The Internet's Best Practices for Ministry

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Welcoming Guests and First Impressions

The sermon starts in the parking lot, and the impression you make for your guests on Sunday morning during the first 10 minutes will be indelible.

Technology and The Church

Leveraging technology for ministry can be an incredible blessing. But it can also be fraught with problems and pitfalls. Learn how to use technology well.

Vision and Leadership

Our God longs for leaders to request of Him to do that which they cannot. Faith filled vision, leadership and risk are key ingredients for ministry.

Preaching and Communication

You know and understand how challenging it is to communicate. It is hard to get and capture people's attention. Learn how to communicate effectively.

Creativity and Innovation

Being creative means asking the right questions and making new associations. Discover new and creative ideas for your ministry.

Email Is Still King


Even though there are now so many channels for ministry leaders to communicate, such as Facebook, Texting and Twitter - no communication tool has yet to unseat email.  Yes, email isn't cool and it seems so last decade, but email still is the primary and preferred means of communication for people in your church and ministry.  Email is unavoidable. The question then becomes - how do I manage and use email in order for me to be the most productive.

Getting Inside The Millennial Mind


As you think, pray, plan and work strategically toward reaching out and ministering to this demographic within your church and ministry, perhaps these trends and stats included in this inforgraphic may help you, your leaders and your staff.


(ht: Scarborough)

Porn In The Church - Infographic

- this infographic is cross-posted and developed in coordination with PornFreedomNOW.com

A Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event. Porn isn't just a problem "out there", it is running rampant within the church - from the people in the pews all the way to the person in the pulpit

We must be willing as Christ's church to bring this issue into the light in order to address it and not let shame or denial create silence.

For online help for internet porn - for you, your family and your church - visit Covenant Eyes.

5 Strategic Fails Of Making Disciples


Information doesn't guarantee transformation. Information alone doesn't change people. If it does, what's our excuse? (Because never before in the history of the church has it been sooo resourced.) There's been a big disconnect between the head and the heart. Discipleship isn't merely about information download. Too often we have treated discipleship like a classroom. But Jesus didn't disciple in a classroom. It was life on life. With life on life spiritual investment comes true, meaningful and real spiritual transformation.

Never equate longevity with maturity. It is possible to be in the church a long time but not have increasing evidence of Jesus' indwelling. Any congregation can become a spiritual club, where graytops are merely infants in diapers. I heard a friend say that too many people in the church suffer from the Sponge Bob problem - they just come to church to sit and soak. If that is all people do, they will never grow. Spiritual transformation is never passive.

The measurement of discipleship is merely obedience.  This statement by itself is false, although obedience and life transformation is certainly a part of spiritual growth.  Yes it is true that discipleship isn't merely about "knowing", but we must be "applying", otherwise it falls short.  But I would add this qualifier - we don't want obedience stemming from legalism, but rather a person whose heart and life is captured by the love of the gospel.

Personal charisma doesn't guarantee transformation. You can be a nice guy and still be a damned nice guy. Having spiritual manners -- even some spiritual sensitivity -- doesn't make you mature. Nice people are adept at fooling others. Of course it is true that external niceness doesn't necessarily indicate internal heart transformation. People can wear masks and be posers. Discipleship demands that we are willing to delve beyond external behavior and manners and get deep into matter of the heart.

Disciples aren't made effectively in classes. There's no way around it: time, time, more time. Coffee, coffee, more coffee. One conversation, then another. Classes are components but shouldn't be the main method. Disciples are made within the messiness of real life. There is no substitute for it. People want to see how faith intersects real issues, struggles and challenges in life. You can't teach that in a classroom.

(ht: Fresh Ministry Ideas)

10 Ways To Create Margin In Your Life


from the archives:

There is no escaping it, pastors and ministry leaders are busy people. And although much of that busyness may be justified - a leader must guard themselves from becoming burned out.

