What are some steps the church should take toward rescue and restoration?
When we think of sin and how it affects the body of Christ, we often think of an individual's responsibility to repent and restore his relationships. But what is the corporate body's responsibility when a brother is overtaken in significant sin? What kind of things should the church body do to help restore someone overtaken in a fault?
This post is an effort to outline some general steps that church leaders and church members can use as a starting point for standard operating procedure in restoring fallen brothers. May God give the church grace to build up the broken and to lift up the fallen.
The process below is built on the foundation of Galatians 6:1-10.
- Galatians 6:1 – Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.
- Love – assure the brother that we, the church, love him and long to see him restored as a useful member in our local church.
- Labor – work to assist the brother through the process of repentance and restoration.
- Build accountability – establish a team of accountability to help the fallen brother follow through in restoring his broken relationships; they should also care for his soul during the process, as he will often be hurting.
- Care – the church body should reach out to the fallen brother (and his family, if applicable), remembering that they are sheep in need of care.
- Galatians 6:1-2 Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
- Evaluate – church leadership should evaluate the process of restoration, as the church body helps to restore the brother to usefulness as a church member.
- Help him understand genuine repentance.
- Help him think through broken relationships and the best way of restoring those relationships.
- Help rebuild him and his family.
- Galatians 6:8-10 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
- Work toward long-term care – establish a plan for care and accountability for the fallen brother long-term.
- Establish systems of care for all church leaders and church members within the church via small group ministry.