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There are so many different Christian denominations.
How can I know which one is right?

By Tommy Reid

Variety is the spice of life. Thank God everything is not the same. We enjoy the different seasons, colors, styles of clothing and music. We enjoy variety because each of us is different.

I love a two-passenger sports car with a convertible roof; my wife prefers our rather homely but practical van. Just because everything is the same does not make it good. And because things are different is not a sign of lack of quality or unity.

So it is with the great variety of churches. Denominations have emerged for legitimate reasons. Some of them have been created because of ethnic roots, such as the Dutch Reformed Church or the Scottish Presbyterian Church. Others have emerged out of the need for reformation and change. The reformed movements have brought needed healing not only to those who created a new group, but also to those who remained faithful to the original denomination.

God created a variety of expressions of our common faith. All of us can find a house of worship that fits our personality as well as our individual needs.

If you are searching for a good church home, here are a few questions to ask that will help you find a church that fits your needs:

1. Is the doctrine and belief of the church orthodox (true to the Bible’s teaching)? Determine this by asking if that church believes in the deity of Christ and adheres to the doctrinal criteria expressed by both the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds. Does the church present a balanced perspective on the person and work of the Holy Spirit?

2. Does the church minister to my family with various programs?

3. Does the style of worship provide an expression that makes me feel comfortable, yet at the same time makes me stretch to learn more of the universality of the Christian faith? (You need not only to feel comfortable, but also feel challenged to enlarge your world.)

4. Is there an expression of the presence of God in the services of the church? Does that church bring an adequate balance between what I feel in worship, and at the same time establish a rational credibility for the experience I have just found in God?

There is a church near you that provides a balance between the emotional and spiritual expression of revival movements and the rational understanding of the Scriptures. There is a church that provides musical expressions you prefer — linking the church to the contemporary community, as well as teaching you to enjoy the wonder of our heritage. There is a church that provides teaching that is orthodox and bases its message on the Word of God, while giving biblical guidelines for contemporary day-to-day living.

These guidelines will help you find the church that’s right for you.

Tommy Reid is pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle (Assemblies of God) in Orchard Park, N.Y.

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