Response to disruption in the church?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by ForHisGlory, Feb 16, 2009.

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  1. ForHisGlory

    ForHisGlory Puritan Board Freshman

    Our church is trying to handle a unique situation and I wanted to get some more opinions with scriptual support.

    A believer has recently started attending our church who is severly bipolar and has attention deficit disorder. He has a problem with constant talking, passing out bulletins, etc. He was recently "kicked out" of another church due to his constant disruptions.

    How should the church respond to people like this.....or even with special needs......that may be disruptive to teaching and worship? My heart was saddened to hear that his former church asked him not to come.......but at the same time, how do you handle this for the good of all?
  2. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    Years ago when I was in Tucson, there was a guy in our Baptist church who sounds much like the fellow you're speaking of. They made him an official 'greeter', and also convinced him that he was needed in the nursery to help tend to the mothers caring for very young children (the sermon was piped into the nursery over a speaker). I'm not convinced that this was the right biblical thing to do, but it's what was done.

  3. Ivan

    Ivan Pastor

    I like the idea of keeping him busy, although he needs to hear the Word preached.
  4. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    We had a guy like that. I have known him for over over 25 years. He goes from church to church and disrupts everything.

    His wife is broken, his children are horribly damaged. He was kicked out of one church after another, but the Christian community wouldn't do anything about it.

    He came to my previous church, and I told the Elders that there would be problems. They ignored me, as most people will follow the path of least resistance. I asked them "if there are 6 Reformed churches in our area, and the other 5 have kicked him out, are we really helping him and his family by accepting him? Should we respect the fact that he was kicked out of the other churches?" They ignored me, and of course there was an incident. (I never got an apology from the Session).

    The main goal of church discipline is restoration. How can that happen if Churches in your area aren't communicating?

    The ideal solution will start with your church contacting the other church(es) that he's disrupted and coming to a consensus with them as to how to handle him.
  5. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Here are some thoughts - take them for what they're worth. Often it's easier to come up with ideas from afar, but they might not work in your situation.
    Tell him that the church has had trouble with people disrupting the service. Then, ask him if he would be willing to sit in the back and watch for such disturbances. If someone speaks or makes any commotion, he could write down the time, where they sat, what they were wearing and what the incident entailed. Explain that the church would rather have the leadership deal with the matter, but that it would be appreciated if he could help monitor because disturbances during the services distract people from focusing on God as we all should. He then could hand in his report at the end of services.
    It varies, and I can't know the situation, but often those diagnosed as he has been use their diagnosis as an excuse to pursue the behavior. By helping him be productive you might be able to channel his energy and attention so that he's not a distraction. And it would not be inappropriate for the pastor to lovingly ask him to please refrain from making any noise or disturbing anybody during the sermon, from the pulpit, in the event that he becomes distracting. After all, he wouldn't want to get in the way of the Holy Spirit disturbing someone, would he?
  6. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    I would start by calling the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation

    CCEF | Restoring Christ to Counseling and Counseling to the Church

    and asking if they have any relevant materials. Maybe somebody like Ed Welch (Blame it on the Brain) has something recent on dealing with bipolars.

    I know one who had "no control" over his behaviour. A friend asked if he could stop if somebody gave him a million dollars or put a gun to his head and he said "of course." . I know a severely out of control ADD kid on mega doses of ritalin and other stuff who suddenly-voila- for the very first time in his life started to obey and act calm/normal when at age 12 his Dad gave him the first whipping of his life.

