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Home > Issues > 2010 > Spring > Let's Live What We Teach

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Church of the Resurrection

An Invitation to Leaders To Live a Confessional Life

We invite leaders

The Bible teaches that those who lead and teach in the church are given "an honorable responsibility" (1 Timothy 3:1) and will receive a special blessing (1 Peter 5:4). However, with this leadership come qualifications and expectations (James 3:1; 1 Timothy 3). Here's how we try to live out this biblical wisdom in our community.

You can struggle with anything and serve in this church, no matter where you are in your journey, but to lead or teach, we ask for more, as Scripture does. Therefore, we invite the following leaders to live a confessional life: clergy, staff, vestry, preachers, children's ministry leaders, youth leaders, adult-class teachers, ministry leaders, small-group leaders, musicians, choir members, prayer ministers, Scripture readers, and Eucharist ministers.

No one in our parish thinks for one minute that our leaders are sinless. They don't expect that. But they do expect basic integrity. So we want to list issues that—if left unconfessed and unaddressed—would cause people to lose trust. We also want to watch for issues that could endanger our people and those who are vulnerable.

to live a confessional life

We believe in transformation—and that begins with confession and accountability. We believe you do not have to live with persistent sins forever. Transformation can take place, but not until you confess your sins and work with someone to develop a plan for your discipleship.

This is not about legalism but about living a confessional and accountable lifestyle. It's not for condemnation but transformation. It's not punitive. Just because you have one of the issues listed below doesn't automatically mean you'll be removed from ministry; it means we're asking you to talk with a pastor. We want to have conversations with you that will lead you toward greater maturity in Christ. We are eager to help you amend your life and to walk in the light (1 John 1:5-8).

We want you to experience grace—the true and costly grace of Jesus Christ. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship: "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

We are happy to talk with you about anything that is weighing on your conscience, but to guide you, we list the following common indicators that your soul is moving out of obedience to God. If any of these have been a problem within the past 12 months, please schedule a time with your pastoral leader to have a conversation:

  • Consuming too much alcohol and/or driving under the influence of alcohol; or use of illegal drugs or illegal use of prescription drugs
  • Guilty of a felony or misdemeanor charge
  • Physical or verbal abuse against anyone
  • Viewing pornographic, sexually explicit, or overly violent material
  • Addictive or binge patterns of eating, shopping, or other activities
  • A sexual encounter with, or sleeping with, anyone other than your spouse, including online encounters; non-committal physical relationship of any kind; living together with the opposite sex
  • Recurring lying or deceit
  • Callousness toward the poor; persistently selfish consumerism
  • Refusal to forgive someone who hurt you; racism; unrepentant hatred
  • Other sins that clearly compromise your Christian walk

Response

I accept this invitation. I realize both the privilege and responsibility of Christian leadership, and if I am involved in any of these activities, I will meet with my pastoral leader to arrange a formal confession and to follow guidance on how to amend my life. And I will regularly participate in confession, either the sacrament of confession to a priest and/or pastoral confession to my ministry leader, clergy person, prayer minister, or friend.

Signed: ______________________________________ Date: _________________

Print Name: __________________________________________________________

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Kevin A. Miller is associate rector of Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, Illinois.

Also in this Issue: Spring 2010

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A review of "Word Pictures" by Brian Godawa.

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Will fewer family moves produce more stable churches?

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Displaying 1–1 of 1 comments

Belle Unruh

September 08, 2013  2:06am

I admire this policy. You are right, more is expected from teachers and leaders. We should all aim to live a godly life through Christ, but if we are not, we should not be trying to lead others.

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