Addressing Sin in the Church (Part 1)

Imagine with me.  You meet a new couple that walks through your doors on a Sunday morning.  They’re young and really excited to be in your church.  You catch them after the service and they inform you that they’re not only coming back next week but they’re bringing a couple friends.  This is a dream situation for many of us.  A young couple.  They’re actually excited to be in your church.  And to make it even better, they’re bringing friends!  Well, after a week or so you discover this great young couple is not married, but they are living together.  What do you do?  Do you kick them out of the church immediately?  Do you call them out for ‘living in sin’?  Or do you just say nothing?

This is a tough situation, especially in the world we live in today.  This is a world that praises tolerance and hates conviction.  How then, do we as pastors, address sin in a person’s life without them closing the door to Christ forever?  This is a topic we were discussing in our MCM Pastor’s Meeting this past Wednesday.  Over the next couple days I’m going to do a couple posts on this topic.  But for now, how would you address this situation?  Are there mistakes you’ve made in in situations like this?

7 thoughts on “Addressing Sin in the Church (Part 1)

Add yours

  1. If I were a pastor, I might give a message on marriage or sexual purity. As a lay person, I would seek my pastor’s advice. On second thought, I would pray first and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. After all, conviction is His job!


  2. I recently went through the process of confrontation with someone (one on one, then with two or three, then with the church). Fortunately we only had to do the first two steps. I am personally aware of the importance of accountability. However, a person must WANT to be accountable to someone. I don’t think you can force accountability on someone who doesn’t sincerely want to change or grow.


  3. What do you do with this situation when a couple in the same situation wants to serve at church, say something as simple as hand out bulletins?


  4. That’s a great question Patty! I would say first, it depends on your church’s policies for being involved in a ministry team. Aside from that, here are my thoughts:

    I think handing out bulletins by itself wouldn’t be a huge issue. My concern would be at what point do you draw the line? To be involved in ministry or on a ministry team you don’t have to be perfect because none of us are. But you do want someone who is representing your church well. A couple that is willingly living in an immoral relationship doesn’t really represent your church or Christ well. But that doesn’t mean their working towards it. Not knowing all the details of the situation, it’s tough to make a call on this. A couple ‘willingly’ living in immorality is different then a newly saved couple doing so without any idea knowledge of its sin. You want to address this issue with the couple, but do so in love and at the point you feel God and the couple have given you the green light to do so.


  5. All of these answers and considerations are very good advice. It is the church’s responsibility to protect its purity. This is a tough and common issue. But God’s word is clear about knowing what is right and not acting upon it. Truthing it in love is important.


  6. I want to to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely enjoyed
    every little bit of it. I have you book-marked to check out new stuff you post…


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