Here are 10 Ways to Create Margin In Your Life

1) Use all of your vacation days. You've got em - use em. You owe it to yourself and your family.
2) Protect your day off religiously.  On that day disconnect - no phone, no email
3) Don't schedule meeting back to back if you can help it.  If you do, you will feel ragged and rushed throughout your day.
4) Make sure that you delegate more responsibility.
5) Only check email during designated times during the day. A good rule of thumb is that is should usually take place at 10am and 3pm - basically mid-morning and mid-afternoon
6) Get up earlier in the morning.  Which conversely means you may need to go to bed early.
7) Put meetings with God and yourself in your schedule book.  Make sure you take extended times, like a day, with the Lord periodically.
8) Turn off the TV and/or the internet.
9) Learn how to say NO.
10) Exercise. You don't have enough time or energy NOT to work out.

(ht: Mark Batterson)

How To Move Members Into Ministry


by Chuck Lawless
(excerpted from Thom S. Rainer's blog)

Sam attends his church faithfully every Sunday, but he is not involved in doing ministry through his church. Others view Sam as a committed member simply because he is there every Sunday morning, and no one would dare question his faithfulness.

Yet, Sam is really doing nothing in his church. How do you move members like him into ministry? Here are some basic principles we learned in a study published in my book, Membership Matters.

1. Pray for Laborers
Jesus gave us clear guidelines for securing workers: pray for God to provide them (Luke 10:2). The fields, He said, are ready, but the workers are few.

My experience is that churches look for laborers, and they begin praying earnestly only after they’ve not been able to secure workers through their established processes. Is it possible we would have less difficulty enlisting workers if we started praying before recruiting?

I encourage churches to build praying for laborers into their DNA. The staff and church should pray not only for current workers, but also for potential workers. Prayer meetings should include a time of focused prayer for more workers, even when all the current positions are filled. God will provide the laborers if your church will follow His command to pray.

2. State Expectations Up Front
Here’s the primary reason church members don’t get involved: churches expect very little. One of the best ways to correct this problem is to state expectations in a membership class. Our study shows that churches with effective membership classes stress five expectations of members:
  • Identifying with the church (e.g., through public baptism)
  • Attending worship services and small groups
  • Serving in the ministry of the church
  • Giving financially toward the church’s work
  • Promoting unity in the church
Stating these expectations is no guarantee there will be no members like Sam in your church, but not clarifying expectations almost assures you will.

3. Have a Ministry Placement Process in Place
In the churches we studied, leaders had an intentional placement strategy. Those strategies included the SHAPE concept (Rick Warren), the DESIGN program (Wayne Cordeiro), BodyLife (John Powers), and Network (Willow Creek). These processes are built upon the assumption that God works through our life experiences, desires, spiritual gifts, personalities, and abilities to prepare us to serve in His church.

4. Recruit Face-to-Face
We asked laypersons in our study why they chose to get involved in their church’s ministry. Listen to the personal recruiting that their answers reflected:

“A minister spoke to me and challenged me to get active.”
“The Minister of Education sat me down and talked to me.”
“Two guys approached me and asked me [to serve].”

Leaders in the churches we studied did not recruit workers through bulletin board sign-ups, worship folder tear-offs, or pulpit announcements. Rather, they sought workers by challenging members face-to-face—the way Jesus recruited disciples. In most cases, a personal challenge and invitation made the difference.

5. Offer Entry-level Ministry Positions

6. Recognize and Affirm Workers

7. Don’t Give Up Easily


Read entire post at Thom S. Rainer's blog HERE

Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

Social Media And The Church - Infographic


Here is an infographic by Alan Witchalls which he put together during a recent workshop at the Growing Young Disciples conference in London. Alan put together an infographic to help people begin to understand the complexities of social media and how churches and/or ministries might engage with it.

click image to download in order to enlarge view of the smaller print

(ht: Alan Witchalls)

5 Reasons A Pastor Should Reconsider Leaving Their Church


Pastor are you facing what seems to be insurmountable challenges in your current church or ministry position? You may be tempted to throw in the towel and simply move on.  Although there may be a time and occasion to eventually do that...before you move ahead and make an irreversible decision, consider this counsel first.

adapted from Ben Simpson:

1. Your leaving should only be by the permission of God.
Paul told the Ephesian elders to “be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood,” (Acts 20:28). You have been called and placed by God where you are. Since this is true, it’s not up to you when to leave. He called you go there, and He will call you to leave there. Until then, stand and persevere.

2. Your leaving very well may cause you to miss something glorious that God is doing.
The 16th-century Reformers rallied around the slogan “after darkness, light.” Scripture and history prove that saying to be wise. It’s often the darkest of hours that precede glorious days of light. Stay put and rest in the sovereignty of God who “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” (Romans 8:28). Light is coming!

