MinistryHealth
Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

| Consulting/SeminarsMH Website Overview | Ministry Resources | MH Archives MH Dissertations |


When Helping Hurts

Kelly C. Bedard, M.Div.

Number 190

A friend loves at all times, but a brother is born for adversity.
(Proverbs 17:17)

Adversity Borne
 
What do you do when a disgruntled mis- or half-informed member of your parish seeks a transfer of membership to a sister (or other) congregation?

In most cases, you hopefully can rely on your brother pastor to either help remedy the situation or at least allow for proper closure of the controversy and, accordingly, parting as Christian friends.

Sadly, though, some brothers have been known to receive members before attempts at conflict resolution are even attempted or complete or to advise their colleagues in ministry of membership reception only after the fact.

All-Times Love
 
To avoid either scenario, whenever I receive a controverted intra-denominational transfer of membership request I do the following:

* If the member requests I initiate the transfer, I respectfully decline and ask him/her to initiate the same--thus allowing for direct and proper closure at the former parish;

* If (s)he seems reticent, I contact my brother pastor and advise of the request and, moreover, ask if there is anything that would preclude such a transfer; and

* If the transfer is controverted, I assure him that I will not act on the it until there is agreement that every attempt has been made to resolve whatever conflict might be evident.

There Are Limitations
 
Granted, often there is nothing you can do once someone has his/her mind made up. On the other hand, why compound the hurt and frustration by treating colleagues more as brothers than as friends?

The distinction between these terms might seem evident, but "brother" is used so readily nowadays that it’s almost lost its Hebrew (and biblical!) connotation of mere "physical relation." On the other hand, "friend"--transcending genealogical or synodical affiliation--implies utmost concern for all parties, not just the transferring member.

When afforded opportunity to sit down with a conflicted member, two questions might be asked:

1) How is what’s being done here (the transfer) glorifying God? and

2) How is the transfer edifying the larger Christian community (city, circuit)?

Helping someone (granting a transfer without question) sometimes hurts a lot more (and a lot more people) than it might seem.

Kelly C. Bedard

Topical Index    Articles 1-49    Articles 50-99   Articles 100-149   Articles 150-199   
 Articles 200-249    Articles 250-299   Articles 300-349   Articles 350-399 

Main Site:   http://ministryhealth.net/


Copyright 1997-2004 Ministry Health, LLC  All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft FrontPage and Microsoft Internet Explorer are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
Adobe Acrobat and PDF are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated


Hosted and Developed by SAMSA

This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:04:22 PM