Saturday, February 4, 2012

Decisions decisions

This post by Bobby Jamieson presents some interesting propositions about the issue of voluntary resignation from a church. While I agree with a lot of things the 9Marks organization promotes, and even see a few valid points in this particular article, I also have to take issue with some of Mr. Jamieson's conclusions.

Yes, it is good for the pastor and the leadership of a church to perform some due diligence when a member resigns. It is good to see if the resigning member is actually asking for help or for a listening ear, or if something in the church needs correction or modification. Every case is different, but certainly there can be those times when the leadership might urge the resigning member to reconsider.

But ultimately, if a member decides to leave that church, they can do so. Jamieson writes,

A member cannot unilaterally resign.
It would be a scary statement if it were true. This is not 16th-century Europe after all. Heck, it's not even 17th-century Massachusetts. A member can, in fact, unilaterally resign. He can even resign without giving the church a reason for doing so. Continuing to serve with a particular local church body is a voluntary decision on the part of the individual member.

Jamieson also quotes from the constitution of his own church:

"The church shall have authority to refuse a member's voluntary resignation or transfer of membership...for any...reason the church deems necessary or prudent."
Well, that is a very bold claim, but you can't just name it and claim it. The focus of Jamieson's article, that of drawing the attention of church leaders and pastors to the issue of losing members through the proverbial back door, is something to be concerned about. But the solution is not authoritarian overreach or unrealistic assertions of power. It is a humble servant-attitude, sound teaching and a loving, edifying environment. Even then, some members will choose to resign.

They can.

1 comment:

herewegoagain said...

Seriously? People say you can't resign your church? What are they going to do...ruin your credit?

Scary stuff indeed.