If you've not read Citizens' Arrest! Citizens' Arrest!, please read it first. Then this. (TB)
Here's a true story showing how important it is for pastors and elders to challenge one another's motives. Our session (elders board) had been working with a schismatic family of our church for years when MTW TE David Wegener came home on home assigment one year.
We have a policy that David is a pastor of our church when he's here. He'd served our congregation before leaving for Zambia and we have never wanted to lose his wisdom and counsel, as well as that of his wife, Terri, when they're in town. So David favors us with his presence when we have session meetings each month and he often gets into the yoke with us on some of our thornier pastoral matters. Terri teaches our women's groups and David preaches in worship and teaches in Clearnote Pastors College as often as he and Terri are not out deputizing at their supporting churches.
So this particular evening we were again discussing the latest schismatic behavior of this family and David had just gotten back in town and was present. He knew the family well, including that they were quite wealthy...After listening to us discuss how to work through the latest crisis, David matter-of-factly said, "You guys should disicpline them. The only reason you haven't is that you don't want to lose their money."
Now picture your own church session and try to imagine how this declaration from this interloper hit us.
Well, it seemed to all of us that God had spoken through David and we needed to examine his wise counsel and see if we were giving preferential treatment to this rich man. In fact, I distinctly remember being thankful that David had rebuked us and the obvious was now on the table. And I spoke first acknowledging this was likely partly true.
It's not easy to cultivate discernment. It always leads first to discernment of our own evil motives prior to examining anyone else's motives. But what wonderful work! And what wonderful friends who are faithful to wound us!
So now you have the rest of the story behind David's godly practice of what he preaches.