Unless you are directly involved in a church discipline issue you may feel you do not have a role in the situation. That would be incorrect. As long as you are a part of God’s family, you have a role because our lives are interconnected.
First, if you are directly involved you need to act in love, be spiritually strong and mature, and be wise in your counsel and direction. Your job is show God to the sinner, and to do all you can to convince the person to repent and come back to God. Whether this is directly one-on-one or in a larger group showing love and seeking restoration of the sinner’s relationship with Christ is our top role.
If you are not directly involved you have several key roles you can play:
- Be loving in your actions to all. (1 Peter 1:22)
- Pray for everyone involved in a discipline situation. (Colossians 4:2)
- Support your leaders. If things reach a point where they are directly involved then the sinner is being unrepentant and needs more direct confrontation. Relationships will be at risk, and communication will be more difficult. Your leaders will need to stand firm, make difficult decisions, but also they need to continue to be loving and embracing toward this sinner to win them back. (Hebrews 13:17)
- Support decisions made by the leaders. Whether specific disciplinary actions are taken, or if a person is removed from the church completely you need to support the decisions made by the leadership. This may mean not allowing a member to participate in certain activities, providing extra supervision for them, walking with them through specific disciplinary actions, or even cutting of contact with them entirely. If others in the church body do not support these disciplinary actions then the discipline will not be successful and the sinner will not repent and change. (Matthew 18:17, 1 Corinthians 11:32, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15, Hebrews 12:5-11)