This past Sunday evening our congregation held its quarterly business meeting. In my report to the congregation, I recommended that the congregation adopt a new church covenant, and I introduced the words I was recommending. I didn’t take the time on Sunday evening to support the statement, I only read the words. Over the next several weeks, then, I will seek to offer support on why the church should adopt this new church covenant. I will publish these posts on this blog, print them for bulletin inserts and post them on our building bulletin board. In this post, I will introduce the text of the church covenant. Subsequent posts will answer pertinent questions such as, Why a church covenant?, Why a new church covenant?, and Why this church covenant? At the outset, I hope the members know that this is their decision. I also hope they will not feel an obligation to adopt this covenant merely because I am recommending it. I understand that my responsibility is to convince them that this is best. Here is the wording that I am recommending.
A New Church Covenant
Having been led by the Holy Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and upon the public confession of our faith, having been immersed in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We will, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, walk together in Christian love; strive for the advancement of the church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; promote its prosperity and spirituality; regularly attend its services and functions; sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; give it sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church and the spread of the Gospel to all nations.
We also will maintain our relationships with Christ through regular Bible reading, prayer, and Christian fellowship; train our children according to the Scriptures; eagerly evangelize our families and acquaintances; avoid entanglements with worldly practices and amusements, and entangling alliances with non-Christians; avoid participating in activities that would bring reproach to the name of Christ; deal justly with all whom we may encounter; avoid gossiping, backbiting and sinful anger; and zealously love and serve one another with our time, talents and skills.
We further will watch over one another in love; remember each other in prayer; aid each other in sickness and distress; cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules and principles of our Savior.
We moreover pledge that when we remove from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church of like precious faith, where we can continue to carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of the Bible. If such a church is not available, we will endeavor, with God’s help to start one.
It’s an imperfect statement, and none of these words are original to me. Improvements could still be made and I look forward to feedback and suggestions from the members. In the next post I will discuss why a local church should use a church covenant.