The Mailbag: How Can I Find a Good Church?



I had to leave my old church (due to unbiblical teaching, because I moved, etc.). How can I find a new, doctrinally sound church?

I get this question a lot, and it’s one of my favorites, because it means the person is thinking about what constitutes a healthy, doctrinally sound church and seeking one out instead of going somewhere she can get her ears tickled. There are a lot of churches out there that have gone off the rails, but there are still a lot of good churches out there as well.

First, you need to know what makes a church doctrinally sound or unsound, which means you have to know what the Bible says about salvation, the Trinity, creation, sin, etc., all the major doctrines, well enough to know whether the church you’re considering believes and practices what the Bible says. I’m a little partial, but I think my denomination’s statement of faith does a decent job of succinctly outlining and giving an overview of the biblical position on the major doctrines, in case you need to study up a little (of course there are some finer points of doctrine you’ll want to take a look at, too).

In addition to what we would think of as the church’s main doctrines, there are some other vital things you’ll want to take into consideration when considering whether a church is healthy, such as whether the church is complementarian or egalitarian, what, if any, connection the church has with false teachers or their materials, whether the church is cessationist or continuationist, how the church handles the music portion of the worship service, and so on.

You can find information on all of these doctrinal issues and more by studying the resources under “What to look for in a church” at the “Searching for a new church?” tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Ready to start hunting for a new church home? Here are a few guidelines:

1. Pray. Ask God to give you wisdom as you search and to guide you to the right church for your family.

2. Ask around in person or on social media. Do you have friends or family in the area who could point you to a good church? If your current church is doctrinally sound (i.e. you’re only leaving it because you’re moving), ask your pastor for recommendations. Be sure the people you ask are trustworthy, doctrinally sound Christians.

3. Use the church “search engines” at the “Searching for a new church?” tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Keep in mind that no church is perfect, and you may have to try a church that’s a different denomination than you’re used to, doesn’t meet all your preferences, or that is a bit farther away than you prefer.

4. If you have thoroughly exhausted all of the church search engines at the link above (#3) and none of your friends/family have any good suggestions, contact me, and I’ll be glad to ask around on my social media pages. I’ll keep your name confidential, but I’ll need to know the city and state/country where you’re looking for a church. (Please understand that if you aren’t able to find a church through the search engines or someone you know, it is unlikely that one of my social media followers will be able to come up with anything. This is a “last ditch effort” sort of thing. The search engines are your best bet.)

5. Found a church you think might be a good one? Examine its web site well. Does it have a solid statement of faith? Any female “pastors” on staff? Is the small group Bible study using a book by a false teacher? Are there pictures of members attending the latest gay pride rally? Are there sermons on the site you could listen to? Look for what the church is doing right and any areas that are red flags you should ask about (Be careful not to jump to conclusions, you could be mistaken about something. Ask.)

6. Did the church pass the web site test? Try it on for size. Visit a few times and see if it seems like a good fit.

7. If you’ve been visiting and think this church might be “the one,” schedule an appointment with the pastor (preferably during his office hours, if possible). Ask any questions you still have and ask how you and your family can get plugged in and serve.

Don’t forget- you’re not going to find the perfect church. Any church you join is going to have some problems. Our goal is not to find a place where we’ll be completely comfortable with never a ruffled feather and all of our preferences catered to. Our goal is to find the most doctrinally sound church we can, roll up our sleeves, and get to work serving, loving, and worshiping.

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

8 thoughts on “The Mailbag: How Can I Find a Good Church?”

  1. I’ve looked at the church finder sites and come up empty. I am distrustful of the Berean site which has two churches in my area. I attended one where the message was not from the scriptures. This despite their website saying all the ‘right things’. The other church listed says they teach expository sermons, which is what I want. But I am wary of the ‘coffee and treats’ during church approach and I suspect that will go hand-in-hand with contemporary music. Shudder.

    Coming from a SBC that was running on fumes in the south, I am very reluctant to attend ‘just any church’. So far the local churches I’ve vetted online and attended have serious drawbacks. From NAR music and it’s-all-about-me heresy to the preacher telling us that Jesus came to the wedding feast a moocher.

    We don’t know a soul out here that attends church. I tried Facebook but that was a bust. My husband makes no attempt to help in the search and just passively goes when I think I’ve found one to try. I don’t want to say I’ve given up but I think I almost have.


  2. Hello, I’ve recently started reading The Bible and would like to find a good church to attend here in the U.K..
    Do you have any advice please?
    Many thanks, God bless.
    Cara Matimong


    1. Hi Cara-
      I’m so glad to hear you’re looking for a good church. Have you checked out the “Searching for a new church?” tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page? I would suggest reading the resources under “What to look for in a church” on that page, then begin exploring the church search engines and my list of reader recommended churches near the top of the page. I hope you’ll find a great church family soon! :0)


  3. Hi I would like to find another church the church that I had been going too I’m unsure if because of their worship team is questionable regarding their music and I’m not sure how biblical it really is.

    Please help me when you get the chance.


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