How long?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    If you move long distance into a new town, how long should it take you to join a church?

    Lets suppose, with-in a 20 minute drive there are 15 Baptist churches. How would you narrow your search down, how many would you visit, and generally how many times you attend before considering joining the church?
    What would be some deal breakers for you (ie KJO, strong SBC involvement, ect)

    I realize there would be no set answer, but what would be some guidelines you might consider.

    Dr. Bill Rice once said that if you were to consider moving to an area without a Bible Believing Baptist church, that in itself would be a good enough reason not to move there. Agree?
     
  2. David Lamb

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    I would try to find out what the various churches stood for before moving. I would try to make contact with the pastor, and ask him for a copy of the church constitution, though these days many churches have their statement of faith on their website.

    Here, the choice is more limited anyway; I can't think of anywhere where there are anywhere near as many as fifteen baptist churches within a 20-minute drive.

    Also, our country is much smaller, so it is more feasible to visit the new area.
     
    #2 David Lamb, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2011
  3. Salty

    Salty
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    In the Bible-Belt, (southern US) we jokingly say "a Baptist church on every corner"

    Salty
     
  4. freeatlast

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    While I agree with Dr. Rice's statement it is not always practical. In fact it is probably mostly not practical.

    As to how long to join a church? As long as it takes to find the right one. With 15 possible churches to choose from it would take 15 weeks (3.75 months) to just visit them all if the first 14 visited was not an absolute match to what one was hoping for and that is means only one visit. Attending is what we are required to do, not join although I do believe membership is expected, by the Lord.
    As to a deal breaker for me it would be blatant false doctrine.
     
  5. Crabtownboy

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    I disagree with Dr. Rice. Christ did not tell us to go only to Baptist Believing ghettos but to all the world. After all, God may be moving us to such a location to get a Bible believing church started ... and it may start in a home Bible discussion group not connected with any church in the beginning.

    I am sure that I could eliminate several of the churches simply from their sign out front. Then I would visit the other churches. The first visit might eliminate some ... hard to tell.

    Those I would be interested in I would take the pastor out to lunch on a weekday and try to determine what type of pastor they are. That would eliminate others.

    Also I would talk to as many church members, on visits, to see what their attitudes were toward the pastor and especially toward each others and toward the unsaved in the area.

    I would study their constitution and covenant.

    Also I would attend a business meeting to see how it is conducted and how the members interact with each other.
    It would take a fair amount of time to narrow the 15 down to the one I would join.
     
  6. Salty

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    Amen Brother :thumbsup::saint:

    As for the rest of your statement, I agree with your thoughts - all excellent steps to follow!
     
  7. JohnDeereFan

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    Salty, I don't believe there is any given time, but I will say this: When people move (and I have been just as guilty as anybody), they tend to look at every factor under the Sun except fellowship with a local body of believers in determining where and when to move. And then, once they're there, as an afterthought, they then decide to try to find a good church.

    Everybody wants to know about the schools, about property taxes, about crime, about convenience to highways or public transportation or shopping, about property values, about cultural things, but nobody ever asks, "Do they have a Bible believing, Bible teaching, Gospel preaching church there".

    Perhaps Christians should make the presence of a good local church for them to be a part of a pre-requisite for a move.
     
  8. JohnDeereFan

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    Salty, we just got back from West Palm Beach, where we bought a couple of houses (and when I say "a couple", no, we're not rich. We just got a ridiculously good deal). Anyway, there's a stretch of Jog Road in WPB that has five Baptist churches in a row, literally right next door to one another.
     
  9. annsni

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    Finding a good church would be a priority for us in searching for a home. So proximity to work and to church would be the deciding factor.

    What would I look for? This is the list, I think:

    * solid Bible teaching
    * Biblically sound leadership
    * caring family atmosphere
    * good worship
    * strong youth
    * well cared for facility (not needing to be fancy but at least patch holes in the walls and clean stains in the carpet)
    * small groups
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    The BIGGEST mistake people make is joining a church too quickly. It takes time - lots of time - to get to know a church, its people, the elders and preaching/teaching style.

    I would never jump into joining a church without examining in detail a hundred aspects, PLUS of course considering other churches in the area.

    We've had folks come to our church and "love" the service, style and people. Just what they "were searching for", they say. We always ask them to wait a while - for us to get to know THEM as well as vice versa.

    Few actually ARE a "fit".
     
  11. glfredrick

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    My wife and I have moved 7 times in 15 years -- sometimes as pastor of a church, sometimes as members seeking a church. It is ALWAYS difficult and NO church will ever be like the one where you grew up (supposing that you did grow up in a church) and loved.

    I am at odds with Dr. Rice's statement... What an anti-missional thing to say!

    If there is no church in an area then it is decidedly ripe for one and someone ought to be about the business that Christ gave us and start one!

    How to find a good fit? I'm still not sure, for I've yet to find the perfect church, and if it was perfect when I found it, I'm sure it is no longer after I become part of it. I don't know how everyone else on this board lives, but in our world today, people are transient and finding a new congregation with which to unite will happen to most of us. I would suggest making it a matter of prayer over personal preferences, for one can grow to love almost anything in a church as long as God is in the process, and grow to hate almost everything in a church if He is not.
     
  12. Salty

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    Dr Bob, what would you recommend as a reasonable time before joining?
     