3. Your leaving could erode the trust of the sheep for the next shepherd.
Step back, and look at the long-term, big picture. What effect will your leaving have on the church for years to come?

4. Your leaving might say something about your pastoral motivation.
Jesus says that hirelings run away when the wolf appears (John 10:12). They are shepherding primarily for selfish reasons — what they can get out of it — and when the problems shows up, a quick cost-benefit calculation leads the hireling to decide that the sheep and the benefits aren’t worth the trouble of dealing with the wolf. “They don’t pay me enough to mess with that!” the hireling says. In contrast, Jesus wasn’t concerned about what He was getting, but whom He was serving. In fact, Jesus came not to be served but to be serve (Mark 10:45), and that caused Him to be willing to face the wolf even if it meant death. He was that concerned for the sheep! Is that same mentality in you? Ask yourself why you are pastoring and why you are thinking about leaving your flock. What motivation surfaces? Is it Christ-like?

5. Your leaving might be based on what you can do instead of what God can do.
We look at situations and say in our flesh, “it’s hopeless,” but is that declaration ever true in light of the God of the Bible? No way! We who walk by faith and not by sight say with Jeremiah, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, … nothing is too hard for You!” (Jeremiah 32:17). We often run away because we think that the problems are too much for us, the whole time being right but forgetting that God will face the challenges with us. Don’t base your decision to leave upon what you can do. Keep in mind what God, the one with whom all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), can do.

(ht: Ben Simpson)

6 Keys To A Productive Meeting


You and I know that meetings most often are the kiss of death to productivity.  Most meetings seem like a waste of time and don't apparently accomplish much.  Yet, it is important to be able to pull key decision makers together in order to accomplish the church's or ministry's key objectives.  Therefore the challenge is to DO MEETINGS WELL.  In order to do them well, every meeting has to have:

  • A leader
  • A stated purpose
  • A start and end time
  • A valid reason for each and every person to be there.
  • A clear set of notes on conclusions, plans and action items
  • A clear timetable for follow up on action items

Pastors And The Church - Infographic

Pastoral ministry has been under considerable change and flux these past 20+ years. Pastors face the pressures of growing their churches, preaching effective & engaging sermons, shepherding & caring for parishioner's needs and leading & casting a compelling vision for the church. Doing all that's required often times while underpaid, under-equipped, and overstressed.  The infographic below touches on some of those challenges that the modern day pastor faces in our culture.


Pressures Of Pastoral Ministry - Infographic


"Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could." - New York Times article on Pastoral Burnout

Financial Health Of MegaChurches In 2013


The number of megachurches is not declining. And based on these statistics below, they are financially healthier than non-megas. According to the most recent LifeWay Research economic impact survey, 22% of all churches reported giving below budget. Only 17% of megachurches expect giving to be below budget this year. Also, 70% of megachurches showed an increase in giving as compared to just 40% of all churches.  (ht: Ed Stetzer)

Gospel Renewal Preaching


From Tim Keller's Center Church. Chapter 6 from the book is called "The Work of Gospel Renewal." and in it Keller lists five characteristics that define preaching for gospel renewal. He explains all five in greater detail, but here is an overview:
  • Preach to distinguish between religion and the gospel
  • Preach both the holiness and the love of God to convey the richness of grace
  • Preach not only to make the truth clear but also to make it real
  • Preach Christ from every text
  • Preach to both Christians and non-Christians at once
(Center Church by Tim Keller, pages 77-79)

(ht: Steve )


Five Types Of Critics In The Church


from Thom Rainer:
All pastors and other church leaders have their critics. No leader in the church can escape the sting of criticism. Indeed, dealing with critics is one of the great challenges pastors have in ministry.

Though the pain of criticism cannot be removed, it can be handled constructively. One way to deal with the issue is to make every effort to understand the mindset of the critic. In doing so, church leaders can respond redemptively and pastorally. Take a look at these five types of critics.

