I found this fantastic paragraph in our denomination’s new Book of Discipline. The essence of discipline is discipleship. The essence of discipleship is to develop a pattern of self-examination and openness to the correction of others, which consistently yields true contrition and repentance, along with assurance of, and growth in, grace. If the leaders of the church are seeking to make disciples, they must themselves be disciples, always modeling discipleship out of humility and love.
So it should be no surprise when a “church court” (a body of elders with church authority) repents.
If you are a pastor or elder, you must first and foremost be a disciple-maker. And disciple-makers repent.
If you are church planter, you have the unique opportunity to establish a culture of repentance. The people who are drawn into your new church will be drawn–whether they realize it or not–because they sense that it is a safe place to struggle with Christian practice, learn to repent, learn to forgive, and learn to apply the gospel of grace to their own, and others, hearts and lives. The potential elders that emerge from this group you’ve gathered will be watching closely, and much of their discipleship M.O. will be ‘caught’ by following your lead. So make it a priority. Be, and be seen to be, the lead repenter.
It’s the only way that chiefs of sinners can lead and make disciples–if they’re the chief repenters, too.