Cave City, KY -Chiefly, local church membership means that Christ’s Body finds your profession of faith to be credible. In other words, church membership means that you are accepted as a believer in Jesus and as a fellow Christian by other Christians. Church discipline, the act of correction that sometimes results in removing someone from the church rolls, signifies that the church no longer feels that your profession of faith is credible and they cannot vouch for your identity as a fellow Christian. Part and parcel of belonging to the Body of Christ is gathering with the church. The church, after all, is an ἐκκλησία, (ecclesia), meaning a “Called-Out Assembly.” To not assemble with the church is to not be a part of the church. It’s not rocket science. It has been the long-time practice of churches since, well forever, to exclude from membership those who don’t actually show up to worship. That didn’t stop members in one church from reaching out in anger to the media when the church sent them a letter informing them they’ve been removed from membership for poor attendance.
Pastor Ryan Broers probably wasn’t expecting the pushback when he followed the common sense guidelines regarding church membership, and set about to serve as a pastor, a job that requires invoking discipline. Letters were sent out from his church, the Cave City Baptist Church of Kentucky, informing members that they have been removed from church membership rolls for poor attendance.
Broers told the press, “A lot of the people that the letters were sent to are not attending church anywhere, and this was kind of a wake-up call to them ‘you’ve broken fellowship with God, you’ve broken fellowship with this church, you need to come back and repent and get your relationship with Him.'”
Wow. It seems like the pastor was doing his job. Now, cue the outrage.
Cue Samantha Esters, who said in response, “I don’t ever want to go back to that church.”
Off in the distance somewhere in Kentucky you could actually hear the world’s smallest violin, as Samantha Esters promised never to return to “that” church despite the fact that she hadn’t been faithfully attending it to begin with. I’m sure Ester’s promise to boycott the church in the future even though she had never made time for in the past will have a deafening, crippling effect on Cave City Baptist Church from which they will probably never recover.
Pastor Broers seems to have taken the controversy in stride, pointing out that the truth will sometimes “step on toes.” Esters retorted, “It’s actually God’s church, not your church.”
Pulpit & Pen reached out to Broers for comment on the church’s phone, but have not been able to make contact. We presume that Broer was following guidelines set forth in bylaws or a motion of the church to enforce attendance policies and if not, was following a modicum of common sense that someone doesn’t have a right to be a member of the church unless they actually attend it.
Broers pointed out that anyone who got the letter could renew their membership simply by speaking with the church leadership about the reasons for their absence and working it out, which seems overflowing with compassion. What makes this story truly remarkable is that a church enforcing run-of-the-mill, fairly standard membership criterion was controversial enough that it would make the local news.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:25.
Good for Pastor Broers.
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