Whenever a newcomer is making a choice of where to worship in a community, there are many factors to be considered. However, if I am the one making the choice, I am going to be looking at four traits:
I want to worship with a congregation who is serving God with a whole heart. No half-hearted, going-through-the-routine, no-fire-in-the-bones work for me! I want to be with people who are really committed to the Lord. “I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee” (Psalm 138:1). I want doers and not hearers only (James 1:22).
I want to know that the people with whom I worship have one place on their mind — going to heaven. Churches of our day focus on everything from politics to recreation to food. This is the social gospel not the gospel of Christ. I want to attend where people have their eyes set on the Bible. I want to hear sermons filled with Bible references and be a part of Bible classes that actually study the scriptures (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Peter 2:2).
I want to serve God along with people who have a mind set on excellence. Everything we do “in the name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17) reflects upon that name in one way or another. We either praise or insult the Lord by the things we do. The Lord deserves our very best efforts. Whether it is singing, praying, teaching, or encouraging we should always think in terms of doing our best for the Lord (Luke 9:62).
I suppose there will always be people who have the attitude, “Here am I, send somebody else” (cf. Isaiah 6:8). If I have my choice, I want to be with people who are willing to accept personal responsibility and show initiative (Acts 8:4). There is something good about a person who recognizes a duty and then faithfully goes about discharging rather than wait on someone else.
Inasmuch as we will grow in these areas, we will become an attractive alternative to the social gospel. These are traits that will please God. They will help us grow spiritually and numerically. Let your mind meditate on them!