Sunday, April 15, 2007

Finding a Good Church

Let's face it. Some churches are better than others. And like it or not, our spiritual growth suffers when we're not adequately nourished. Hence, it's important to find a good church. But how do we measure what makes a church "good?" Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

During my college years, I moved quite a bit -- from Minnesota to southern California for college, to DC for several internships, to England for study abroad, back to Minnesota a few times, and finally to Sacramento for full-time employment. Each time I moved, it was a challenge to find a good church. And I'm not even sure I knew what I was looking for.

By the time I landed in Sacramento, I decided that someone really ought to start a web directory of "good churches," so that folks like me wouldn't have to flip through the phone book trying to guess whether or not a church was okay.

Not that I had anything to do with it, but someone has finally tackled the daunting task of attempting to identify "good" churches. 9Marks Ministries, founded by Mark Dever, has created a church search tool enabling you to find churches near your zip characterized by the following "nine marks:"

  1. Expositional Preaching

  2. Biblical Theology

  3. Biblical Understanding of the Good News

  4. Biblical Understanding of Conversion

  5. Biblical Understanding of Evangelism

  6. Biblical Understanding of Membership

  7. Biblical Church Discipline

  8. Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth

  9. Biblical Understanding of Leadership.

Now don't panic if your church doesn't show up in the results -- at least not yet. If your church is characterized by the nine marks, you can request to have it added to the search. If your church isn't characterized by the nine marks, perhaps it's time to prayerfully consider finding one that is.

I'm thrilled that this church locator now exists so I can recommend it to others who may find themselves bouncing around the globe like I did during college. May God use the 9Marks ministry to help college students and others find good churches that provide Christ-exalting spiritual nourishment.

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