  13. MamaCW

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    My husband and I drive about 65 miles to our church..yes there are other IFB churches much closer.. However, we love our church, our church family, and our pastor and his family. It makes the drive worth it..but we've decided to move closer to the church once we can afford to buy a house...

    I definitely agree with Mr Lamb's response about doing your homework first before making the decision where to move. With 15 baptist churches, i'd narrow down the list by going on their websites, as he stated :)

    also! Most churches have podcasts of the services! I'd listen to the sermons too!
     
    #13 MamaCW, Mar 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2011
  14. Gina B

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    I've been through this a number of time. The difference with the last one was that this time, I had a husband to make the decision with. He had already been in the area and had a church so we went there for a short while. Alarms went off in my head immediately...it was a massive church, inner city, with very little racial diversity. That seemed odd. Then my girls, who I raised to believe in "equal but different" started having some problems. One wanted to be in the main service with me but they refused to let her out of class, told she wasn't allowed. Later they said "well, we thought she was a bus kid." They based that on the fact that she was wearing slacks. The girls continually came home very upset over some new comment made about women's places and the way they seemed to be trying to indoctrinate them with the idea that men hold a higher, more important status in life.

    I find that unbiblical.
    In the meantime I too was struggling with some of the stuff being taught. I'd been in a similar "strict" IFB church and had ran from it like the wind after a while. I ended up in another IFB church that was like a breath of fresh air, where I learned and grew in Christ. Beautiful!

    So hubby and I discussed these things and decided to go meet with the pastor. I had hoped it would straighten out some misperceptions I may have had but the meeting didn't end on a good note, Sundays were MISERABLE to wake up too, so the search for a new place began.

    We went to a new place every Sunday and Wednesday for over a month. Some were automatic "nuh uh's" and others we revisited. Most we looked for were some form of Baptist, many IFB ones. Hubby leans more toward the type of place where worship is more inward and not reflected outside and doesn't mind the preacher getting all worked up. I'm more the type to cry if someone tries to teach me by yelling at me, doesn't work...and I'm more outwardly expressive in my worship.
    While those things are not biblical mandates, they did still affect how each of us felt and related to the messages and with so many choices, why attend a place where one of us was uncomfortable?
    We just didn't seem to feel any spiritual guidance towards anywhere.
    But we both have the same beliefs, and no matter what else, the place had to be solidly based on the Bible and not a theological mess. That came first.
    Then we went to visit a place that didn't even have a church home. The service we went to was held in a funeral parlor. LOL Then we visited again at the next place they held a service at. By that time I was getting very frustrated with it all and I do NOT do well without a church home. I walked in angry and ready to have it just be one more place we didn't belong. I wasn't going to listen or care what they said, I was tired of it and didn't think anyplace would happen.

    Enter the Holy Spirit. Took me about five minutes to break.
    Case closed.
    The feeling was mutual and it's been our church home since.
    We didn't even know they were building a new facility, let alone that the new facility was right next to where we live. I've always thought it would be awesome to be able to walk to church and have it be an immediate part of the community rather than a place we drive a ways to with no immediate community connections. So that was amazing to find out later!

    Before that I just went to every church around, no matter the name, and waited for the Holy Spirit to tell me where to stay. Always worked then too. For some reason it also always ended up being a baptist church save one. When I first became a believer I was hooked on asking all kinds of info, researching, blah blah, then figured out that leaning on the Spirit is a much better way to do things. One time that was scary because I'd only walked in two minutes before I got the "you're home" message. I had no clue what they taught, they could've been snake handlers for all I knew, but denying the Spirit never works out well for me (and I've tried) so I followed and was blessed with an awesome church family.
     
  15. michael-acts17:11

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    There is no "reasonable" timeframe in which to find a church. It borders on legalistic to put a time limit on how long another person should take to find a new church home. It is foolish to rush into such a decision.
     
  16. Salty

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    I fully agree - but, lets say someone takes five years to find a church, as opposed to Someone who only takes one week - both have made bad decisions. When asking for a "reasonable" time frame is more of a general guide - and is not legalistic.
     
  17. Gina B

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    Five years is pretty much inexcusable. I'd say around 3 months MAXIMUM. No church is going to be perfect so some things will have to be dealt with.
    If there's honestly no church that teaches the basics correctly then move. Seriously. Go broke and stay in a shelter while you have to while you're waiting.
    I take having a community of believers to associate with very seriously. Church is a loose term. A group of five families meeting in a home is just as much a church as a fancy building with 5,000 members.

    There are very remote places where people go live by themselves but that's a different story. The vast majority of people in the United States don't do that so the vast majority have no excuse for not meeting with other Christians.
     
  18. Salty

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    We had a family vist our church a week ago. They moved from the Rochester,NY area - about 100 miles away -2 hr drive.

    They have been visiting churches for the past 18 + months - the Mrs said they are trying to find a Baptist church just like their last one.....

    No, they did not come back this past Sunday.
     
  19. gb93433

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    Certainly do not do any missions there because it might affect the people for Christ. Who would ever want a Bible believing church in any town that does not already have one?
     
  20. drfuss

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    If I moved into a new area and found the church I planned on making my church home, I would not consider joining the church for at least 3 months, maybe up to a year. I would try to sit in on a business meeting and get a copy of their statement of faith as well as their constitution and bylaws.

    I would be there long enough to see how narrow their beliefs were and if they preach against or misrepresent other beliefs.
     

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