1. The constructive critic. This person really wants what’s best for you and the church. He or she does not have a personal agenda or vendetta. Most have prayed about talking to you or writing you before confronting you. The best response is to listen, discern and, if necessary, make changes. The challenge is that it is often difficult to discern the voice of constructive words in the cacophony of other criticisms

2. The negligent critic. This person makes an offhand comment and does not think much of it. He does not realize that his words really stung you. He truly was not making the issue a personal matter. In my own leadership position, I have made critical comments that I did not realize were so hurtful. And I would have never known my error unless others had told me. It is likely that if you let these critics know of your hurt, they will be both surprised and remorseful.

3. The hurt critic. Pain is pervasive in our world, and church members are not exempt from it. From their pain, these critics often lash out at pastors in moments of deep frustration and anger. Unfortunately, pastors are often the most visible and convenient targets for the hurt and angry critic. If pastors can discern this mindset of these critics, they should have a twofold response. First, they shouldn’t take the criticism personally. Second, they should make every effort to respond with compassion, concern, and love.

4. The sinful critic.

5. The self-serving critic. 
Read whole post HERE

12 Things I Doubt Pastors Will Hear in Heaven

from Mike Leake:

I’d really hate to waste my life on things that aren’t significant. Occasionally it is good to step back and wonder about the types of the things you probably will not hear in heaven. So I imagine a scenario where someone that the Lord has called me to shepherd walks up to me in heaven and says, I sure wish that you’d have…

Here are 12 things I doubt would fill in that blank.

  1. I wish you’d have shown me more rapture charts 
  2. I wish you’d have told me steps to making more money 
  3. I wish you’d have prepared me for what heaven looks like 
  4. I wish you’d have settled those theological debates 
  5. I wish you’d have done funnier skits in our worship service 
  6. I wish you’d have pushed for a bigger building 
  7. I wish you’d have talked more about politics 
  8. I wish you’d have preached much shorter sermons 
  9. I wish you’d have worn ties (or cooler jeans for our postmodern crowd) 
  10. I wish you’d have given us better pop-culture references 
  11. I wish you’d have made our worship ambiance better and the transitions smoother 
  12. I wish you’d have spent the money to fix that pot-hole in the church parking lot 
I could probably keep going. Some of these things might be important and they might even be a means to serve and assist people in worship. But they are not ultimate. What I don’t want to fill that blank would be, “I wish you’d have pointed us to Jesus more. I wish you’d have prepared us for heaven better. I wish you’d have preached more to root out sin and unbelief. I wish you’d have encouraged us to lay down our idols more.” Those are the things I don’t want to hear.

What I do want to hear is the sweet and grace filled words of the Chief Shepherd, “well done good and faithful servant”.

(ht: Borrowed Light)

Pastors Who Know God


from Michael McKinley:

In Knowing God, J.I. Packer writes, under the heading “One can know a great deal about godliness without much knowledge of God”:
Whatever else might be said about this state of affairs, it certainly makes it possible to learn a great deal secondhand about the practice of Christianity. Moreover, if one has been given a good bump of common sense one may frequently be able to use this learning to help floundering Christians of less stable temperament to regain their footing and develop a sense of proportion about their troubles, and in this way one may gain for oneself a reputation for being quite a pastor. Yet one can have all this and hardly know God at all. (page 27)
I think he’s right. If you have some charisma and public speaking skills, it’s not too hard to be thought of as a great preacher. If you have a good library and head for books, you will probably be able to explain the Bible well and be thought of as a good teacher. If you are socially aware and observant, you may even prove to be a good counselor. But none of those things are proof that you actually know God.

So pastors should ask ourselves: what fuels my ministry? My skills and strengths? The things I know about God? Or a deep knowledge of God?

Packer suggests two things to those who desire this knowledge (page 32):

First, recognize how much we lack knowledge of God. “We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge about God, not by our gifts and responsibilities in the church, but by what we pray and what goes on in our hearts.” 
 