    I don't want to get jumped on here for my insensitivity to this alleged chemical brain trouble, but I've known 3 bipolars and they all need to get in a time machine and go back to age 3 and get a good whacking on the rear with a wooden spoon. I'll never ever believe this stuff is uncontrollable. Please at least seek some good imput from CCEF type biblical counselors who can give you some wisdom on how to deal with it in love and truth both.
  7. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Three words: Electric shock therapy.
  8. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Thanks Lynnie. Your statements are foundational to my response. You're not alone in your position.
  9. MrMerlin777

    MrMerlin777 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    There are several classifications of bi polar disorder. For what it's worth my brother is bi polar 2 which has a psychotic element to it (He hears voices) but he is controlled with medication and would never think of disrupting a worship service as it's far too important to him that he engage in worship of our God during those times.
  10. kalawine

    kalawine Puritan Board Junior

    WOW! I can't think of a kinder and more reasonable thing to do! Considering that the sermon was piped into the nursery - good deal.

    -----Added 2/17/2009 at 01:22:26 EST-----

    I tend to lean that way myself. I once went to a Church with a "bi-polar" guy and he quit going to church because he got mad at the people on the "praise team" because everything wasn't going his way. Every time he gets ticked off he goes off and his family (including his wife) blames it on his "condition." I'm sorry (and I love this guy... truly) but I am very skeptical about "bipolarism." (4give me if I just created a new word)

    -----Added 2/17/2009 at 01:27:46 EST-----

    OK... now I'm going to show my own "bi polarism" (schizophrenia?) :lol: but your situation is one that might convince me of such a condition. This still doesn't keep me from believing that almost everybody I've known in my personal life who claim to be "bi polar" are making excuses for bad behavior.
  11. Leslie

    Leslie Puritan Board Junior

    I think it's respectful to be direct with this person. Tell him that you are aware of his having been asked to leave other churches but you want him to stay. How can the church help him to control his behavior so that you won't have to ask him to leave. Perhaps taking an extra dose of medication or having an elder sit next to him to remind him. Many of these people can't tell the difference between normal and disruptive behavior. Having someone sitting there who will put up a finger as a signal might be all he needs.
  12. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    The problem is that this is not an issue of discipline, and therefore he should not have been run out of the other congregations to begin with. Discipline deals with the heart, with sin, and severe ADD/Bi-polar problems are not to be grouped in this category. He is a brother in need of care, and thoughtful allowance should be given him by both the leadership and the people of the church.
  13. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    I have to agree with Tim. I have yet to see an ADD situation that was not based in a lack of selfdiscipline, perhaps caused by a lack of godly discipline earlier in life. The Word teaches us how to deal with such issues, but the world, who is in rebellion to such truth, will gladly find a word/disease/syndrome to make the individual a victim instead of a sinner. Chemicals and concessions are the methods used to deal with sin by the unfaithful seeking to be God. Obedience is the command of our Lord, to the embarrassment of the establishment of psychological 'science'.

  14. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    At what point should electric shock therapy be considered?
  15. Albatross

    Albatross Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't know you so instead of guessing I'll ask you. Is this a serious suggestion?
  16. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    If we use the Pentateuch's law for rebellious sons, then the electric chair (or stoning) should be used when the cycle of adolescent rebellion is completed.

  17. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    Hoo, boy... I sure can attest to that, Bill. My drug-drenched alcohol-drowned sister has put my family through sheer hell all her life, but in recent years 'discovered' that she was bipolar, and now has a victimhood badge to wear. Seems to excuse every type of low and dastardly deed. Nice trump card to have up her sleeve. If anything, her behavior looks more like sociopathy. She's even tried to harm my children to get what she wants.

    But I do believe that there are people with real problems that are not necessarily covers for bad behavior or lack of self-discipline. Donald's brother sounds like one, and thanks be to God he has found the right treatment. In a case like that, I think Adam is spot on.
  18. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    You mean you don't have electrified pews?
  19. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    Bill, I pray you NEVER see any serious mental illness manifest in your family: it ain't pretty. And it is very very real. :2cents: ADD and ADHD are rare (they are way overdiagnosed IMNSHO) but the real thing is a handicap. The parents have and continue to do everything that they can but the kids need the Ritalin to be functional.
  20. Albatross

    Albatross Puritan Board Freshman

    Can you explain this more?

