Sounds of My Writings: The Ten Commandments of Church Finding
Church finding and Christian fellowship is fundamental and paramount in the life of a believer. We at I AM Ministries believe that finding the right Church for your spiritual growth is the most important decision you will make aside from receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. There are ten very important questions that you should ask yourself before joining a Church. These ten questions and answers will determine whether you have found the right Church for you and your family. We pray that where ever the Lord leads you to congregate that you grow in the truth, love, and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here they are........
Question 1: Is it a Gospel-Centered Church?
The will of God is that you find a place where your spiritual food will produce good spiritual fruit. In all dietary disciplines, a person becomes what he or she eats.
Matthew 16:13-20 “Is Jesus Christ the Son of God?”
3 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 - “Itching ears”
1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 3:10-17 - “All Scripture is God Breathed”
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Acts 20:25-28 - “Full counsel (will) of God”
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Question 2: Is it a place you can call “home”?
It is the will of God that the place you will worship, fellowship, and partake of God’s Word is a place that you feel at home. A place and fellowship that you feel acknowledged, appreciated, and part of a spiritual family.
Psalms 84:1-12 - “A place call home”
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3 Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. 5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. 9 Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. 10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Question 3: Do you believe and agree with the purpose or mission of the Church?
It is the will of God that you believe and agrees with the purpose of the Church you will be attending and serving in. The purpose or mission of the church in the course of action and the steering by which the Church will strive to build the Kingdom of God personally, corporately, locally, and globally. If the course by which your Church is steering is different from the “course” or “beat of the drum” which you are accustomed to, or looking to take, it is inevitable that your journey will experience many bumps and bruises along the way. The Church of your choosing should be a place where your personal “mission” should be fulfilled through the corporate “mission” or “purpose” of the Church.
Our Church’s purpose statement:
I AM Ministries is a Gospel-Centered Church that makes disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, teaching everyone to live a life in reverence and worship to God, and love through service to its community locally and abroad.
John 14:1-7 - “I AM the Way”
1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Acts 2:42-47 - “Share a common purpose and vision”
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Question 4: Is there an opportunity to grow and mature spiritually (discipleship)?
The Lord’s will is that you grow and mature in the faith and grace, to fulfill the purpose for which he has saved you in Christ Jesus. Every individual has a “calling” and/or “purpose” for which he or she will give an account for, and that will require the necessary discipline to fulfill it. Growing in discipleship is essential in attaining the necessary discipline to fulfill your call.
Matthew 28:16-20 - “A Church that disciples”
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Philippians 3:7-16 - “Press on toward the prize”
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Question 5: Does the Church practice and believe in the active presence of the Holy Spirit?
The Lord’s will is that each person in Christ Jesus be baptized in the Holy Spirit so that he or she may produce spiritual fruit and be effective in ministry and in testimony.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 - “Spirit-filled”
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Question 6: Does the Church encourage and practice Worship
It is the will of God that each believer grows in his or her intimacy with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. All acts of ministry, song, service, fellowship, giving, and/or offer is the way we practice our spiritual act of worship. The more your intimacy in God grows, the more godliness and fruitfulness is found in the life of a believer.
John 4:19-26 “Encourages Worship”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Question 7: Does the Church have a local and global desire to evangelize and practice missions”?
It is the will of Jesus Christ that you tell and share the Good News of the Gospel with the world. The bride of Christ is built locally but also engaged globally. Seeing and partaking of souls repenting and turning to the Lord for Salvation is the commission of every believer and Church, and for which heaven rejoices.
Acts 1: 4-9 “A Church that evangelizes & sends to missions”
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Question 8: Did Jesus call you there?
It is the will of God that you find a place where Christ has called you to grow and serve. A place where you are part of God’s spiritual family, and where you can use your spiritual gifts and talents to build the Kingdom of God.
John 10:22-30 “The Voice of your Pastor”
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.
Ephesians 4:11-16 - “Joined and held together by supporting ligaments”
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Question 9: Does your Church have a Statement of Faith (What they believe)?
It is important when choosing a Church that you become familiar with their “purpose” and “what the Church believes”. This will help you identify denominational values, doctrinal differences, and ecclesiastical Church structure and governance. Please be sure to avoid any so-called church that practices occultist, heresy, or apostasy practices.
Acts 20:25-35 - “Savage Wolves”
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Question 10: Does your Church practice and believe in Salvation through faith and grace in Jesus Christ?
It is the will of God that you come to know Christ through his saving grace on Calvary. Trying to earn your way to heaven, or build a personal relationship with God without believing in his saving grace (unmerited favor) will lead you down a religious path. It is the will of God that you be trained up and encouraged in the “divine grace” which is a free gift from God the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 2:1-10 - “Salvation through faith and grace”
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.