How to Find a Church Home

Posted: July 18, 2013 in Church, Discipleship, Family, Pastor, Pastoral Ministry

finding-a-good-churchFinding the church where God wants you to serve and worship takes patience and persistence, especially if your search coincides with a move to a new community. Sometimes people spend a lot of time trying to find the “right” church. The writer of Hebrews urged believers not to neglect meeting together with other believers so that they might encourage one another (see Heb. 10:24-25).

With so many churches and denominations, how can you determine which church you should join? How do you know which church gives you the best opportunity not only to grow spiritually but to serve God and other people? Let me offer the following to assist you by letting you know about Mandeville’s First Baptist, where I have been privileged to serve for the past nineteen years.

We believe the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We believe that Jesus Christ is God and that He is the only way to have a forever relationship with God.

We are an autonomous church. In other words, we belong to a denomination that is not hierarchical; therefore, this body of believers determines how it functions and operates. We are led by a staff of pastors, but the congregation makes decisions by casting votes. Sometimes we vote on matters on Sunday mornings, such as deacon elections or adopting a church budget. However, we meet on four specific times during the year on a Sunday evening to conduct what we call a “ministry meeting.” At these meetings, I recast the vision for the church. We also hear reports from the various ministry leaders. It is during these meetings,that the congregation considers and votes on recommendations from our pastors, ministries, and committees.

We belong to the Northshore Baptist Association, an association of churches in St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes; the Louisiana Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. We participate actively in missionary endeavors locally, nationally, and internationally.

We believe that believers should participate in ministry and missions. That is why we have Life Groups for every age group in the church. Because we believe that ministry more effectively occurs in small groups, we urge everyone who comes to First Baptist to participate in a Life Group. Those who do so can study the Bible with others, experience of the encouragement through prayer and fellowship with others, and participate in ministry and missions. We challenge each of our adult Life Groups to have two ongoing mission projects – near (within St. Tammany Parish) and far (outside St. Tammany Parish).

If you are looking for a church home, let me urge you to take this challenge. Participate in a Life Group and for at least two months. You will get to others in the class and get acquainted with the teaching and the ministry of the group. Attend the Sunday service consistently during that time. You might consider attending a service at a different time, just to experience that service and to interact with others in the church. Participate in the Midweek activities. While in the summer months we do not have AWANA for the children, we do offer activities for every age group. AWANA returns with the beginning of the school.

We urge those interested in learning more about our church to come to what we call “New Member Experience.” We offer this event four or five times a year where we can enjoy a meal together, and our entire staff along with some of our members will be on hand to give you a complete overview of our ministries. We also offer to those who wish to do an opportunity to join our church at New Member Experience.

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