There are a variety of churches available to you. I want to help you find a church that not only works for you, but for the betterment of the community and church.
What is this article about?
This post is about you: how your decision to go to a specific church affects you, your neighborhood, and your church. Specifically, I will be looking at the following pieces:
- How do I choose a church that works for me geographically?
- What happens when I choose a church far away from me?
- What happens when I choose a church close to me?
What's best for me?
All things being equal (theology, mission, leadership, vibe, etc ...), we need to look at where you live. 20 minutes travel time is the general rule when looking for a new church. Within 20 minutes of me, I have three campuses of North Coast Church to choose from. For our family, we chose the Vista campus, as it allows us an easier path of travel; one that is natural for us and the same direction we travel for shopping.
How do I choose a church that works for me geographically?
- Stay within the 20 minute window
- Make sure the path of travel is the same as shopping
What's best for the church?
There are a lot of things at play here, but I want to focus on commitment. Unfortunately I see this a lot. There's this super sexy church that has things dialed down, and this attraction brings in people who travel distances to just experience it. Or like our church, North Coast is an easy church to go to. But it's not just about an experience and it's not about it being easy. It's about being at the right place: to grow as a disciple in a healthy church environment.
What happens when I choose a church far away from me?
- Local churches lose an invested person or family
- You can't commit to leadership due to time constraints
- You can't impact that community, as it's not yours
What's best for my neighborhood?
Shop local; right? We see the advertisements everywhere and most everyone here in California has some investment into this. But how many people shop local and church away? For real, it's a very serious issue. I get it: you work in this town and want to live here, but you don't and your hood needs you. If not you, then who?
An inability to do church locally speaks more of you than the churches where you live.
What happens when I choose a church close to me?
- Your life becomes centered where you live
- Your time is invested in the community you call home
- Your neighbors become your church friends
- Your church friends become your close friends
- Your close friends join your Life Group
The number one reason a person decides to go to church is because someone asked them to come and see with them. If you choose to do church more than 20 minutes away, you lose an opportunity to impact lives locally for Jesus.
So really ... what's best?
Church local. Period.
The ability to influence lives for Jesus and the opportunities for "come and see" evangelism only happen if you church local. These aren't just empty words; it's what I do to. Here's how I do it, and exactly how I counsel churches to understand this dynamic at play.