What should a pastor teach before he leads his congregation to practice church discipline?

The authority of Scripture. This, of course, is where it all begins. If your church is not convinced of Scripture's authority over them—over their own lives and over the life and practice of the church—you will not be able to bring them to abiblical understanding of church discipline. The church’s authority, right, and responsibility to practice discipline aregiven solely by the Word of God.

When should a church practice church discipline?


The answer to that question depends on whether we’re speaking about what Jay Adams calls formal or informal church discipline. Informal church discipline involves private confrontation, whereas formal church discipline involves a church-wide process.

How can a church wisely practice discipline in a litigious society?

Teach all prospective members that if they join the church, they will be subject to its discipline. That is, if they sin, they will be confronted about it, and if they refuse to repent of sin, the church will pursue the process laid out in Matthew 18:15-17, even to the point of excluding them from the church. Membership classes are one obvious place to offer this instruction.

What are some mistakes pastors make regarding church discipline?

They fail to teach their congregation what church discipline is and why to practice it. They fail to teach about and practice meaningful membership. This involves cultivating a culture of personal discipleship and involvement in one another’s lives in which people transparently confess sin to one another. This also involves teaching what membership is, as well as having a clear list of who is a member of the church.

How should church leaders present the “care list” to the congregation in matters of corrective discipline?

Explain what the care list is, especially for newer members. Teach briefly about church discipline, possibly by reading Matthew 18:15-17. Remind the church that love should be the church’s motivation, and nothing else. Present the person’s name and why they’re being mentioned. Explain the nature of the sin very judiciously.Typically, details are not necessary. Explain how the unrepentant sinner has already been approached. What actions have occurred?

What are the advantages of having a “care list” for cases of corrective discipline?

A care list cuts out the shock value of corrective discipline. Presenting a person’s name to the congregation months before a possible act of discipline enables the church to better pray and reach out to that person. It also prepares themselves for the sobering and sad act of excluding the individual from the Lord’s Supper.

What is a church “care list”?

A “care list” is a tool for accomplishing two purposes: (i) it alerts church members of fellow-members who are in extra need of care or correction; (ii) it prepares a congregation for a possible case of public corrective discipline. Specifically, it’s a list of names which the church leaders announce to the church’s members. Sometimes members undergoing special trials (medical, spiritual, vocational, and so on) need extra prayer and support. They might even ask to have their names included on the care list.

What are the benefits of practicing church discipline?


To many, church discipline (excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Supper because of serious unrepentant sin) sounds downright mean. Yet the Bible portrays discipline as an act of love (Heb. 12:6-11). Here are several benefits:

What is church discipline?

Church discipline is the church’s act of confronting someone’s sin and calling them to repent, which, if the person doesn’t repent, will culminate in excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Supper because of serious unrepentant sin.

Why is “discipline” not a negative but a positive thing?

Discipline sounds like a negative thing. The word makes us think of waking up at 5 a.m., endless pushups, or spankings. These hardly sound appealing! Yet only the proud person believes he or she is perfect. Humility causes us to realize that we are not finished products. We may need inspiration or healing. We may need to be corrected, challenged, or even broken. In other words, all of us need discipline.

Book Review: Decision Making and the Will of God, by Garry Friesen

Review by Greg Gilbert | 03.05.2010

Read the book, but just make sure you’re not convinced of the stupidity of the regulative principle by that one-page section.

Book Review: The Transforming Community, by Mark Lauterbach

Review by Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 1) | 03.02.2010

If you’re not careful, Lauterbach’s book just might cause a paradigm shift in how you think about grace and the gospel, as well as how you think about the church.

Book Review: Discipline with Care, by Steven McQuoid

Review by Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 1) | 03.02.2010

Discipline with Care is a good book on church discipline that will strengthen churches by promoting their holy witness.

More Than Worth It: Costs and Benefits of Church Discipline

By Wyman Richardson | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 1) | 03.01.2010

It’s worth reminding ourselves as pastors what we stand to lose if we neglect biblical church discipline.

A Church Discipline Primer

By Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 1) | 03.01.2010

A reluctance to practice church discipline may suggest that we believe ourselves to be wiser and more loving than God.