Should I Let Them Go? How To Handle Team Members With Personal Issues.
Featuring Kevin Pledger Posted on July 19, 2008
We all face it as leaders in churches. If you haven't, you will. A member of your worship team reveals a hidden side to their life. A side that involves a relationship outside of marriage, an unmerited living arrangement, or other unexpected life consequences. What do you do in these situations? How do you handle? It's not easy. Ministry never is. But these are circumstances that you will face.
Let me begin by saying that I don't claim to get it right all the time. I believe that there are black & whites in scripture when dealing with God's will for our lives. For instance, those things which are consistent with the character of God will never change (according to Malachi 3 - and other places). But sometimes when dealing with the situations in which people find themselves, you must go solely on faith and on the directing of the Holy Spirit in the moment. I speak here from my experiences, not from having a Masters Degree in Psychology or even Theology. If I have a degree in anything where this is concerned, it is "Trustology." I trust my God to help me because I don't know what in the world I'm doing!
I come from a place where my past is not without blemish. I have experienced grace in my walk with Christ that has gone way beyond what I learned about as a child, or even sung about when singing hymns of our faith. I should not be where I am today and am very aware of that fact. But God has done something amazing in me through His grace. It is the reason I am in ministry. For that matter, it is the reason I am even alive! Therefore, the first thought that enters my mind when faced with a decision like this is, "How can I display the grace of Christ to this one before me? What action should I take, what words should I use that will lead to this person's redemption?"
Understand, my friend, that it is NOT our job nor even our business to bring shame and guilt on this person. Hold them accountable in a loving attitude? Absolutely! Help them to understand that they are out of line and that God will only be honored by them being in an attitude of repentance? Certainly! But tell them how ashamed they should be for what they've done? No. That is the Holy Spirit's job. I have found in most cases where I enter into these conversations that God has gone before me and prepared the person by convicting them before I ever said a word.
Allow me to interject that in most cases, people need to be turned over to a trained professional for the help they need. Know your boundaries and stay there! You don't hold the key to their health and well being. Don't act ike it.
Three years ago, I attended a session on pastoring artists that Ross Parsley from New Life Church was teaching. He made the statement then that if someone came to him and told him that they are still struggling with whatever is wrong in their lives, he may let them stay on the team. The fact that they are still struggling lets him know that God is working in their lives and trying to bring them to a point of repentance. However, if they are through with the struggling and have just given over to the sinful doings in their lives, then that is the point where he asks them to step aside for a while.
I don't know that this or any other philosophy would work in every circumstance. And Paul warns us to never use (or deliver) grace as a license to sin. But can I just say that if I am going to goof when dealing with God's people, I want to goof on the side of grace! I don't want to stand before Him one day and have to give an account for being to stubborn with one of His children who really just needed someone to listen. Satan is chomping at the bits waiting for leaders like us to make that mistake! Because then, the person becomes isolated. And we all know what the wolf does to an isolated sheep.
In any decision like this, your first priority should be YOUR relationship with Christ and the health of that relationship. Prayer will be essential. The love of scripture will not be an option. And the genuine love of that one who sits or stands before you will be your mandate. Jesus was a friend to sinners. He hung out with them. He still does. He hangs out with you, right? Know that the same grace that grants you forgiveness and an audience with the King of kings, also gives the same privileges to those who have disappointed us and the family of God. Treat them with that measure of respect. Love them back into a right relationship with God. Help them to develop accountability. Guide them to properly trained counselors when needed.
I believe that one of the key components in redeeming someone for the cause of Christ is accountability. It MUST happen! There is no substitute. Hold them to it. Don't let that part of the equation slide.
I hope I have at least helped some. I can't give very direct answers because I don't know the situations from which your people come to you. But I will be praying that this short article will help in redeeming others back into a right relationship with Him. Similar events have happened in my own life and have led to my restoration to ministry. God has done an amazing work in me and believe me, I never take it for granted or fail to give Him teh glory He deserves. His grace is truly amazing!
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