Recently our church family (Henderson’s First Baptist) unanimously adopted a revised church covenant. A simple Google search reveals a number of people who think such covenants are unbiblical and a number of others who believe church covenants are helpful in teaching Christians how to live before God and one another. Needless to say, I fall into the latter camp.
Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” Church covenants go a long way in helping us stimulate love and good deeds in the body of Christ. Furthermore, church membership becomes more meaningful when members are challenged to live under the accountability of one another before God. Imagine a man and woman skipping the “Wedding Vows” portion of their wedding ceremony. What would be the point?
I am grateful that our membership has adopted the following updated and revised church covenant, a covenant we believe every member can keep. We look forward to bringing it into the center of our membership process.
(Adopted unanimously July 13, 2011)
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 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 engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and peace; to promote its spirituality and fruitfulness; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, and the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior throughout the world.
We also engage to maintain family and personal devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to seek God’s help in abstaining from all drugs, food, drink, and practices which bring harm to the body or jeopardize our own or another’s faith.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church of like faith and doctrine where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.