Pastoral Ethics Question

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Tom Bryant, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. Tom Bryant

    Tom Bryant
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    A couple from another Biblie believing church visits your church 2 weeks in a row. You know they are members of the other church and have held off visiting them.

    At what point do you make a pastoral visit?
    Is there a point at which you call the other pastor and let him know?

    What say you?
     
  2. Lagardo

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    Make that three couples and you have the situation I've been in. In this case, I had already talked with the pastor some over the problems he was having and when three couples started attending our church, I let him know. The deacons and I decided not to visit these couples and we told them that while we were certainly glad to have them, we did not want to get between them and the other church. We also stressed that we wanted them to pray towards reconciliation. All six have joined our church by now and the situation brings another twist.

    A few have come to me with families that they also know who have left and they want me to go with them to invite them to our church. We haven't yet, but I do try to stay in contact with the other pastor and let him know what is going on. I have told him that I will not be visiting anyone who they are still trying to reconcile with.

    This is still a tightrope of sorts, but as far as ethics, I try to do what promotes unity in and among our churches.
     
  3. gb93433

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    I am not one to worry about where people have come from but where they are going. Very few churches disciple anyone. So I see each person who comes as a mission field and as people in need of knowing how to make disciples.

    There is always a reason why people leave one church to go to another. Whenever there is not a magnet in your own home there is always one somewhere else.
     
  4. SBCPreacher

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    I think that if they come to visit two weeks in a row, they're fair game! (I've got some members I wish would come two weeks in a row!!)

    At our church, every first time visitor gets a letter and a phone call from me, and hopefully, an invite by a Sunday School teacher. After the second time, they get a phone call asking if someone can pay them a visit. We don't ever drop in unannounced.

    As far as requests for us to visit family members who are (active) members in another church, we usually don't do that. We're not sheep-rustlers! But, if these sheep happen to wander over to our pasture, we'll surely get in touch with them.
     
    #4 SBCPreacher, Dec 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2006
  5. PastorSBC1303

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    I don't visit them. I do not want to appear to be trying to steal anyone else's sheep. We have a pastor here in our town that has a reputation of being a "sheep stealer." He will pressure other people to come to his church even if they haven't visited. I do not ever want to have that type of reputation.

    What I will normally do is talk to them after the service and tell them they are more than welcome to be a part of our church in any capacity they desire, but to make sure it is the Lord's leading. If they come to me and tell me they have prayed about it and it is the Lord's leading then I would visit with them.

    I would talk to the other pastor as soon as possible. I think it is just the right thing to do. However, I will say that I have never had another pastor call me to talk about that issue. So I don't think it is something that many do.
     
  6. SaggyWoman

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    If I am visiting another church for whatever reason, I will mark on the visitation card I want a pastoral visit.

    I really don't like the pastor visiting me. I will go visit him at his office if I want to talk to him. One time a pastor visited me at my home, and I was very uncomfortable with it.
     
  7. blackbird

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    Golly, Saggy!!! Was he carryin' "Heat" like other preachers sometimes claim they do?? What was it?? .357 Mag, .44, or a Saturday Nite Special??:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  8. El_Guero

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    Is that what ya'll call a 'J Frank Special'?

    Bad joke . . . I know . . . but, I would like to know what he packed.

    ;)

     
  9. El_Guero

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    Real good post!

    I would say that you read my mind, but I hadn't tho't that far when I had read your post.

    God bless


     
  10. thjplgvp

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    First I would call the other pastor and let him know and secondly for me to find out if they are running. All too often, especially in todays society, people are escaping confrontation of their sin and if those folks are now visiting your church you would in a sense be helping them to run from being accountable. On the other hand it might be a minor difference of opinion or misunderstanding that the other pastor needs to know about.

    Unless they request a pastors visit or schedule an appoinment I would not visit them significant time had passed.

    Also I would encourage you to mention this stand from time to time from the pulpit as this will allow your folks to pass on the your ethical position.

    thjplgvp
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Probably after the second time I would call their pastor. Perhaps after the first depending on the conversation. You want to know why they are leaving a church, and if there are unresolved issues, reputations as troublemakers, etc.
     
  12. John of Japan

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    I agree with all of you who have urged contacting the other pastor before doing anything. It is not only the right thing to do ethically, it is good manners. Plus, it will protect your church with advance warning if the person visiting has been a trouble maker or immoral.

    In one case I know, a deacon left and went to another church because he had been caught in immorality and then split the first church. The second pastor unfortunately didn't believe the first pastor--very charming deacon! Then the immoral scenario was repeated in the second church, but this time fortunately for them there was a "smoking gun" in the form of an audio tape.

    Speaking of possible smoking guns, SaggyWoman, I hoped you kicked the bum out--who knows what he was up to! :smilewinkgrin: :tongue3:
     
  13. gb93433

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    I have visited a number of people in their home and led them to Christ. If I know they are Christians then most of the time I call first. If they are not then I just go. I always visit with someone else unless I know more than one person will be there.
     
  14. TomVols

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    My practice is to not visit unless they request it or ask in some way. Most of the time this happens. Many are just church shopping if they are unhappy at their current church and if they want to be contacted, they'll ask.

    I only contact the pastor if I trust him and know he'll keep a confidence. I only contact the pastor if he can be impartial about any recommendation about the members should they wish to join as part of their investigation for membership. Otherwise I contact a member or other leader that is trustworthy.
     
  15. Karen

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    I can see contacting the other pastor if the visitors have indicated they are interested in joining. I am not so sure about contacting a pastor just because somebody has visited a couple of times.

    I am not a church hopper. I have belonged to and attended my present church for over 20 years. Yet we came to this church after being members in a much larger church and simply deciding it was too big for us.
    We wrote a cordial letter to the former pastor when we left. And asking for our church letter to join the new church was a very strong indication that things were fine. If there had been a problem, I presume the letter would not have been automatically granted.
    Still friends and acquaintances with many in the old church after 20 years.

    If someone moves from Georgia to Montana, do most pastors think they have to call the old pastor personally to make sure they are not getting a troublemaker? I doubt it. If a pastor candidates at a different church, does he want the old one knowing it before he has been offered and has accepted the new position? I doubt it.

    Churches change. Peoples' theological understandings change. Why such a presumption that changing churches locally is likely because of something wrong? What is wrong with relying on the granting of church letters to indicate any problem? Just wondering.
     
  16. PastorSBC1303

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    I was answering from the perspective of people changing churches in the same area/town. This is a completely different situation IMO. I would visit them and not call their former pastor unless I had a reason to call.
     
  17. El_Guero

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    I had not thought about the need to be able to trust the other pastor.

    That is a good point and well taken.

    Wayne


     
  18. Tom Bryant

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    Thanks for all the responses. When someone has visited us more than 2 times from another local church, before I visit them, I call the pastor. Part of that is to try to maintain good relationships with other Bible believing pastors. (I don't do this for cult or non-evangelical churches).

    I just know that if someone from our church was looking around, I would want to know about it.
     
  19. SaggyWoman

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    Okay, blackbird. Pee shaw to you, packing heat. He wished he packed heat. I woulda slapped heat upside his knappy head. :BangHead:
     
  20. Karen

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    I guess I am still having trouble with the concept. Why not leave it up to your member to tell you, when and if anything needs to be said?
    There can be many valid reasons why a person wants to know what other churches are like. Visiting one in particular for a while may end up coming to nothing.

    Now on the other hand, I have been involved in several mission efforts. If a key person who helps unlock the doors and set up the chairs every Sunday wants to visit elsewhere for a while, he needs to be very up-front.
     

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