    -----Added 2/17/2009 at 11:31:31 EST-----

    The whole atmosphere is electric, especially when DC Talk is blaring.
  21. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior


    While I will agree with you that there are many persons who fall into trap of attempting to cover sin by means of a false diagnosis, that is not true for a good number of folk. My adopted son has had difficulties that would be diagnosed as ADD since he was little. It was not because of a lack of loving and biblical discipline, nor because he has a stubborn and sinful heart (although that is the case at times), but rather because he was born under the influence of his mother's crack addiction, and he has genuine difficulties in some of his brain functions. These have improved over time, but may never fully be overcome apart from God's intervening grace.

    This holds true for some dear, young children that I know who are affected by fetal alcohol syndrome, and other issues. These things are genuine neurological disorders, and the best biblical counselors (including the guys at CCEF) recognize this.
  22. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    Actually, my family is riddled with it. Coincidentally, my family is also riddled with unbelief. In my family, such conditions are justified through medical diagnosis. In the godly families I know, the problem either does not exist or, if phyisical proof of the condition is paramount, the afflicted conscienciously strive to overcome said condition in Christ. Note that I have one cousin who actually pulled off the insanity plea for the murder of his mother, so I'm not very sympathetic towards this issue.


    -----Added 2/17/2009 at 11:43:05 EST-----

    Such is a demonstration of His mercy, for which I am grateful. As I mentioned in the above response, there are some legitimate issues of mental illness. But even through these the sanctification brought by the Spirit of God can be seen through their struggles. It is the control of 'sanctification' through chemicals, pseudobabble and even surgery that I utterly despise. I lost an aunt through such nonsense, and have a number of family members in various prisons and institutions due to it.

  23. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    The best biblical counselors do recognize the difference between "sin nature" and a biological condition (Schizophrenia, psychosis and FAE/FAS) as Adam stated. It appears you are saying that a Christian family with a Schizophrenic child will have the child "overcome the condition through Christ" and NOT seek medical attention? :eek:
  24. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    Certainly. Consider Deuteronomy 21:18-21...

    If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

    In a Godly home, where the child has been raised up in the fear and admonition of the Lord in accordance to the Scriptures, and they refuse to be productive members of the community, they are to be cast out as opposed to medicated and molly-coddled. It is interesting that if you look at the symptoms of ADD and the folks diagnosed with it, rebelliousness, drunkeness (or drug abuse, same thing) and other similar issues mentioned in the passage above are almost always in tandem with the ADD behaviour. What is missing in the vast majority of the ADD cases is the upraising in the fear and admonition of the Lord. But where that has been done, there is no excuse.


    -----Added 2/18/2009 at 12:01:52 EST-----

    No, I did not say that (Gee, I seem to be misunderstood alot tonight). I'm not a Christian Scientist who believes that all of medicine is wrong. But I did say that in a Christian family and dealing with a Christian sufferer, there will be progress and a willingness by the afflicted to overcome the physical issues. However, where Christ is lacking, surrender and/or apathy will reign.
  25. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    The problem is that most psychological diagnoses are subjective. They don not include consistent objective testing. It's based on observation according to the experts experience and education. If there is a medical test to verify a condition then it is no longer psychological, it's medical. The very term "psychological" deals with the soul. Second Timothy means exactly what it says.
    2 Timothy 3:16-17
    16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    Medical doctors deal with the body. Pastors deal with the soul. If a psychologist finds a medical issue he refers the patient to a medical doctor. Otherwise it's a spiritual problem. Consider, before responding, that chemical imbalances are physical problems, must be testable objectively and can be treated by a medical doctor.
  26. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    Have you ever met someone with severe disabilities? While it may be that discipline is lacking in some people, it may be that there are real problems with others. My son did not speak until he was 3 years old. He is now 5. He has pervasive developmental delays that are mostly in the area of language and communication. He can repeat sentences he hears (including long passages from veggie tales and other videos), but he still has some trouble with "yes" and "no" and understanding which is which. He still does not get first and second person pronouns right (uses "you" when he means "me"). What you are inferring is that everyone that has any problem has to be because of disciplinary problems rather than other problems. Do you not believe that the body is fallen as well as the mind? If someone can't understand what they are being told (they cannot put it into their own words and repeat it back to you) then how do you determine they are being disobedient?

