Well, like any church, there are questions you need to ask before committing to such a body. Perhaps, because it’s messianic and vulnerable to off-kilter teaching and practices, such questions are even more important before you become mired in an unpleasant situation.
After spending 12 years in a couple different congregations, here are some questions I’d suggest asking of the leadership.
- Who are you accountable to? Who are those persons accountable to?
- What is the leadership structure? Is power invested in one person?
- Is there an umbrella organization governing or in some type of relationship with the congregation? If so, what type of relationship is there between you and the larger organization’s leadership?
- What led you to become part of the messianic movement?
- Who teaches you or where have you learned from? (Then research those teachers.)
- What do you think about believers who aren’t messianic? Are they sinners/pagans/heretics because they don’t keep Sabbath, dietary laws, wear tzitzit? Are they to be avoided? Judged? Evangelized? Do you believe their theology is pagan? Do you believe messianics are superior in their grasp of biblical truth?
- What do you think about the Jewish people and Jewish tradition?
- What are the requirements of membership in this local body? What reasoning led to those requirements? Are some aspects of Scripture emphasized over others in the requirements (e.g., are beards or pronunciation of the sacred name emphasized over doing good deeds)?
- How is the congregation structured financially? Who has a say in expenditure of those finances?
- How do you handle disagreements?
- How far and in what ways do you believe your authority extends into members’ homes?
I’ll be offering what I think are the types of answers you should be looking for. In the meantime, I’d love to see you offer your own questions.