What sins should result in public church discipline? And how should we confront brothers or sisters in sin?
Mailbag #38: How to Shepherd Every Member; Shepherding by the “Parish Model”; What’s the “Church” in Matthew 18?By Jonathan Leeman | 05.20.2016
— How can the elders of a large church ensure every member is both known and cared for? — We’d like to divide our church members by families and individuals and then designate them to a particular elder. What do you think of this approach? — In Matthew 18, what does Jesus mean when he says “tell it to the church”?
I can hardly imagine a pastor or church member that would not benefit from reading this wonderful book.
Mailbag #37: Congregationalism in China; A Defense of Building Bigger Buildings; Notifying the Recently Disciplined; Supporting a Widow Who Has Left the ChurchBy Jonathan Leeman | 05.10.2016
— How can something like congregationalism work in China, with its networks of related house churches? — The leaders at my church want to build a bigger building, yet it seems to me a waste of money. What should I do? — After someone has been disciplined for non-attendance, should the church notify the person as a final act of congregational care? — Twenty years ago, our church made a commitment to financially support our former pastor’s widow. She has since refused to attend our church. What should I do?
Mailbag #36: When Nominating Elders May Cause Disunity; Your 9 Marks Aren’t Enough; A Difficult Pastoral SituationBy Jonathan Leeman | 05.02.2016
— Should I move forward with installing a plurality of elders, even if the decision causes disunity in the church? — I agree with your nine marks—but seriously, where are the marks of love and prayer and missions? — The grandmother of an unwed and pregnant teenager wants to have her granddaughter’s baby shower at the church. How should I think through this?
Practicing church discipline is difficult. Perhaps this is why many churches seem to have neglected it.
— A church member denies the faith; is the proper response excommunication? — In a church plant, how long you should wait to install the first elders? — What questions should you ask during a membership interview? And what should you do if something like a past divorce comes up?
Here’s a template to use for new member interviews.
Mailbag #34: How to Respond When a Pastor’s Wife Leaves; Pastoring Regular Attenders Who Refuse to Join; Help with Cleaning Up Our Church’s Past MistakesBy Jonathan Leeman | 03.25.2016
—When a pastor’s wife leaves him, can he continue in that position? —How do you pastor a couple who enjoys regularly attending, but refuses to join? —How can I minister to a member of our church, who was hurt by our church 10 years ago and hasn’t been back?
Should we risk agitating people by asking them to formally sign something? And what if someone wants to join, but is unsure of a doctrinal matter? Is submission enough, or is agreement necessary?
Small groups can therefore be a terrific supplement to the gathered life of the church, but they should never be a replacement for it.
Mailbag #33: Job Conflicts with Church; Requiring More than One Gathering; Process for Members Who Leave on Good TermsBy Jonathan Leeman | 03.10.2016
What should we do when a job conflicts with church attendance? » Is a church over-reaching when it requires more than one gathering for membership? » What’s the process for when members move and leave on good terms? »
Our church waited three years to put our church documents in order, and we suffered for it.
Mailbag #31: Healthy Membership before Healthy Eldership; Difficult Shepherding Situation; Ordination; TithingBy Jonathan Leeman | 02.25.2016
— Do we first educate our people about elders and deacons and then install them—or do we educate them about meaningful membership and then make meaningful membership part of how we operate? — One of our members refused to come to church because our building and people remind her of past pain. How can we shepherd her well? — What is the biblical view of ordination to the pastorate? — What is your view on tithing concerning New Testament believers?
Mailbag #30: Non-Members Serving in Church; A Prospective Elder Who Doesn’t Regularly Attend; The Problem with Contemporary Christian Music; How Younger Members Can Serve Older OnesBy Jonathan Leeman | 02.18.2016
— Is it wise to let non-members serve in behind-the-scenes ministries? What about children and teens who aren’t members but profess to be believers? — Should regular attendance be an implicit qualification for elders? — It appears my church enjoys shallow and theologically suspect songs. What should I do? — What are some ways that a younger church member can positively influence older members with regards to sound doctrine?