    Sure, there are cases where a person is using a disability as an excuse for not trying as hard as they might. But that is NO excuse for thinking the worship of God is only for those that can sit still and "behave". Jesus wanted the little children brought to him, and for 4 of the 5 children God has blessed me with, they learned early and quickly that worship is to be a place of quiet and consideration for others. It took discipline, and often involved removing them from the service for the good of others. The exception does exist ... the child that just does not understand even why they would be receiving discipline. Does the church (the body of Christ) devalue that individual member? Do they presume that is not one for whom Jesus died? Is that person relegated to the outside the worship? (Don't presume that "piping in the sermon" is what worship is, it isn't. It is all of what is bracketed by the call to worship ending with the benediction.)

    While the man may be disruptive, there are ways of helping that do not discard. If he is truly facing a situation in which it is beyond his control, then would you call him a sinner? If an epileptic was a member of the congregation, and had seizures during the service, would you tell them they were not allowed to be in the service? If you answer you would prohibit him from the service (even if you gave an excuse of "for his own safety") I would think that you were worried more about your own experience in the service than the worship of God. The worship service is to God, not us.

    It may be that this man should have a place to calm down when he is disruptive. It might be that a deacon should be assigned to assist him. It would seem that if the problem is medical, and drugs do not fully control it, that it is a physical problem, not a spiritual problem.
  27. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

  28. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    My Nephew once ate part of a Church Bulletin. I looked over and saw him chewing on something , I said:"What are you eating?" "NOTHING!" "Don't lie boy, open your mouth!" WAD of paper in that fool kids mouth! I told him to swallow, he did then about 5 minutes later he puked it up. A lady behind us said poor dear! What's the matter? I said :"He was chewing on a a bulletin! I made him swallow it." She goes: You should be LOCKED up!" I said "Why me lady, I know better than to eat paper."I don't really have any suggestions or solutions for this case, I had not thought about that in a long time and it just made me remember that. Sorry.
  29. Honor

    Honor de-cool

    I would say if the church has no probs with a baby crying in church or a the sounds of small children who don't understand than they should be equally as understanding of a grown man with a mental disablility...that said I like the suggestion that someone sit with him and give him a signal if he becomes to loud.
  30. Brian Withnell

    Brian Withnell Puritan Board Junior

    One thing that seems to be the case in a lot of people is that they have a lot more faith in doctors to be able to diagnose what the cause is of a problem than what I have seen. Before there were microscopes, bacteria were unknown, but still caused a lot of diseases that killed. While there are some seizure disorders for which a "cause" is known, there are just as many for which the cause is unknown and at this time unknowable. Some people hallucinate for no apparent reason (medical science has not yet found out why). One of the more famous cases is that of John Nash ... why he had recurrent hallucinations nobody knows. That he did is not questioned. At this time medical science cannot tell us the why for some diseases (that is there is no quantifiable, measurable, deviation from "normal" but there is a well documented difference to what is happening within the mind.)

    If we acknowledge seizures without being able to quantify them other than electrical activity in the brain (which is what all behavior starts as) do we really want to say there are no other things which we have not found the cause for yet?

    Sinful behavior (directly violating the commands of God) is one thing. We can say without a doubt that someone that attacks another person, even if they were acting because of hallucination, is sinning in the attack (voices telling someone to do something don't give an excuse for wrong behavior). But before we rise to condemn someone for actions that are inconvenient we better be able to defend those condemnations to the God by whom we will be judged.
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