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Why We Disciplined Half Our Church

At the members' meeting of our church in May 1996, we faced a daunting task. The sixty or so of us there needed to go through a list of 256 names—more than half our membership—and remove them from our church roll.

We had been working on this for months. Some had suggested I simply make one motion to dismiss all the people at once. I decided against that. We had taken them in individually; we would dismiss them individually. It would be a kind of Chinese water torture to good ends. We would all be reminded of the significance of church membership.

The first challenge came when in the first few names there were a pair of twin boys who had been brought up in the church—thirty years earlier! One of the older members put up her hand and said, "But we know where those boys are!"

I believe God's Spirit specially prompted our chairman of deacons, who responded calmly with just a touch of humor, "The problem isn't that we don't know where they are, but that they don't seem to know ...

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