Sundays
Written by Todd Friel from www.wayofthemasterradio.com.
Looking for a good church? Join the club. Church-shopping can be a long and painful process. To shorten your search, call the pastor of the church before you visit and ask the following questions. This might save you a lot of Sundays.
- What is man's biggest problem, sin or self esteem? Seeker sensitive and felt-needs churches focus on man's hurts and problems. The Bible says that man's biggest problem is sin.
- What must a man do to inherit eternal life? Repent and trust is the Biblical answer. If the word “repent” is never used, say, “Thank you.”
- How do you deliver the salvation message? Ask the pastor to describe specifically what he says. Does he encourage people to simply say a prayer? Does he tell people to ask Jesus into their hearts? The salvation message should include: God's holiness, man's sinfulness, God's response (hell), God's kindness (Jesus on the cross), man's response (repentance and faith).
- How hard is it to become a Christian? The “formula” is simple, doing it is not. It is not easy to believe.
- How often do you talk about sin, righteousness and judgment? Balance is key. This should not be the only emphasis, but it should be a regular emphasis.
- How seeker sensitive is your church? It is o.k. for a church to be “seeker aware” but seeker sensitive means that they lean toward seekers and not the saved.
- Who do you do church for, seekers or members? “Both” is not acceptable. Church should be done for members and the unsaved are welcome to attend.
- Do you dumb down your sermons? If he says yes, he is probably not trying to wean his members from milk to meat. Answers like, “We try to make our sermons accessible to everyone” are sermons that are not meaty.
- What is your mixture of topical vs. expository preaching? Topical preaching is fine, but if a pastor never or rarely preaches expositionally (verse by verse),then you are going to be learning from the pastor and not God's Word.
- Do your sermons emphasize theology or are they relevant? Everyone should say their sermons are relevant, what you are looking for is if they teach theology.
- Describe your youth programs. If fun and games is the major (and usually first) emphasis, you have a youth program that is trying to compete with MTV.
- Describe your evangelism programs. Don't just accept, "We have an evangelism committee.” Dig. Are they serious about saving souls?
- What church growth model do you follow? Hopefully they don't have one. Churches should be reaching out to the lost, but churches that are plugged into new church growth models tend to follow man's modern ideas rather than the Bible.
- How much do you give to missions and the hungry? Again, this reveals the heart of the church. While most churches give to missions, many never consider the poor.
- Do you believe the Bible contains no errors or contradictions? No equivocation allowed here.
- Do you believe in a literal 6 day creation? Jesus did (Matt.19:4).
- Do you believe in a literal hell and eternal punishment? Jesus did (Matt.25).
- When you distribute the Lord's Supper, do you emphasize the need to examine yourself? Paul did (I Cor.11:27-32).
- Can a person who is living in a persistent lifestyle of sin inherit eternal life? Sinners can certainly be forgiven, but practicing sinners cannot inherit eternal life (I John 3:8,9).
- Does your church exercise church discipline? Paul said we should (I Cor.5).
- Do Sunday school teachers, nursery, and youth volunteers fill out an application to answer questions about their core beliefs, or are all volunteers accepted?
- What are the essentials of the faith? Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Salvation through faith alone, the inerrancy of Scripture.
- Do you have a cross in your sanctuary? Many remove it because they fear it will turn off seekers. They should glory in the cross. The cross should be the central focus of every church.
What are some good books for new Christians to read?
The most important book you will read for the rest of your life will be God's word, the Bible. Making daily Bible reading apart of your life is an important first step in growing in the Lord. There are also lots of other good Christian books that will help you mature, here are some favorites for new Christians:
- My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
- A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
- Way of the Master by Ray Comfort—A must read that will change your life as a follower of Christ
- Experiencing God by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King—A step-by-step bible study on knowing and doing the will of God in your life
Why do we tell people about Jesus?
The simplest answer is because Jesus tells us to. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20: (NIV)
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
To illustrate the point, imagine that you were a scientist and you had discovered the cure for cancer. There are millions of people in the world dying of cancer, what do you do? Simple, you give people the cure you discovered so they can live. It's the same thing with sharing the gospel; people are dying everyday without knowing the Lord. These people will spend eternity separated from God in hell. But we as Christians have the “cure”; we know who can save these people from hell- Jesus- we need to point people to Jesus so they can truly live.
How do I share my faith?
The best resource to help you with sharing your faith in a way that will lead to true repentance is the site www.wayofthemaster.com check it out!
How do I deal with my non-Christian friends and family?
This can be one of the most difficult things when you become a new Christian. As your friends and family see changes in you and hear you talk about your faith the reaction isn't always pleasant. Your friends and family are going to expect you to be the same person you've always been but when the Lord saves you, you become a new creation in Christ and are instructed to flee from sin. The friend you used to go out drinking with isn't likely to be thrilled when they find out you aren't doing that anymore. They may be angry with you or make fun of you. You may lose friends in the process. It isn't easy but stand strong in your faith for Christ and pray that God will change the hearts of your friends and family. Also surround yourself with other Christians who can pray for you and encourage you.
How do I hear God's voice?
God speaks to us through his word and prayer. Nothing that the Lord will want you to do will ever go against His word. When you're faced with a decision in life God's word is the place to go. Also have other mature Christians pray for you and offer their wisdom and biblical advice to your situation.
What does living an integrated Christian life mean?
It means that your walk with Christ penetrates all aspects of your life. Your family, finances, workplace, school, relationships, thought life, everything. God wants all of you not just the “you” that goes to church on Sundays. No matter how long we've been Christians it's important to pray that the Lord will rule in all areas of our life. In the Billy Graham Christian workers handbook it says to encourage a new believer in the five basic activities of Christian life which are:
- Faithful Church involvement
- Daily bible study
- Daily prayer
- Witness for Christ
- Service in His name
What does worshipping God look like?
Going to church, praying, reading His word in the Bible, praising Him through music, seeing Him in all areas of your life and giving the credit to Him.