In the unfolding of Church History, it fell to the Baptist movement to develop the idea of a gathered church. This was defined as a family of born-again believers who voluntarily gather together around Christ and the ordinances of the Gospel.
But as in the natural, so in the spiritual: A family cannot live together in peace or function effectively unless its members understand, agree with, and abide by the purpose, goals, and rules of the family. Hence, the church covenant, by which prospective members may declare their willingness to participate in the local church family according to its stated guidelines, and by which existing members may remind themselves of those guidelines on a regular basis.
The covenant presented here is the one we read together at quarterly meetings and, on occasion, around the Lord’s Table. We use the same covenant, with appropriate modifications, for the induction of new members into our church.
Having been brought by the Holy Spirit to repentance and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and having been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we do now solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with each other.
With God as our help, we will seek to promote the edification of our church by faithfully engaging in personal and family devotions; by raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; by fulfilling all family obligations and commitments; by regularly assembling ourselves together for worship, teaching, prayer, and the observance of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; by welcoming and personally testing instruction in the Word of God, thereby seeking to grow towards unity in biblical truth; by praying for the members of our church family and its leaders; by discovering and using our spiritual gifts, both within and without the church; and by giving cheerfully and faithfully of our time, talent, and treasure to the work of the church.
With God as our help, we will seek to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace by walking together in Christian love; by bearing one another’s burdens, praying for one another, and helping one another; by avoiding anger, factions, gossip, and backbiting; by being slow to take offense, and, in the event of an offense, by being eager for reconciliation through repentance, confession, and forgiveness, both given and received; by willingly offering and receiving encouragement and admonition as circumstances may require; by participating in, and submitting to, the disciplinary procedures of this church in regard to doctrine and conduct; by obeying our leaders as men who are called by Christ, and who must give an account of their ministry; and by gladly living together in accordance with our Statement of Faith, Church Covenant, and Constitution.
With God as our help, we will seek the advance Christ’s kingdom by striving to be a city set on a hill, the light of the world, and the salt of the earth; by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present evil age; by offering Spirit-led testimony of our faith in Christ to family, friends, and neighbors, with gentleness and respect; by being a friend of world missions; by being thoughtful and engaged Christian citizens; by seeking to aid the poor and oppressed; and by living with humility, justice, compassion, holiness, and peace in the world.
Finally, if and when we should leave this church, we pledge to unite as soon as possible with another church in which we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
In the pursuit of these worthy goals, may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.