What Matters the Most to Me About Church

As a twenty-two-year-old woman born and raised in brethren assemblies and raised by God-fearing and Bible-loving parents, I can say the first thing that comes to mind when I am looking for a church is, “can I grow in God’s Word during my attendance here?”.

A couple of years ago, I was thrown into a new situation and environment which completely changed my life: I moved to Ireland for two years. This was a big change and although exciting, a bit scary as well.

Where do I fellowship in Ireland?

I realized that I would have to find another church to replace the one I have grown to love over the past ten years of my life. I truly believed that nothing could come close to replacing my home assembly.

I started my search for a church with a bit of discouragement; however, it wasn’t long before I found the children of God who would teach me His word for the next two years of my life. I know that membership in a church meeting does not only consist of being taught but also serving.

My main concern was doctrine and depth and after this, community and service.

Finding my home away from home

There were not many brethren churches in Ireland and they were hard to reach. However, my sole focus was to find a church with solid doctrine and teaching. With some help from my friends back home, I found one.

Every meeting I attended there, I found new insights into God’s word that I never considered. I knew from listening to the pastor, that this man was indeed chosen and blessed by God to teach the church and this gave me peace.

I know I do not speak for all young people and adults when it comes to what we find important in a church, therefore, I asked some of my international friends to give me their input. Below is a compiled list of the most common answers I received:

  1.  God’s glory is at the center of the church’s focus on all activities. No other focus is placed above this.
  2. The power of the Word preached in alignment with the scriptures.
  3. A welcoming community which encourages, admonishes and disciples one another.
  4. The humility of the leadership.
  5. Both inward (growth of members) and outward (community outreach) focus.
  6. The safe discussion of tough topics. This point is actually very important. I met two weak Christians in my university in Dublin who started attending a church group that addressed very controversial topics in a small group setting, where they could share their doubts and receive answers in a caring environment. After several months, the Christians I met in the beginning had become more mature with stronger convictions on many issues in which they were unsure of earlier. The power of not shutting down these discussions but rather welcoming them is quite immense and so vital to the young people who are becoming confused in their doctrine due to strong attacks from the world.
  7. The encouragement to use gifts in service to the church.
  8. The witness and existence of members in fellowship being impacted by the church’s work in their lives.

It’s not about how flashy you are

This list may surprise many of you, unfortunately. Many churches today believe that the best and only way to stay relevant and healthy in order to attract more young people is to improve the quality of coffee, to hire talented musicians to lead worship or to update their technology.

However, nowhere in the Bible is it taught that God’s work will flourish by adorning ourselves with fashionable items that will pass away with time.

Please don’t misunderstand me. It’s not a sin, nor is it bad to stay relevant. However, if some of the items listed above are missing, regardless of how flashy your church is, it will not raise up children of God who will lead the next generation to grow in truth.

The church at all times must maintain its focus on Christ, must not waiver in truth, and must provide an environment for growth. 

Ann Hanna
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