1

Your cart is empty.

Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

27 Jul '11

Sick churches and corporate repentance

Posted by T.J. Addington in confession, forgiveness
It is a fact of faith that when we have engaged in sin, the price of moving forward is always deep repentance, and acknowledgement of our sin to Christ and a commitment to take on new practices. We understand this in the individual arena but what about situations where congregations have sinned. Can they move forward in strength without dealing with their sin and acknowledging that sin publically? I believe not.

In fact, I would suggest that there are many churches who have lived with sinful practices in their midst - gossip, unresolved conflict, negative attitudes, ill treatment of pastors, prideful boards, and you name it - who will never move into a place of spiritual health until they publically acknowledge the sinful practices, repent of them, commit to new practices and seek the forgiveness of those who have been hurt. 

Interestingly, these are the very things that have been key features of revivals when they have occurred. Coming clean, acknowledging failure and seeking forgiveness are hallmarks of spiritual revival. So why would we believe that we can move forward in congregations when such sin has occurred without the spiritual renovation that must take place first?

Why don't more congregations practice confession and repentance? I believe the operative reason is pride. It means that we have to admit we were wrong, that we have accepted sinful practices, that we hurt someone and public hurt must be followed by public acknowledgement and confession. Rather than do that, we would rather take the easy way and retain our pride. 

Years ago I was deeply wounded by a church I served. Years later the leaders asked to meet with me in private. They apologized for what happened but they never did so publically. Yet, the wounds has been public. They took the easy route which did nothing to heal the church nor to heal me. 

Daniel nine gives us a great example of public repentance for public sin. On behalf of the nation of Israel, Daniel pleads for God's forgiveness after enumerating the sins of the people. Public sin calls for public repentance. 

What is the price that congregations and church leaders pay for not being willing to repent of public sins? I believe that God simply withholds his blessing from them. God does not bless proud hearts but humble hearts. Public confession of public sins is a sign of a humble heart. Most congregations won't go there but those who do see God do extraordinary things.