A church with a hundred active members, in other words, generally deals with a major case of church discipline (i.e. adultery, fraud, child abuse) every three years or so, while a church with 30 active members generally deals with something like this about once a decade.
Okay, maybe my figures are off . . . but here's what I've learned from the situations I've been through:
- Make sure the church secretary knows what to say over the phone before church members start calling to find out what's happening.
- Call your elders personally and let them know what's happening before you meet as a group.
- Decide at the Elders Meeting whether or not to take a "time out" at the Business Meeting so that you can discuss this without the person who's up for discipline being there.
- Let church members know in advance what will be discussed at the Business Meeting without going into too details, i.e. "We will be discussing what to do about a problem that's come up with one of our members."
- If the person involved asks to have their membership dropped, you must comply with their request -- and you should vote this without any discussion.
- As always, keep a log of all phone calls and discussions -- and make sure your Conference officers know what's going on!