A Church You'd Never Leave

Some News You Can Use from Shelby Center

What is one thing you can expect from someone who professes to believe God and the gospel? Change.

The gospel is both life-giving and life-changing and our mission is making it visible and accessible.

Here’s our challenge. Can we build a church that creates a community that is biblically literate and genuinely Christian – one you’d never want to leave?

With discipleship and some discipline, we can and should.

As we embark on our mission to engage others with the gospel and teach them how to live as followers of Jesus Christ, we’ll regularly be introduced to four kinds of attenders:

1) Those who believe and evidence a changed and changing life (2 Cor. 5:17).

2) Those investigating and evaluating the claims of the gospel but not yet believers (1 Cor. 14:24-25).

3) Those who profess to believe but do not manifest a life progressing in holiness (Phil. 2:12-16).

4) Those who profess to believe but openly rebel and engage in sinful practices (Tt. 1:15-16).

Those in 1-3 can be helped through discipleship (bible and life instruction). But those in open rebellion may require discipline and even removal until they repent of misrepresenting the gospel (From 1 Cor. 5:9-13):

Sinful lifestyles (not stumbles) that warrant removal include sexual sin (pornography); greed (materialism); image / idol worship; abusive /rude / unscrupulous speech; habitual intoxication; aggressive greed / price gouging.

Believers need guidance and space to grow (discipleship). Biblical literacy and authentic Christianity take time.

When professing believers exhibit holy advancement and humble accountability the church flourishes.

But when one’s attendance, action, or attitude persists contrary to true faith and good testimony, in love we discipline.

 “One sinner destroyeth much good”: The active sinner OR how we address the sin and situation:

•Pray and consider the spiritual condition and life circumstances of the offender. Are they saved / lost; mature / immature; humble / haughty; making amends / unrepentant; is this a lifestyle or a stumble?

• Consider yourself. Are you guilty of some unrepentant sin? How would you want it to be handled?

• Has diligent, unbiased inquiry determined the facts, validity, and nature of the offense / offender?

• What does the scripture (in context) say / instruct about this? What is the biblical remedy?

• Is it a matter that can be dismissed? Is it a matter of discipline or can it be better handled in discipleship?

• Is this offense of a private, semi-private, or public nature? Who is/will be affected by their/our actions?

• Can I approach them safely, discreetly, and graciously in private or do I involve a trusted counselor?

• If still private / semi-private, we seek to keep it that way while seeking a Christ honoring resolution.

• If unresolved after reasonable time and effort, include one or two objective people to observe/judge.

• When an individual(s) refuses to cooperate, church leadership gets informed/involved.

• If an individual(s) remains uncooperative they may be excluded from fellowship at and outside church: No companionship, privileges, Communion, attendance… but treat them respectfully (2 Th. 3:11-16).

• The goal is restoration but the path to getting there may require temporary or long-term exclusion.

Remember our challenge and remain on mission:
Be a church of authentic believers who make the gospel visible and accessible in such compelling community that no one seeking or believing would want to be excluded or relocate.

We’re on our way and rising to the occasion. We’re a ministry in tension because we’re in the mission of making biblically literate followers of Jesus: All being discipled, and when necessary, some disciplined.

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