By Robert Lewis
(While pastor of Blackstone Valley Baptist Church – 1998)
To The Pastors Elders and Deacons (of . . . . EVERY Church)
It seems good to me that the problem of “STRAYING SHEEP” should be dealt with in a Biblical fashion following the admonitions of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is impossible for us to govern the affairs and activities in your ministries. We don’t wish to do that. It is not our intent. It is our intention however, to declare unto you how we would treat your wandering sheep or persons who were at odds with you or your ministry when or if they come to us. No amount of potential “wool gathering” is adequate to entice us to covet the fruits of your ministry. The whole idea of church discipline is often ignored by those who are not concerned with maintaining a charitable relationship with others of like precious faith. Our promise to you is to recognize your ministry and treat you with Christian ethics.Therefore we make you these promises.1. If one of your sheep comes to our fold we will call you immediately to inform you.2. We will not listen to your sheep’s bleating about you unless you are present.3. We will not allow your sheep to join our flock unless there is a letter of recommendation from you stating that this sheep is spiritually healthy.4. We will not “feed” your sheep. That is, we will not encourage them to absent themselves from their own fold, where their own shepherd (pastor) has an adequately nutritious meal prepared for them.5. We will take no action against you or your sheep except that we will not get involved with them in any way without you.6. If you inform us that the sheep that has strayed into our fold is not healthy and needs to work out some problems with the context of your fold, we will not allow that sheep to join with us conditionally or any other way.We have no idea whether or not you will take a similar position. That is up to you. We mean you no evil. We will not do anything, or, omit to do anythingwhich the Lord has commanded to ensure that the relationship that we enjoy is based upon sound scriptural principles. We do not believe that we are better. We do believe that we are under the commandment of God to be right with God and our Neighbors.Church discipline cannot work and confusion will abound in any community where the church leaders are not in harmony about the matter of church membership and discipline. If church discipline fails in your ministry, by God’s grace it will not be because we involved ourselves with your sheep.