It is the unfortunate truth that at times the church is going to be faced with those members that are in greater need of spiritual clarity in regards to the doctrine and practices of the church.
1 Timothy 4:1
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”
In this article I will examine how the church documents should be used in regards to members in need.
Why are they members in need and not in trouble?
Often the view of church discipline is centered around the idea of excluding members that stray. However, scripture is clear that the purpose of church discipline is to assist the member not to push the member away. If church discipline is not being done in love and care then it is not being done correctly. These members are truly in need of a saving from the things of this life.
“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
If they needed saving when they were added to the church then we should not be surprised that at times members will still need saving while in the church.
Back to the Articles of Faith
One of the first things that a member in need may be missing is a reminder of the basic truths of the church. The world we live in is filled with trials and tribulations and the simpleness of God and his love often get lost in all the things of the world. When a member is in need they begin to stray off and try to fill the holes of their life with more and more of the world. Through counsel and love we should direct them back to the basic truths and remind them that service to the Lord is often the best and only way to fill the gaps in their life. This is not to say that they need to be baptized again but rather that they need to again find the joy they once had in the love of Christ and his church.
Hope in the Church Covenant
Another aspect of helping a member in need is reminding them anew of the love of the congregation towards them. As a church we often become caught up in the things of life and do not have contact with one another during the week. We see each other on Sunday, worship and fellowship with one another, and are strengthened for another week. However, for a member in need that may not be enough to get them through. In that case we should assist the member in need by making the church covenant come alive for them. Church members should seek out contact with the member in need during the week and surround them in love. The covenant is a promise between members, and we need to make sure that promise is alive and well.
As a Final Measure
As a final measure it is at times necessary to take disciplinary action towards a member. This action never changes the love a church family holds for the member in need, but it has reached a point that their actions will no longer allow them to be a member. In these cases the Rules of Decorum should guide the actions of the church. Orderly processes should be employed and Godly conduct should be observed. These are sad times in a church, but hope should prevail that the member in need will come back to a Godly walk allowing them to be reunited with the church in the future.
We should always make sure that the church is active in the lives of the members, and supporting of those in the greatest need.
May the Lord Bless you this week!