Second, seek the Savior. “It is those who have sought the Lord Jesus till they have found him – for the promise is that when we seek him with all our hearts, we shall surely find him – who can stand before the world to testify that they have known God.”
(ht: 9Marks)

Photo Credit: "†OnlyByGrace" via Compfight cc

7 Reasons Leaders Don't Delegate


As a leader, do you struggle with delegation? Delegation can be very tough for leaders. So why do some leaders fail to delegate? Here are seven reasons from Thom Rainer:

  1. Some are control freaks. They want to know all details. They are distrustful of others who might make decisions. They feel as if they have lost control of their positions if someone else gets involved in their work.
  2. Some are insecure. These leaders worry that they will be perceived as disposable if others do some of the critical work. Their lack of security often means that they will hoard assignments even if they do not get done.
  3. Some are lazy. They don’t want to take the time to equip and train others to do the tasks. They don’t realize that a little investment in someone else only makes their work more productive.
  4. Some don’t prioritize. If they did, they would make certain that the most important tasks were accomplished. Instead they often spend time on minutiae that makes little difference.
  5. Some can’t leave their comfort zones. They would rather do the things they’ve always done because they are comfortable doing so. If they delegated their routine tasks, they would have to move out of their comfort zones to take on new challenges.
  6. Some have analysis paralysis. If they or a subordinate take on a task, the leader wants to look at it from every angle. They are famous for preparing 80-page documents when six or seven pages would suffice. They think they are preparing for every contingency when such a feat is impossible.
  7. Some fear not getting the glory. This symptom is another facet of insecurity. The leader is fearful of letting go of anything if the result is someone else getting credit. Instead of being the type of leader who desires to see others become successful, he or she desires all the recognition. Such is a miserable existence that is doomed for failure.
(ht: ThomRainer.com)

The Key To Making Vision Statements Work



What makes a vision statement work? Why do some vision statements galvanize people toward great achievement while others cause your eyes to glaze over?

What all great vision statements have in common is they provide an answer to these three questions:

1) Destination: Where are we going?

2) Purpose: Why do we exist? What greater good do we serve?

3) Values: What principles guide our decisions and actions on our journey?

When a vision address all three of these questions, a tremendous amount of energy is unleashed. There is a higher level of commitment because employees are able to see the relationship between the direction of their company and what they personally believe in and care deeply about. Everyone is clear about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how their work contributes.

(Read rest of post HERE)

Most & Least Religious States


Mississippi remained the most religious state in the union in 2012, with 58% of its residents classified as very religious. At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont remained the least religious state, with 19% of its residents classified as very religious.  (read the whole report HERE)

What are the implications of this information for your church & ministry?

What Is Leadership?


Pastor John Piper is asked how he defines leadership. Also what does godly leadership look like? And what does it aim at achieve?

A Pastor's Story Of Bondage


In 2006 Joseph “Skip” Ryan resigned from the pastorate of Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas. It was then revealed that he was an opiate addict, in bondage to prescription pain medicines. His marriage was also falling apart as he and his wife became little more than roommates.

Below is their painful but hopeful story of forgiveness and humbling and repentance and restoration:


(ht: Justin)

Gospel-Centered Ministry


Watch this video from the Gospel Coalition, as Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian in New York talks about what ministry shaped by the gospel looks like. In this video, Dr. Keller fleshes out seven significant features of the gospel and how to use those features to make ministry effective.

 

Why Leaders Need To Be Online


If you are not present on the Internet, you simply do not exist, as far as anyone under thirty is concerned…[the digital world] is one of the most important arenas of leadership our generation will ever experience. If you are satisfied to lead from the past, stay out of the digital world. If you want to influence the future, brace yourself and get in the fast lane
-Albert Mohler, The Conviction To Lead

7 Qualities Of A Great Leader


There are certain identifiable qualities of highly competent and great leaders. As you lead others in your church and ministry -  Are you the kind of leader that is:

  • Treating the people you lead fairly, giving them the benefit of the doubt?
  • Publicly recognizing, praising and affirming those you lead?
  • Equipping and investing in your people spiritually?
  • Empowering your people to contribute, innovate and use their gifts? (avoid micro-managing)
  • Constantly providing honest and clear communication?
  • Providing clear and measurable expectations? 
  • Cultivating opportunities for them to lead on their own, building a future leader? (reproduce yourself)

The Importance Of Leading From Conviction


The leadership that really matters is all about conviction. The leader is rightly concerned with everything from strategy and vision to teambuilding, motivation, and delegation, but at the center of the true leader’s heart and mind you will find convictions that drive and determine everything else
-Albert Mohler, The Conviction To Lead

What Do You Call Your "Pastor"?

from Thom Rainer:

...As local congregations across America continue to experience significant changes, we are seeing the more common term of “pastor” declining in favor of more expanded, or even totally different, terms. And I am not even speaking of all the others who serve on a church staff. The multiple terms for those different roles seem unlimited.

