Sunday, September 13, 2009

Historical moment... a milestone!

Today history was made during the believers’ meeting in Mibu!


There is a young believing man here who has repeatedly, over the last couple years, been involved in activities that have needed discipline and admonition of his fellow brothers and sisters. More recently his involvement in these activities has only continued and so it was determined that some heavier disciplinary action needed to be taken. What is the church to do with such a man?


So a couple weeks back, Joey and I met with a few of our leaders in training about this and we asked the question, “What does the scripture say about this kind of issue?” With the church here not having been taught on it in the past, I entered this meeting thinking that it was going to be quite the task to work through some key passages on church discipline in order to help them see the need for and get behind some action regarding this man. We talked about Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5 and a few other key passages. Then on their own, they were able to come up with some other wonderful passages regarding the need for discipline and what a correct response to discipline should be. Without much help from me or Joey these men were able to come up with a plan of discipline based on what the scripture says!


So today, after Joey was done with the lesson, we addressed the whole church about the need to deal with this young man’s ways. With him present, I stood up and merely introduced the subject matter at hand and then quickly turned it over to Sesi and Keteng, the two men who were going to officiate the action. What these two men did was truly beautiful! They explained wonderfully from scripture why this unprecedented thing was happening. Then they proceeded to explain why this young man was the subject of admonition and then give a stern but loving warning to him regarding his ways. Even such a warning as to say that if he persists that the church will have to ex-communicate him as a final step to try to get his attention… right from Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5. Such a stern warning, yet they managed to do all this while also communicating that they genuinely care for his well being and are doing this for his good. It wasn’t done in anger, but in a very loving manner. Afterward a number of people stood up and affirmed that this is for his good and that we all care for him and that this kind of action by the church toward him is good based on what they just heard. Afterward a prayer was said for him and the young man stood up and indicated his agreement with what we just did by shaking our hands and thanking us.


Now time will tell whether or not this disciplinary action by the church got this man’s attention. But for right now, today, what blew us away was that these two men were convinced enough by God’s word to do something that was totally unprecedented in their culture, even going against the grain of some very deeply rooted traditions. What I mean is that here, in situations like this, saving face is usually the name of the game. Not only by the one who needs to save face, but oddly enough, one’s peers often make lots of room for the saving of face. But that didn’t happen today. The action taken was done with the authority of God’s word and was decisive. But while being stern, it was done in a loving and gentle manner. Today the genuine care communicated by his peers was enough to overcome shame… and hopefully lead him to react not by running from it, but by humble repentance.


What excites us about seeing what we saw today, is that as we prepare to someday be absent from the people here, we strive to equip them to take on the responsibility of shepherding the church themselves. One major tenet of being able to shepherd is the ability to discipline with the mind of maintaining the purity of the church. What we saw today was evidence that they are definitely heading down that road of readiness! This one is usually a very difficult one to equip them for because the pull of the traditional way of doing things is SOOOO strong. But they did it today… and not just kind of. I mean they really did it all out. And not because the whiteskin said so, but because God’s word tells us that it is necessary!


So that’s what I mean when I say that history was made in the believers’ meeting today. It was such a great, imitatable example and we have high hopes for the impact it may have on the future of discipline and correction in the church of Mibu!


Praise God! And in the meantime, let’s not forget to keep the young man in our prayers, that his attention was got, and that today’s example was a real eye opener as to just how serious God takes the holiness of his people.

1 comment:

Theresa said...

This is so encouraging to me! I was especially glad to hear Ketang's part in it. We continue to pray for him and his family. We look forward to seeing all of you soon!!!