From the time I was a small child, the churches I’ve attended have periodically recited the following “Church Covenant” together. It was often printed and pasted into the back cover of our hymnals, so that we all had a copy to read aloud together.
It does something to “covenant” or promise something together with others. We are committing to each other and to God our Father, that we will not forsake each other. It’s a solemn occasion, as we read the words and are convicted of our failings. We purpose to do better from now on.
Really, it’s not that different from a marriage covenant, which is exactly what Ephesians 5:25-32 pictures.
While these are not the inspired Words of Scripture, I can tell that whoever wrote this covenant was familiar with all the passages in Scripture about the church. They agree with Scripture!
I’m not naive enough to think that the Church, throughout history nor throughout the world today, is always pure. Not even close. This is just as Jesus said it would be.
However, it is good for us to periodically reaffirm our covenant to the local body of believers of which we are a part. We acknowledge that none of us is perfect but that we will stick together.
Further, we affirm that “if there is no such church, we shall seek, with the Lord’s help, to establish one.” Amen!
- Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior,
- and on the public confession of our faith, having been immersed in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
…we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.We purpose 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 comfort;
- to promote its prosperity and spirituality;
- to attend its services regularly,
- to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines;
- to give it a sacred pre-eminence over all institutions of human origin;
- to give faithfully of time and talents in its activities;
- to contribute cheerfully and regularly, as God has prospered us, to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations.
We also propose…
- to maintain family and private devotions;
- to train our children according to the Word of God;
- 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 conduct;
- to avoid all gossip, backbiting and unrighteous anger;
- to abstain from all forms of activity which dishonors our Lord Jesus Christ, causes stumbling to a fellow believer or hinders the winning of a soul to Christ;
- to be zealous in our efforts to advance the cause of Christ our Savior;
- and to give Him pre-eminence in all things.
We further purpose…
- to encourage one another in the blessed hope of our Lord’s return;
- to watch over one another in brotherly love;
- to remember each other in prayer;
- to aid each other 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 seek it without delay.
We moreover purpose that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church of like faith or order where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. In the event there is no such church, we shall seek, with the Lord’s help, to establish one.
What areas of this covenant are weak in your priorities?