Restoration

(posted May 22, 2014)

The word of God asks, “Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?” (Ps. 24:3) And the answer is given in verse 4, “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God.”

In order to serve as a leader at New Philly, we require that you have clean hands and a pure heart. We’re not looking for you to be perfect but that you relate rightly with God through the grace of Jesus Christ. This means that you be transparent and honest about struggles you may have (i.e., feelings of despair, anxiety, temptations in lust). Our accountability structures are setup so you can share with trusted leaders about any such struggles.

When it comes to particular grievous sins that are confessed, our pastors will interpret such struggles as symptomatic of a deeper issue. In such cases, we take leaders off leadership and put them on restoration for a season. We do this no matter how gifted a leader is or what the need of the ministry is. We do this because of our commitment to nurture an emotionally healthy and spiritually pure leadership team, one that is pleasing to the Lord.

What sins would put a leader on restoration?
Examples of grievous sins that can put leaders on restoration:

  • dabbling in occultic activity/sin or idolatry (includes ancestor worship)
  • use of narcotics, abuse of pharmaceutical drugs, or debauchery (drunkenness)
  • adulterous activity (for those who are married): emotional affairs
  • heavy sexual activity (for the unmarried): petting or kissing on private areas and on female breasts, manual stimulation to climax, oral sex, any kind of penetration, coitus

What sins would result in my leadership being immediately revoked?
Involvement in any of the following is much more serious and would result in your leadership being immediately revoked, especially if you are an active leader or above:

  • lying or covering up about serious sin patterns
  • practicing sorcery, witchcraft, divination
  • secretly or publicly dating a non-believer
  • adulterous activity (for those who are married): sexual affairs
  • criminal activity: rape, theft, murder, drug trafficking or selling

What if there is a lack of repentance?
Please be mindful that refusal to repent (and refusal to keep to the fruit of repentance) can turn any of these cases into a church discipline case in which the person can be excommunicated from our community. It goes without saying that we hold anyone who joins leadership with our church to a higher standard:

  Luke 12:48 (ESV), But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

 

What’s the purpose of restoration?
The aim of the restoration is to remove the leader from leadership for a season so they can focus on getting healthy first (and if applicable, getting their marriage healthy). During the restoration, we want the fallen person to deal with any root/heart issues, take steps to fortify areas of weakness, and then to eventually be restored unto leadership again.

Who oversees the restoration?
All restoration cases are overseen by your campus pastor. They determine the length, prescribe any steps relevant to your case, and oversee your follow through. The New Philly lead pastors are given full disclosure of all restoration cases so they can be in prayer and advise accordingly, if needed.

Are there testimonies of leaders who’ve completed the restoration process?
Yes. We have a handful of leaders who have been restored after falling into all kinds of sin from sexual and occultic to debauchery. The restoration process lasted 3 months for some persons while others took over a year. The pastors do not air out a person’s sins when someone is put on restoration. Only a few mature pastors know. We choose instead to cover that person’s dignity and celebrate when they are fully restored. Unfortunately, not everyone completes the restoration process.

I’m not a leader yet, what if I sin grieveoulsy during NRTC[1]?
New recruits are not put on restoration. They are advised to be committed to a discipleship group and to take NRTC in the future. If the sin is serious, we may recommend you take NRTC in the distant future after you’ve walked out steps to victory and health.

During the restoration, the following is required:

  • weekly attendance at Sunday Swim (no UAs [2])
  • weekly attendance & tithing at Sunday service (no UAs)
  • weekly attendance in Community Group (no UAs)
  • bi-weekly or monthly meeting with your campus pastor (face to face)
  • direct accountability inquiries into the type of sin the person fell into

During the restoration, the following are off limits (unless an exception is made):

  • serving in any public leadership capacity (ministry/missions team leadership, praise team, etc.)
  • prophesying or laying hands on people
  • attending Furnace meetings or gaining access to Furnace materials
  • starting a romantic relationship

At the completion of the restoration
At the end of the restoration process, your campus pastor will meet with you and make the decision to either restore you or extend your restoration process (e.g.: if you fall into the same area of sin, your restoration may be extended or dissolved). The lead pastors will be made aware of the progress and have the authority to agree or veto the decision.

What if restoration is not taken seriously?
If the person does not take the restoration process seriously and they do not follow through, their restoration process can be prematurely dissolved by the campus pastor (and their leadership revoked). It is up to the campus pastor whether to do this or make exceptions and extend grace where they see fit. Anyone dissolved from restoration will need to retake NRTC to join leadership.

What if a person commits the same sin and lies about it during the restoration?
If an active leader commits the same sin that put them on restoration and lies about it (or takes over seven days to confess), their restoration may be dissolved and they may be subject to church discipline (aka excommunication). If a reserve leader does this, their restoration will simply be dissolved.

What if the person is dissolved from restoration and continues to sin in the same area?
If the person was an active leader, the campus pastor may pursue church discipline (aka excommunication). If the person is a reserve leader, the campus pastor may treat the case as a healing and deliverance matter before pursuing church discipline steps. We hold active leaders to a higher level of responsibility and accountability because they can bring great damage to the body of Christ with sinful and selfish decisions.

Footnotes
  1. NRTC stands for New Recruits Training Camp, the new leaders training of New Philly.
  2. UA stands for unexcused absence.

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