Return to Blog List

What If There Are No Healthy Churches Near Me?

Author: Geoff Ashley Category: General, Theology

Every believer needs to be a member of a local church. This is a biblical reality for God’s glory, the edification of the community and the encouragement of your own soul.

But what if there are no healthy churches near you?

Here are a few encouragements:

  • Pray, asking the Lord to provide what He has commanded.
  • Commit to visiting every church in your community. You cannot claim there are no healthy churches near you if you haven’t put in the time and effort to find out.
  • Pray more.
  • Live missionally in recognizing that your situation is similar to that of a foreign missionary. Pray that the Lord would bless the harvest and send you fellow workers for the work of evangelism, exhortation and encouragement for His name’s sake.
  • Pray again.

While there will be those in contexts without a gospel-centered church present, it would be helpful to re-evaluate the definition and vision of a healthy, sound and faithful church.

Are there really no faithful churches, or are you looking for something beyond faithful? Are you looking for a specific dynamic or charismatic personality to preach and lead in worship? Are you looking for not just good preaching, but great preaching? Are you looking for not just gospel-centrality, but to be led by someone who is writing a book on gospel-centrality?

To process through these questions, ask yourself the following:

  • What are the essentials for a faithful local church according to the Scriptures?
  • What are my comments, criticisms and concerns regarding local churches in my area?
  • How are these comments, criticisms and concerns judged in the light of the Scriptures?
  • Am I willing to sacrifice negotiable preferences for the sake of the kingdom? In what areas?

If there are truly no other churches, you have a couple of options. Both of which are difficult:

  • Move. This is actually somewhat common. A number of families uprooted from unchurched and dechurched areas to DFW just to unite with The Village, and I know of similar trends in other churches.
  • Start a church. This road is paved with difficulties, but it too needs to be considered. This church doesn’t need a website and building, but it does need elders/pastors, church discipline, regular gatherings and frequent participation in the sacraments.

Recommended Resources

For more on the importance of the local church in sanctification, consider this video from Desiring God.