Restoration in a Transformational Community 17: Where Do We Start?
So how do you actually do restoration? It kicks into gear when the person caught in sin starts meeting with the team. Your team is not there to be the primary counselors for the person, but to be with the person throughout the time he or she is being restored and to guide him or her in spiritual restoration. Their insight will help determine when that person is ready for whatever is the next step. This team will pray and share with the person out of their own journey with God. They should be guided by humility, aware of their own struggle with sin.
They will meet weekly at the start of the process with the person, as long as the person is submitting to their ministry to him or her. As progress is made—which should be measured by people both on the team and in the leadership of the church family—the meetings can be reduced over time. If the person tries to run away from the process, your team must be ready to pursue him or her and bring the person back into the process (this takes humility and boldness, a powerful combination). It is up to the church’s leadership to determine when pursuit is no longer possible.
The team will hold the person accountable to fulfill all that he or she has been asked to do, whether it is to go to a counselor, confess sin before the church family, read and reflect on spiritual material, make restitution or any other requirement made to help restore him or her in their walk with God and to the church family. But their primary work is to seek to guide this person back into a deeper spiritual walk with God. This will call for transparency on your team’s part about their walk as well. Your team should work through spiritual transformation materials and read and discuss those together as they meet.
You have to be willing to ask hard questions when questionable behavior arises. You cannot let a false version of love for this person interfere with their being direct in challenging wrong actions or decisions. I once worked with a believer who had had an affair with another man’s wife. He had submitted himself to the restoration process and was in the early stages of restoration. Out of the blue he had sent a romantic card to the woman. Hearing from her husband, I took this information to our team and we confronted him. He got angry at us, but we loved him too much to let it pass. That became the turning point for him to pursue God for healing and deliverance.