What to Look For

If there is a puddle under a used car, don’t buy it.  Same thing with suspicious-looking paint jobs.  But how can you “kick the tires” on a church?  How can you tell if a church really represents Jesus in a true way?  You have heard horror stories about dysfunctional churches; how can you avoid the bad ones and find the good ones?  Here is one thing to look for:  How high and mighty is the pastor?  How closely does the pastor live by these words of Jesus?

“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Matthew 20:25-28)

Jesus not only commanded His followers to adopt the heart of a servant toward one another, He demonstrated this attitude by His own act of sacrifice.

If you notice a pastor who expects to be treated with special privilege, who struts about with an air of superiority, you can be pretty sure that church is in bad shape.  It may look all nice and shiny, but there is something essentially wrong at its core.  Pastors who know Jesus and follow him will show it by their humbleness and readiness to serve.  The same is true for the rest of the congregation, but it is easier to notice by observing the pastor.

Sadly, this one test is one many, many churches would fail.  But, when you shop for used cars, most of those should be avoided, too.  Not every church is a place Jesus attends.  Don’t overlook this telltale sign.

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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