Reposted, with permission, from bradhambrick.com.
This post is a supplement to the “church discipline process” document/training posted earlier. The goal of this series is to equip churches to conduct church discipline with restorative excellence.
This post examines key elements of church discipline that need to be understood before the formal process of church discipline begins. Uncertainty about how to begin church discipline and what concerns warrant church discipline is often the reason that church discipline either is not done or feels reactive when it is done.
How Does Church Discipline Begin?
There are two predominant paths towards church discipline: (a) stalled out pastoral care, or (b) a crisis precipitated by hidden sin. We will look at the implications of each of these paths.
1. Stalled Out Pastoral Care
Here “pastoral care” may be a small group leader, ministry team leader, lay elder, or pastoral staff member. The point is that a church leader is aware of the repeated sin, has been meaningfully involved, and has been involving “higher leaders,” but change has not occurred.
The tone of conversation as pastoral care transitions to formal church discipline would sound something like this: