As I look for an existing church to pastor, what should I look for in a church?

A number of factors might compel a man searching for a pastorate toward one church or another. But there are at least two factors that, from the standpoint of prudence, are non-negotiables:

  1. The church must believe the gospel. If a church doesn’t believe in the true, biblical gospel, it’s not a true church. Practically speaking, if a church doesn’t believe the same gospel you do, you will have irreconcilably conflicting views about what it means to be a Christian, the role of a pastor, the nature and purpose of the church, and countless other issues.
  2. The church must submit to the authority of Scripture. If a church won’t listen to God’s Word, they won’t listen to you. So an evangelical pastor should only seek to pastor a church that formally (in its confessional documents) and practically (in the lives of its members) submits to the authority of Scripture. This doesn’t mean that a church has to perfectly live out the implications of that submission—none of us do that. But it does mean that the church should be characterized by the profession and the intention of submitting to Scripture.