How to Select a Church

Church size, denomination, theological tradition, worship style, pastoral leadership, opportunities for college-age students, and distance from campus are just a few of the many things to prayerfully consider when selecting a local church. Students also often ask about which churches are ‘safe’ in terms of promoting healthy, Christ-centered relationships. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the decision-making process:

Some Signs of a Healthy Church

  • Visionary, empowering, and accountable leadership
  • Positive relationships among pastoral staff and leadership
  • Missional focus that embraces community and global engagement
  • Healthy process for conflict resolution
  • Clear statement of beliefs consistent with historical Christian faith
  • Relational connectedness throughout congregation
  • Celebration in corporate worship

Some Signs of an Unhealthy Church

  • Overly dependent focus on pastoral leadership
  • Secretive or unethical leadership practices
  • Lack of mission and vision
  • Intolerance for differences of opinion or healthy conflict
  • Dysfunctional patterns in congregational relationships (exclusive, emotionally fused, shaming, lack of connection, spiritually abusive)
  • Does not value theological education
  • Lack of spiritual vitality in corporate worship