Looking for the Perfect Church

Acts 6:1 NIV

"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food."

When we think about the early church, we have a tendency to think of it as perfect. After all, Jesus had just left the earth, the Holy Spirit had been poured out at Pentecost, and everything was rocking along just fine. Miracles were happening every day. Peter and John and the other apostles were performing signs and wonders constantly. Everyone shared everything. The people of the early church had everything in common. They were such an attractive bunch, thousands were added to their numbers. Even though they suffered persecution at the hands of the Jewish priests and elders, the church itself was in perfect shape, right? Read this verse (above). Looks like they had run into their first administrative boondoggle. The Grecian Christians were upset because their widows were being overlooked in the daily food distribution. Now, this probably wasn't an intentional oversight or a display of discrimination. Most likely it was a language problem. So the apostles put seven Greek-speaking men in charge of food distribution, making sure that no one would be overlooked. Problem solved.

But this was just the beginning. As we continue to read about the early church, we find that one internal problem after another arose. Differences in theological interpretation caused Paul to run head-long into the Judaizers more than once. Arguments between church members caused one rift after another. In other words, that first group of Christians wasn't any more perfect than our church congregations today.

The point? Many of us find ourselves in search of the "perfect" church. We diligently seek that one denomination or church body that is in total harmony. where everything runs as it should. where everyone is so holy the halos are almost visible. where every point of doctrine is identical with what we personally believe. where every part of the worship service is exactly the way we like it. where each and every thing within that church is exactly what we think it should be. When something doesn't go exactly as we think it should. when a few minor points of doctrine disagree with what we believe. when we don't find the perfection we seek. we move on to another church, thinking it might be "the" one. The result? We never find what we're looking for. because the "perfect" church doesn't exist. and it never will - at least, not until the Lord returns.

So, if you're looking for a home church, what should you do? Pray and ask the Lord to direct you to the congregation where HE wants you to be, where you can serve Him best, and where you can be fed. And then begin to visit churches. Don't get hung up on a denomination. Remember, the "church" that Jesus spoke about is the Body of Christ - made up of every born again believer in the world. The congregations where we attend are just that - congregations. And it doesn't matter what is written over the front door. Instead, what matters is what is written on the hearts of the members and what is being taught from the pulpit and in the Sunday school classes.

Be a "Berean." In Acts 17:11, the Bereans were commended because they listened to everything that Paul said, and then went home and checked the Scriptures (our Old Testament) to see whether what Paul said was true. Learn to do the same thing. Make sure you have your Bible with you, and read along with what the Pastor or teacher is reading, even if you're using a different translation. Take some notes, and then go home and check the Bible to see what God says about what the preacher said.

Ask for a Statement of Faith. Most churches have one. Read it carefully, and check it against God's Word, too. And all the while, continue to pray, asking God to lead you to the place where you can serve Him best. Then pay attention to His clues. He'll show you.

Used with Permission

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