“I can’t find a solid church”

I recently received an email that has become a common heart cry for those hungry sheep who are not being fed a solid diet of pure milk and meat of Scripture:

“I am finding it difficult to find a congregation in my area that is not filled with compromise. I currently attend a Vineyard church where the ministries have adopted programs and teachings of Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, and others. I want to leave without rocking the boat, but where do I go? I’ve visited other churches, but find doctrinal issues with them also. I have been saved for years, but only recently have learned to discern, thanks in part to your ministry. Please give me some guidance.”

When I get letters like these, I am so saddened that the visible church has taken a worldly, carnal direction. At the same time, I am encouraged that God is opening the eyes of His children who love Him and seek to learn in truth and spirit from those who rightly handle His Word.

Here is part of my response to this dear person who wrote that letter. It’s advice I’ve given many:

“Leaving is not easy. You could leave without saying anything, but I think you must. It doesn’t have to be a big meeting, but a short letter letting them know of your painful decision and your love for them. Then let them know specifically which things prompted your decision.

It’s not likely leadership will listen, but at least you’ve done your part.  And this is important: God has opened your eyes for His glory, and your new mission field is the dear ones who are still attending your soon-to-be former church. Many of them will reject you, but there will likely be a few who are growing uncomfortable and will hear.”

If you are in the same boat, let me encourage you. Finding a new church that doesn’t compromise isn’t as hard as it might seem, although these are becoming rare. The good news is that they’re still out there. You may need to drive more than 30 minutes to a church that teaches the Word without compromise.

There are some good church-finder tools online, but it helps to first study the Word diligently to clarify what kind of doctrinal distinctives best suit you. For instance, I would stay far away from charismatic churches that do not hold to Sola Scriptura. Almost all of them are leaning NAR now, or are full-blown into it.
Some of the sound church finders helping you search by zip code are found here. Try them all and see if you can find a good fit.
Once you find a church that looks promising, keep in mind that your research is now just beginning. Start by checking out the website of this church, but keep in mind that even a solid statement of faith can (and often is) be copied and pasted – then ignored when it comes to the actual teaching. Listen to the sermons, if they are available. Then browse the site to see if there are other telltale red flags or signs that you should keep looking. (Female “pastors” on staff, books from false teachers being studied in the men’s and women’s ministries, etc.)
Visit a few times and ask questions. (See, Church Shopping? 35 Key Questions to Ask the Church. More resources below.
In the meantime, because this does take time, fill your soul with good podcasts and livestreams of trusted pastors who rightly handle God’s Word.
God bless you in your search.
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