“Is there a grace church like yours near me?”
That has been the most common question asked from online readers of this site for years.
My most common response to it is, “Not likely. There are none near you that I know about or can recommend. Best stay home. Let me help you get one started.” Some of you have received this response.
This shocks some people, and others think I should recommend other churches even if they don’t have completely sound doctrine.
There are two ways to read the question that may help explain why I respond the way I do.
Are You Starving?
Some might read the question as if it is coming from a starving man asking for food. For a man about to die it doesn’t matter if he eats something from McDonald’s, leftovers, or watered down slop (see the prodigal son Luke 15:16). He just needs sustenance to get by.
Lost in the desert, water does not need to be imported and bottled from the Swiss Alps. People can survive on rain puddles.
Read this way, perhaps I should suggest the closest denominational church, whatever it may be. It may be slop in comparison, but at least their picture of Jesus on the wall is better than nothing, right?
If there were a dispensational church in the area, though it be Baptist, perhaps I should point them in that direction so at least they can get some milk, even if it is skim milk that tastes watered down.
If there is a church that recognizes in their statement of faith that Paul is the apostle of the Gentiles, then that is like a Big Mac with fries! I should tell them to run to the local McDonald’s with the children’s playpen, because at least they are serving all beef patties! We won’t mention the things that will eventually clog their arteries.
When I tell people there are none I can recommend, I don’t take this approach. They are shocked, but they ought not be.
Dying from Junk Food
The other way to read the question is as someone who is tired of junk food, slop, and gristle. They want a change of diet.
Most people are intrigued by our church, because it is not serving junk food and that is what they have been eating their whole life from religion and church.
What I hear them asking is, “Can you recommend a place near me that serves nutritious and delicious meals, because I care about the clarity of truth and my spiritual growth.”
In our culture there are fast food restaurants everywhere, and they are a dime a dozen. (McDonald’s is now in Vatican city.) Even the more expensive restaurants don’t always serve for your health, but for your money. I speak of churches, too.
If someone has internet access, they are not starving. For them the option is never between one of hundreds of churches in your town or nothing at all. It is never McDonald’s or nothing. Everyone with the internet eats, no one with a smartphone is starving. It is what they are eating that is killing them.
There are hundreds of churches near you, and if I recommend most of them I might as well say, “do you want fries with that?”
When I respond to inquiries that do not live near a church that teaches the Bible without error, Christ with every deity attribute, and boldly proclaims the mystery of Christ revealed to Paul, I tell them that they should stay away from the fast food places. It is better to eat at home.
I read the question as someone who sincerely wants to change their diet. My suggestion: stay away from places that will tempt you to fall off the wagon.
Get a plan. Eat pure food. You’ve already started by getting it delivered to your house from this website. You can save time and money by learning to cook for yourself.
Learning to Cook
Christians have the idea that going to any church is better than not going to church at all. This is looking at the issue like a starving man, and the only place you can eat is Taco Bell. You are not starving! How do I know? You are visiting this site.
You have a Bible in your hands. It is food for you. In it are the words of life (1 Thess 2:13). Nations, states, and towns were built from the power in that book.
Wrong churches abound because people show up thinking there is nowhere else to find food on Sunday morning. You don’t have to go to junk food restaurants! You have a kitchen! You have tools! You have the Bible!
Staying away from sub-par churches is not a death sentence from spiritual hunger. This is as ridiculous as saying that unless I go to the local pizza joint three times a week, I am going to die of physical hunger.
The question comes from people with Bibles in their hands. They come carrying fresh food in their hands asking where they can find fresh food being prepared in there area. My thought is always, “are you inviting me to dinner?”
Spiritual food does not need to come from someone in a cleric’s robe served from behind a pulpit. Your meal does not need to be received in a paper sack with a straw cup. You can serve yourself at home with the meat locker you carry in your Bible.
I hear the question like someone who likes my wife’s cooking. They might say, “This is great, where can I find this back where I live?” It would be an insult to my wife to say, “Any chain restaurant near you can do just as good.”
No! The proper response should be, “Sorry, you can’t find it there, she’s one of a kind, but here is the recipe.”
If you don’t know how to cook, you will need to learn the basics. You don’t have to create a feast, just dinner. It’s part of growing up. (I am still talking about churches, right?)
If you don’t have a mid-Acts Pauline dispensational Bible believing church like Grace Ambassadors near you, then it will take some effort to change your diet. Learning how to rightly divide is learning how to use your kitchen tools to create delicious nutritious food.
Good Food Starts At Home
Good food starts at home. Inevitably, the best restaurants started out of someone’s grandma’s kitchen with real food from her own garden. The same goes for churches.
Stay home and prepare lessons for your family instead of settling for slop. Once you are adept at preparing at home, invite your neighbors and friends to eat with you. Teach them, too.
This is how churches get started. Someone says, “other people need to taste this.” They stand fast on the purity of the truth of God’s words. Pure food. Good food. Right food. Food that nourishes and grows men in truth.
The foundation of healthy churches is healthy families, and healthy families come from what they eat at home. (By ‘eat’, I mean ‘Bible study’, in case you didn’t pick it up.)
You can’t find truth in just any church. You need a properly functioning church that teaches right doctrine. I love good food, and you are asking my recommendation. If you want something less, if you want comfort food, open a phone book and order a pizza.
Right churches get started by people who can’t stand to eat anything less. Starting a grace church in your area may be as easy as staying home and walking to your kitchen table.