Can a Pastor Remove a Church Member / How Should a Member be Removed From The Church?
Church dynamics can be challenging to navigate especially when you lack the wisdom or know-how. There are times a pastor is faced with the decision of whether to remove a church member from their congregation or not. Some people feel a pastor should not do it, while others think it should be done in certain circumstances.
Can a pastor remove a church member? Yes! But, it should be done prayerfully and with careful consideration. This is a sensitive situation that could end up going the wrong way if not handled well. It may seem harsh removing a church member, but if such a person proves to be a threat to the spiritual wellbeing of the rest of the congregation, they can be removed.
This is a very difficult thing for any church Leaders. Church leaders are wired because of their love for people, their desire to help people escape sin to deal with. Many Time I waited for maybe longer than I should of with dealing of problems within the flock. You Struggle with the welfare on the one / with the Welfare of the many things that can hurt the flock. some of the big ones that I have struggled with
- False Doctrine
- Developing Leadership that is too Young ( In Faith)
- Control / Power
- Leadership Problems
- Changing Ministers
- Money Control
- Sexual Promiscuity
1. Spreading False Doctrine
There are some church members who fall into deception and begin teaching falsehood in the church. You call upon them to teach and they end up sharing heretical teachings to the rest of the congregation. This person has become a threat to the teaching of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
The first thing the pastor can do is have a conversation with the person and find out why they believe the false things they are teaching. If such a church member continues to feed others in the church with their false doctrine, then the pastor can make the call to remove them. We are to have nothing to do with those who want to spread false teachings and show no repentance.
In Matthew 7:15, Jesus warned us against false prophets pretending to be part of the sheep. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” This means that there are many false prophets pretending to be church members, and are spreading false prophecies and doctrine within the congregation. Such people should not be allowed to remain in the church because they will prey on those who are new to the faith and are looking for spiritual guidance.
2. Sexual Immorality
It is possible to have a church member who is given to sexual immorality and has no interest in changing their ways. When word gets to the pastor about such a person, he or she should do a thorough investigation to gather the correct facts and make sure it is not just a rumor.
After establishing the truth, the pastor can then summon the individual and talk to them about their behavior and hear what they have to say. If the person denies the allegations, the pastor can then show them the evidence he or she has. The pastor can counsel the person and offer to walk with them to help them overcome any sexual addiction they have.
I ahve seen this in various forms, and would like to share my experience. I have seen this at home and especially on the mission fiels. It can have disasterous consequences if not dealt with in love but firmly. It acn destroy churches, Blow apart Families, I ahve seen satan use it to destroy many preaching ministries.
Church workers must constantly keep themselves pure in these circumstances. In Church family situations these unique things can take place
- Spend a lot of time working side by side for long hours. Sometimes spending more time with church members than their families
- Seen this topple a lot of ministries from unfaithfulness in Ministers and their secretaries. Personally knowing both individuals in a few cases what starts off innocently, but develops slowly into sin.
- Missionaries – can slip into sinfulness on foreign mission fields – I have seen this a lot. Many Mission fields, probably a lot of the world, where being promiscuous is accepted. Sexual Purity is challenging and a Christian always needs to stay on Guard. Many times Missionaries are separated from their families when they serve.
- I have seen members that are sexually aggressive to go after the leadership in a church family. It is so destructive and if that is happening needs to be handled. I have seen it destroy churches and several Mission churches.
If the person is not interested and continues with their sexual immoral acts with others in the church, then the pastor can remove such a person from the church. We should not keep company with sexually immoral people who call themselves believers.
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. – 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
What Should a Pastor Do Before Removing a Church Member?
The pastor should investigate the claims made against a church member so that he will know the truth beyond a shadow of a doubt. There should be witnesses to the person’s behavior and who are willing to testify if need be. Investigation ensures that a pastor is not acting on false information or propaganda against a person.
I have counseled members that have fallen in these areas. Care and Wisdom needs to be used. Most peoples sin that they are doing especially christians that know God’s feeling i the matter. Have had to justify it in their own mind. So you need to reason without bias.
To Illistrate, for several years I haelped in a jail ministry. I went to our local Jail and met and studied with jail mates. All These men were in their underware. And no matter which one i Talked with. Without a doubt 99% of them were innocent. They were in jail under false charges. I am sure that possible some might have been…but the point is they all had justified it. Sin is that way.
God always knows the truth and when a pastor seeks Him, he or she will know if the allegations are true. God will confirm His word and you can be sure He will lead you to the truth of the matter and show you how to handle it. Prayer is powerful because it will reveal the cause of the issue and how to handle it. God invites us to His throne of grace whenever we need His help, and removing a church member is an issue that needs the help and grace of God.
After doing investigation and praying, the pastor should confront the individual clearly stating the facts and giving them a chance to explain themselves. It’s important for the pastor to hear the offender’s side of the story. If the pastor cautions the individual and the person still continues with their behavior, then removal from the church is the only option. The pastor will call the person and inform them that they have to leave the church because they have refused to change and adhere to the church membership requirements.
It is important when you get to this place in God’s Process that you take a witness with you. The scriptures lay it out this way
- Go To Your Brother – if no progress
- Go again and Take 2 – 3 witnesses – if no progress
- Go and take it to the church – if No Progress
- Pull Away from The Member
The Goal should always to seek for Repentance and change, no retribution or revenge. This is something we all hate to do but God’s Leaders Have a responsibility to protect the flock.
Jesus Put it This way Matthew 18: 15-19, ” If Your Brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But If he will not listen, take one or two others along, That every matter can be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If He refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or tax collector.”
This is Very Detailed Study PDF
Explain to the congregation
If the person expelled from the church is a prominent member, you can make it known publicly that they had to leave the church to avoid rumors. The pastor does not have to go into detail but can provide information that will help the church understand his or her decision to remove the person. If the person is not a prominent person or known to most people, then the removal does not have to be communicated to the entire church.
Removing a church member is not an easy thing and the pastor will definitely feel scared. There is a lot at stake and he or she may not be sure how things will turn out. Trust that God will show you what to do once you seek His face for direction. It is inevitable that some people will have to go for the sake of the church.
In my experience from several different levels, this is very difficult. My nature helps me say, I will just wait and pray it goes away. But there comes a time when you need to deal with problems. My experience has shown me the longer I put it off, the worse and harder it becomes. I have seen it in Being
- Ministry Leader
- Missionary Teams Leader
- Maintenance Manager
- Maintenance Director of Global Maintenance
- Maintenance Plant Manager
I have seen this in the church and also Business. Wherever you manage people this is something you will need to deal with. I know that is not very encouraging but it is truthful. You will find better Peace the faster you deal with problems – patiently – spiritually of course.