How to Choose a Church – Seven Questions to Ask

How to Choose a Church – Seven Questions to Ask

There might be a whole host of reasons why you are reading this article. Perhaps you are moving to a new area, or are a student who will be studying in a new city. You might be a new believer who is yet to find a church, or you may wish to move to a different church than the one you attend. There will be times in our lives where we may need to choose a new church to attend, and it can be incredibly daunting, and at times incredibly uncomfortable. It is important to be rooted in a local church, and committing to a church is a significant decision.

Hebrews 10:24-15 says, ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching’. It is clear from scripture that we are created for community, and that we should meet together regularly as the church. 

Here are seven questions for you to ask as you choose a church, which I hope will help you make this decision.

Can I stay where I am? 

The first question to ask yourself is whether you can stay where you are. Of course, this will depend on your reason for looking for a church, but I would always discourage church-hopping or church-shopping. There are some good reasons to leave a church, such as heretical teaching or spiritual abuse, for example. However, more often than not, when I speak to people who are leaving a church, it is more to do with personal preference, a consumer mentality, or a disagreement with an individual. More often than not, these same problems will be evident within any church they might attend.

It is far more important to stay rooted in your local church. There is no such thing as a perfect church, as it is made up of imperfect people who will make mistakes! But if you can remain in your current church, please do, as it much better to stay where you are.

Of course, you might have a perfectly valid reason for leaving, or you might be moving city and need to find a new Christian community to belong to. If that is the case, keep reading, and ask yourself the next six questions!

Have I prayed? 

Whenever we make a significant decision in our lives, it is important to bring it before God. If you haven’t already, spend some time in prayer, bringing it before God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight’. Submit your decision making to God, and allow Him to guide you. 

As a little aside, once you have rooted in a church, make sure you pray regularly for your church and its leaders!

Do I agree with the doctrine taught? 

It is worth asking for a statement of beliefs and investigating if the church is a part of a denomination when deciding which church to be a part of. Are the core beliefs of the church in line with yours? There will always be differences between people’s personal theologies, and a lot of these differences will be insignificant. However, does the church proclaim the Gospel, teach that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour and that salvation is through Jesus? Some beliefs are non-negotiable. Decide what these are for you personally, and check that the church’s doctrine matches your beliefs.

If you are unsure of the doctrine of the church, contact the pastor of the church. I am sure that either the pastor or one of the core leadership team would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss this. Meeting with a leader is also a great way to get to know the church’s heart and culture!

Are you encouraged to Worship God? 

Is worship at the heart of the church? One of the core purposes of a church is to worship God. It is not to entertain us, but to give praise and adoration to God! Does the church worship God, and is the congregation encouraged to worship both on a Sunday and at home? A good church should encourage you to worship. Style is secondary, but it is important that you can connect with God, and different churches do have different ‘flavours’ of worship.

Does this church equip you to be a disciple of Jesus, and to disciple others? 

It is NOT the responsibility of the church or the church leadership team to keep your faith passionate and to teach you everything you need to know about God. However, it is important that the church you attend encourages, challenges and empowers you, and that you can submit to the authority of the church’s leadership. The church doesn’t replace the need for you to read your Bible and spend time in God’s presence; it should supplement it and give you the tools you need to grow.

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-12 says, ‘Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “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.”’. We are called to be a disciple and disciple others – does this church empower you to do this? 

Is this church outward-looking?

Every church is called to the Great Commission, and to be evangelistic! This, in practice, can look different for different contexts, but it is always worth investigating how the church shares the Gospel with the community. Some common examples are Alpha courses, social action projects and schools or prison ministry. Does this church actively seek to share the Gospel, and are people coming to faith?

Do I belong here?

A final question to ask is whether you feel as though you and your family can belong here. Perhaps you have children, and you’d like to find a church with a great children’s and youth ministry, or you have a passion for a particular ministry that the church runs. It is worth considering if you feel as though you can make roots and get involved with your family. Serving and contributing in church will grow your faith, I would encourage you to be a contributor rather than a consumer in your church!


Ultimately, I would strongly encourage you to pick a church and to stick with your decision. No church is perfect, but if you have asked yourself these questions, you have asked some of the most important ones. Be committed, encourage your leaders and get involved where you can. The church is a beautiful place, full of imperfect people on the journey of faith together!

Are there any further questions you’d ask when looking for a church?

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