If you spent your entire life in one denomination or fellowship, you may think the names used for church staff are uniform. The evidence, though, points to much variety...

....let’s take a moment and look at the different names for the leader of a congregation. 

  • Pastor – still the most common term, at least for now.
  • Senior pastor – typically is used when the church has more than one minister or pastor on staff. The senior pastor oversees the other staff members.
  • Lead pastor – most of the time this phrase is used synonymously with senior pastor.
  • Teaching pastor – in some churches, the name refers to someone who preaches or teaches in a primary worship service, but who is not the senior pastor. In other cases it is synonymous with senior pastor.
  • Preaching pastor – same as teaching pastor
  • Teaching elder – same as teaching pastor in the context of a plurality of leadership.
  • Preaching elder – pretty much the same as teaching elder.
  • Vision pastor – already located this term in several churches; in all cases it is synonymous with senior pastor.
  • Campus pastor – typically used in churches that have more than one location. This person has leadership over one of those locations.
  • Minister – see pastor.
  • Teaching minister – see teaching pastor.
  • Preaching minister – see preaching pastor.
  • Bishop – in some cases it is synonymous with senior pastor; in other cases it is used to describe a leader over pastors in multiple congregations.
Any pastoral names/titles missing?  Does the title we use to identify the "pastor" really matter? Or does it?

The Greatest Impact To Church Growth



by John MacArthur

What is the single greatest contributor to the impact, growth, success, and stability of a church? Some people might tell you it’s having a gifted pastor—someone who can rightly divide the Word of God, and do it in an engaging, enlightening, and entertaining way. Other people might tell you the most important thing is the music—you’ve got to engage people’s emotions through song and sound to keep them coming back for more.

Or maybe the key is to have friendly greeters and hospitable church staff to make people feel welcome. Or perhaps the success of your church depends on the quality of your Sunday school classes, your children’s ministries, or the in-home Bible studies. Some people might even tell you it comes down to the quality of the coffee you serve.

While every one of those aspects can figure into the popularity of your church, none of them guarantees biblical success like church discipline. You read that correctly—when it comes to growing a godly, biblical church, puritymust be the first priority.

Purity was Christ’s first priority with the disciples, as He laid the foundations of the church in His teaching. Matthew 18 is loaded with instructions and warnings about personal purity and how to keep sin out of the midst of God’s people, starting in verse 6 where Jesus said this:

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to a have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

That vivid, horrific imagery wasn’t lost on His disciples—it was a clear message that sin was not to be trifled with or tolerated.

Paul was just as clear with his exhortations to the church at Corinth, warning them he would deal firmly with their sin and “not spare anyone” (2 Corinthians 13:2).

The Lord takes the purity of His people seriously, and we need to reflect His priority in our local congregations. When I first began preaching at Grace Community Church, we didn’t practice church discipline—in fact, I’d never been to a church that did. It was a totally foreign concept to me, but Christ’s instructions in Matthew 18:15-17 are clear.


If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

I hadn’t seen it done before, but I became convinced it wasn’t optional—that we were compelled to be obedient to Christ’s model for church discipline.

At first, people told me it would kill the church—people wouldn’t put up with that level of scrutiny in their lives, and they’d find somewhere less invasive to worship. In fact, the opposite has happened—Grace Church hasthrived because God’s people take sin seriously and don’t tolerate it in their local congregation.

That’s because the purpose of church discipline isn’t to embarrass people by exposing their sin. On those occasions when the sinning man or woman refuses to repent and the elders need to bring the matter before the church, we don’t take any delight in that. We’re disappointed it’s gone that far, and we want to see the person repent before he or she has to be put out of the church altogether. We don’t do it because it’s fun—we do it because it’s the only way to keep sin from festering, taking root, and growing in our church.

We do it because it’s vital to the spiritual health and the testimony of the church. Ignoring church discipline is the most visible and disastrous failure of the church in our time, because it conveys to the world that we’re not really serious about sin.

(read whole post HERE)

What do you think? Does the church have a tendency to ignore church discipline? Or when we do it, do we do it properly?...to restore and call a person to repent?