Ask Alex

There are so many churches. How can you know which one to attend?


One of the most important criteria in finding a church family is whether they faithfully preach God’s Word as found in the Bible. Part of discerning this is listening to some sermons—possibly online ahead of time, these days—with an open Bible and a heart waiting on God’s Spirit to speak to you. He has plans for where He wants you in His kingdom, and He will direct your church membership journey. You might also read our article on the subject of what a church ought to be teaching. Another early step you can take is looking at the church’s statement of faith, often found on their website. Does the church hold to the Bible as the inspired Word of God? Is salvation clearly by grace through faith in Christ alone, without additions such as baptism, church membership, or expressing certain spiritual gifts such as the gift of tongues? What does the church believe about Jesus, the Trinity, and even marriage and family?

Secondly, you’ll want to look at the church’s leadership. How long have the leaders served? What is their reputation? What do they emphasize? Thirdly, consider the church’s ministries. Is there anything specific that will involve you in the broader life of the church beyond Sunday services? What does the church do for missions? God’s people are a people on a mission who must be intentionally engaged in reaching the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. If you want a little more help with what questions to ask, you might consider our free resource on choosing a church. If finding a faithful church family has been difficult, you might consider an online church finder from the Gospel Coalition, 9 Marks, or Acts 29 Network, each of which at least has some solid biblical guidelines for the churches in their respective networks.

For specifics on what a church should teach, see below:

The right church is one that teaches the truths of God’s Word— beginning with Genesis and all the way to Revelation. There are core doctrines that all Christians must believe and all Christian churches must teach.

The best way to qualify a good church is to judge using God’s word.  Does the church believe and teach the following?

  • The Bible is true, inerrant, and good for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness
  • God created the heavens and earth and created man in His image
  • All was perfect until man fell into sin
  • God, in His love and mercy, promised a redeemer to save mankind
  • Jesus is God
  • Jesus came to earth, born of a virgin, incarnate in the flesh, to redeem man
  • Jesus died to pay for man’s sins, was buried, and rose again to open the way for mankind to come to God and have eternal life with Him
  • Jesus forgives and saves repentant sinners by grace through faith, not of works (Eph 2:8-9)
  • Jesus is the head of the Church, His body
  • The mission of the church is to grow in love for God and knowledge of His Word, and demonstrate our love for God by loving and serving others
  • Jesus will return and make all things new

Look for a church that faithfully teaches the Bible and you’ll likely find one that stands firm on all core Christian doctrines.

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

More Questions & Answers

Join Our Email List!
Get a free e-book when you sign up.

Enter your email address to receive “My Relationship with God.”

"(Required)" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.