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    How to get people who may want to become church members to see they are not compatable to the churches vision of ministry in the local church. The church is heading in a discipleship direction and they are not showing any signs of heading in that direction and still want to run a ministry.
    Thank you

    Rick Thomas

    Hey Richard,
    Intriguing question. Thank you for asking. There are several angles here. I’ll mention some of them, in no order of importance.

    1. Discipleship Opportunity – There is a twist of irony to this in that the person presents a “discipleship issue.” Regardless of who a person is or what they believe or think, all people present discipleship opportunities. This person is a “perfect” candidate for the church’s new vision because they need discipling. Hopefully, the leaders will know how to disciple this particular person, which may mean him staying in his position, stepping down from his position, or maybe leaving the church.

    2. Pastoral Opportunity – When I pastored, I had a lady who wanted her 10-year old son to be able to come down front each Sunday and share a “word from the Lord.” While there is a place for sharing what you believe “God has placed on my heart,” our Sunday church meeting was is not that place for such uncensored subjective speaking. We had this family over for dinner, which was part of what we did for visitors to answer their questions, etc. I told her that I would love for her to be part of our church, but my concern is that she would be frustrated if her “little Jimmy” could not prophesy each Sunday.

    It’s a long story, but the short-side is that we found a church that better fit her beliefs since she was not changing hers and we were not changing ours. My concern, as I told her, is that she would start sinning each Sunday morning because our practices were different from hers. I did not want her to be tempted to sinning each Sunday, which is why I gave her (and them) another option–another church to attend. And it worked out great for them. They joined this other church, which alinged more to her preferential beliefs.

    3. New Criteria For Change – If your church’s vision has changed, which is fine that it has, the leaders should explicitly state this, and along with this change, the leaders need to decide the “new criteria” for who should be in leadership positions.

    These kinds of changes happen all the time. A church I used to attend went from a deacon-led ministry to a plurality of elders to lead the church. That change did not fit with everyone. That’s fine. This kind of reaction happens all the time.

    4 Reevaluate Current Leaders – Along with evaluating the new direction of the church, you have to reevaluate all of the persons who can lead the church in that new direction. If it is the opinion of the leaders that this person cannot lead this way because of his/her beliefs, the individual may need to step down.

    5. Submitting To Authority – There is a larger issue in play here, and that is Hebrews 13:17: “obey your leaders” and “let them pastor you with joy.” If the leaders are humbly leading, are servant leaders, and are not abusive in any way, but are trying to adhere to the Word of God, the members are called to submit to that even if they do not agree with all the ways the leaders are leading.

    6. You Must Change – A local church’s life is similar to our progressive sanctification. Meaning, many of the things that I believed when God saved me over 30 years ago, I no longer believe or practice. We mature. We change. We grow. That is the normal Christian life.

    Churches are similar. If churches don’t change, they will either die or stagnate. Churches must change because the leaders of the churches are learning, growing, and changing. What is happening with your church is perfectly and biblically normal. If your church were not changing, I would have a concern.

    Our ministry is the same way. I tell our team all the time that “change is here to stay.” If we don’t change, we may cease to exist. We don’t change for change sake, but for necessity sake. Mercifully, our team members are humble, don’t struggle with selfish ambition, and are willing to flex with our ever-changing ministry.

    E.g., we just made a significant change to our Mastermind Program. We’re still migrating to the “new way.” I rejoice in that everyone is onboard and we’re all working together as we finish the transition.

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