The Good Gathering

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fellowshipI had spent three whole posts on issues that I’ve been having with the church I am in fellowship with. I did not mean this as an attack on this church in any way, shape or form but merely as a means of expressing what has been on my conscience for quite sometime now and continues to this day. I would like to point out however that there are many good characteristics of the church I attend that cause me week after week to gather for worship and teaching. I know that where I live there are a number of churches from many different denominations however I have not found one as of yet that I would leave my current church for. What made me begin to think as of the last day or so is what exactly are the characteristic of a good church. What makes a particular church a good place to grow and does the church I attend meet these criterias. Let us begin in answering these important questions by attempting to demonstrate what makes a church pure and a good place for spiritual growth?

Firstly, I am a huge proponent of doctrine. If a church doesn’t have good doctrine then there can be no growth or blessing. Sound biblical doctrine is key to presenting every man mature in Christ (Col. 1:28) and it should be our goal to “be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:11) Fundamental beliefs such as Sola Scriptura, Salvation by grace through faith alone, a proper view of holiness and sanctification, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the virgin birth are all fundamentals that should be the core of the churches teaching among other important doctrines.

Secondly, a good church should focus upon practicing the “sacraments”. In other words the Lord’s Supper and Baptism should be a regular exercise for those in fellowship or coming into fellowship. These are important in the worship of a believer especially if we want to promote genuine worship (Ephesians 5:18-20). A good church encourages the participation of these wonderful commandments of our Lord and the heartfelt worship of our king and Saviour.

Thirdly, collective prayer should be a focus among all those in fellowship. We should always express our dependance on the Lord. We live in a world that is hostile towards us and we are weak and needy. To pray is to acknowledge this and our desire to be conformed to something better, mainly the image of the Son. So a good church is given to consistent heartfelt collective prayers.

 Even though this one isn’t always easy to address, a good church is one that protects its people especially from doctrinal and moral impurities. Any church that is a healthy church must practive church discipline. I will not get into the nitty gritties of it but I have written  an article on the subject for those who desire more information. There are many more that could be discussed in lenght. Wayne Grudem, in his systematic theology, lists a total of 12 which are as followed:

  • Biblical doctrine
  • proper use of the sacraments
  • right us of church discipline
  • genuine worship
  • effective prayer
  • effective witness
  • effective fellowship
  • Biblical church government
  • spiritual power in ministry
  • personal holiness of life among members
  • care for the poor
  • love for Christ (Systematic theology, W. Grudem, P874)

The list goes on and on regarding these characteristics. Of course, no church is perfect but we need to see that these particular “signs” are found and if the church strives for purity in these categories, we are given a beautiful place to worship, grow and especially find a common love for our Lord Jesus Christ.


Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 8, 2009 at 2:15 am

Posted in Church Issues

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