How To Look For A Church

By Robin Butler
Pastor, First Baptist Church Crosby, TX


“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best.” Philippians 1:9-10a (NIV)

In September, 2000, my wife and I moved, in God’s service, to Portland, Oregon and found ourselves doing something we had seen others do for more than two decades: looking for a church! It was not fun and at times it became very frustrating. Out of our experience I have written this brief guide to assist others. Our prayer for you is an echo of the Apostle’s prayer: “that you may be able to discern what is best.”

The whole issue in looking for a church comes down to “discerning what is best”! But, “best” in whose eyes? “Best” in whose understanding? If you ask this question: “What is best for my family and me?”…there is a good chance you will miss the mark in your search for a church. But, if you ask the question this way: “What is God’s best for my family and me?”…you are on the path of discovering God’s best for your lives.

“Discern what is best!” There are a lot of good churches out there but there is only one that is God’s best for you. Here are some things to think about while looking for a church.

First, LOOK QUICKLY! Don’t waste time because you have none to waste. You can put off making up your mind but you cannot put off making up your life. Set yourself a “goal” time frame for finding a church and get busy.

Your faith, at best, is like a red hot ember in a blazing fireplace. If you take that ember from the fireplace and set it on the hearth alone, it will turn to cold gray ash in a short while. Every day you spend not vitally connected to a local church family and it’s encouraging, accountable fellowship is a day you live in the danger zone where spiritual malaise, lethargy, and a lukewarm heart await you. So look quickly!

Second, LOOK REALISTICALLY! Do not look for a perfect church! There are none and if there were it would be perfect no longer the moment any of us joined it. Also, do not look for a church like some other church you may have loved greatly. Every church is unique and has its’ own personality, strengths, and growth areas, just as people are unique. Asking a church to be like, “the church I left back home” is an impossible request to make of any congregation. So, look realistically!

Third, LOOK PRACTICALLY! Three factors come into play here.

Consider the “location factor”. Is this church close enough (in drive time) for me to be an active, serving part?

  • Consider the “connection factor”. Is this a church in which I can “connect” in fellowship and in service?  

  • Consider the “affiliation factor”. With what doctrinal group is this church affiliated? Can I readily embrace the doctrinal beliefs of this church? First Baptist Church of Crosby is a Southern Baptist Church. Think Bible, think Billy Graham, think solid, sound, scriptural preaching and worship that applies to everyday life and makes sense. Think the largest Protestant group in America sending more missionaries around the world than any other Protestant group in the history of the Christian faith.

Fourth, LOOK PRAYERFULLY! The bottom line is this: God wants you and your family vitally connected with a local church for worship, fellowship, ministry, discipleship, and accomplishment of your life mission. Prayerfully seek the church to which God is leading you. Join fellowship with that church and wholeheartedly invest your life. Don’t join and then just be a member in name only. That sort of thing is almost worthless. God wants to use you to change the world one person at a time. The synergy produced when believers in Christ function together as the body of Christ releases the power of the Holy Spirit in us and through us, and lives are changed, including our own.


I and the members of the spiritual family known as First Baptist Church of Crosby will be praying for you as you seek God’s will in your Christian life and service. I would be honored if you would contact me with any questions or comments about our church, your walk with Christ, or anything you have read in this humble statement.


Pastor Robin Butler