The Result of Church Discipline

 

On Sunday we had to the final step of Matthew 18:15-17. It was a painful thing to do to a person who is deeply loved by everyone in the church. After several attempts at trying to bring the person to repentance we were left with no other choice. I got to tell you the thought of getting up in front of the congregation and letting them know what is happening was one of the hardest things I have ever done in ministry. It wrecked me for a couple of days before and afterwards. What surprised me were the results of doing it.

Our congregation’s response floored me. I was overwhelmed with the responses of the people and how it affected them. I learned three things from this experience that every congregation desires. They desire to be lead, fed, and protected.

First is that every congregation wants to be lead. I know leadership is a huge topic in the church but I am not talking about vision here. People want to be lead through difficult times. They want their leader to take the reigns and lead them through the confusion, hurt, and questions. Leaders who slip into the background in these situations lose the trust of their people. Although it is difficult and attacks of fear are constant it is necessary for you to do it.

Secondly people want to be fed. I know you know I am not talking about physical food. What they want is God’s word explained to them and shown how to apply to their lives. As I went through Matthew 18:15-17 with our congregation they saw it played out in real life. This teaches them how to handle conflict, sin, and forgiveness in their lives.

Finally people want to be protected. They want to know their leaders is going to go to war for them and protect them from false teaching, people in blatant unrepentant sin, and situations that cause strife. This is the weakest area I see in most pastors. By nature we are not confrontational but Colossians 1:28 says we are to warn our people. This means we need to call people on their sin. When we do this our congregation feels safe and secure.

In just the short time since Sunday I have noticed all three of these results in play at our church. I lost count how many people thanked me for being a strong leader (even though at the moment I wasn’t feeling too strong). You could also notice distinct feeling of community after the services. This only comes when people understand God’s word and feel safe in the community they are in. Pastor please don’t be afraid to Lead, Feed, and Protect your congregation.

7 replies
  1. Bill Walden
    Bill Walden says:

    Chuck,

    God bless you for being courageous to do this. The church will greatly respect you, and will feel well led, and protected.

    I had to do this publicly about 12 years ago. The disfellowshipped brother repented publicly, we welcomed him back publicly, and he is now on staff as an assistant pastor.

    I am blessed to be able to share that “success” story.

    Blessings Chuck…..
    Whatever we bind on earth, will have been bound in Heaven.

    Reply
  2. Bill Holdridge
    Bill Holdridge says:

    Chuck,

    What a blessing it is to hear about the fellowship’s response, just like the response to God’s discipline in the church in Acts 5. A purifying takes place, leaven is removed, a healthy fear of God comes upon the people … it’s all good.

    Now the Lord is free to deal directly with the errant believer(s), as they are without the bubble of protection afforded by their connection to the bride of Christ.

    Well done.

    Bill

    Reply
  3. Mike Neglia
    Mike Neglia says:

    Hey Chuck,
    It’s great to read this article, because, as you know, we publicly named someone the week prior to you. I found the response to be very similar. The congregation repeatedly thanked myself and the other elders for taking this difficult step. They knew that it was not rushed into quickly or lightly, and they were glad to be a part of the church that took the words of Jesus seriously.
    I hope for restoration, as I know you do too. Thanks Bill for your encouraging account of restoration.
    We look forward in faith to the day when the prodigal son will return. We want to throw a big party and celebrate his return.
    “it is fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is now alive, he was lost and is found.” – Luke 15:32

    Reply
  4. Jeff Jackson
    Jeff Jackson says:

    Chuck,

    Brother, I’m totally on board with you and BLESSED to hear how things unfolded. In my opinion, the unwillingness of most local churches to practice church discipline is one the KEY reasons the church is regarded no differently than the Rotary club, a softball league team, or the local P.T.A. God set the example of taking sin seriously early on, remember Ananias and Sapphira? To me, the attitude expressed in Acts 5:13 by those outsiders who came to know of what happened within “that” group of Jesus followers, is something almost completely unheard of today.

    Thanks for being willing to share a real life example Chuck.

    Jeff

    Reply

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