5 Lessons I Learned from a Pastor’s Betrayal (Part 4)

In March of 2014 I experienced a significant betrayal by a man who befriended me, infiltrated my church and stole my identity. This series of posts is a reflection on what the Lord has taught me through this heartbreaking experience. You can read the earlier posts here.

shepherd-in-wildernessEver since I was introduced to the concept of church discipline I’ve believed in it. After all, it’s pretty hard to to deny a doctrine that is so clearly taught in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-20). However, there is a big difference between believing something intellectually and actually putting that belief into practice.

During this whole ordeal the elders met at least two or three times a week to pray and to determine the right course of action. When it was clear that Jack was unrepentant, it was equally clear to each of us that we had a responsibility to remove him from membership and to publically address his lack of repentance. What was unclear was exactly how to do that. Should this be done during a Sunday morning service? What about writing a letter? What about a special meeting?

After speaking with several seasoned pastors we decided that because Jack had preached at our church and lead communion that our response needed to be of an equally public nature. We ended up having an abbreviated Sunday morning service (one hour) with worship, preaching, etc. At the end of the service we had a closing song and reminded the congregation (who had been informed ahead of time by e-mail, social media, etc.) that we would like those who call Cool Community their church home to please remain and that we would be having a special meeting shortly. This allowed visitors the opportunity to leave, while ensuring that members of our church family would be present for the proceedings.

It’s hard to know how people will respond to this kind of thing, especially since it is so rare for churches to carry out church discipline. Cool Community hadn’t done this in over 20 years and no one that I talked to had ever seen this done in any other context, which is why I remain profoundly humbled by the response of our congregation. 100% of the feedback that we received through written correspondence, personal interactions, etc. was positive. To this day, in a church of over 200 there has not been one negative response to any of the proceedings. In fact, the most common thing that I have heard people say as we’ve talked through these events is, “Thank you! We feel so safe here knowing that this church is dealing with sin biblically and that you are serious when you talk about holiness.”

On a personal note, I have never been more fully conscience of the personal presence of Jesus Christ than in the meeting (Matthew 18:20 ). It was a holy and precious moment that I wouldn’t trade for all of the suffering and heartache that these events created.

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

September 15 2014 05:00 am | Betrayed

Comments are closed.