Membership Covenant Renewal (Updated)

 

When you joined our church family, you made a commitment to us, and we made a commitment to you.

This Lord’s Day, February 26, 2012, I want to include in our worship service a Membership Covenant Renewal Ceremony wherein those of you who are members will renew membership vows listed below. These vows are an expansion of the four short vows you made when you first made Profession of Faith about two years ago. A one-page Membership Covenant Renewal Form will be read and signed by the member to ratify your covenant vows.

Covenant renewal ceremonies are rooted in the Scriptures. Throughout human history, God made covenants with his people and their children (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David), and Christ was the perfect fulfillment of all these covenants. In dealing with his people, God renewed his covenant repeatedly because his people are a forgetful people (Exod 24:7; Deut 29:1; Josh 24; Neh 8; 1Cor 11:24-25). In “Covenantal Summons: When God Gathers His People in Worship,” Michael Horton describes how every Lord’s Day worship service is a covenant renewal service.

When you joined our church family, you made a commitment to the church, and the church made a commitment to you. Every member here—pastor and members alike—shares in the following responsibilities:

  1. Faithfully attend Lord’s Day worship services, morning and evening (later). Your most important responsibility as a member of this church is to faithfully attend official worship services on the Lord’s Day or other days. Unless you are sick, working, or travelling, or have some other legitimate reason, we expect you to be here (Heb 10:24-25).
  2. Strive to live a godly life. “As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1Pet 1:15-16). The world views Christ through the members of His church, so be on your guard: “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (Col 4:5).
  3. Faithfully attend Sunday classes, Bible studies, prayer meetings, lectures and seminars. Lectures and seminars are offered when opportunities arise, for example, when Reformed pastors and teachers become available. You are strongly encouraged to attend these meetings and events to help you attain spiritual knowledge and maturity.
  4. Be willing to serve using whatever gifts the Spirit has given you. All of you are vital members of the one Body of Christ that consists of a variety of members, services and activities (1Cor 12). After being members of our church for a few years, men may be nominated for the office of “elder” or “deacon.” You must serve, “not under compulsion, but willingly… [and] eagerly” (1Pet 5:2).
  5. Support the church financially by giving cheerfully and regularly. Our weekly offerings support many aspects of our work, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations. Our weekly offerings support many aspects of our work, including the  pastor’s salary (Gal 6:6-7; 1Tim 5:17-18), church expenses, the spread of the Gospel (Matt 28:19), and the relief of the poor in the church (Rom 12:13, 15:25-27).
  6. Witness for Christ. It is your duty as a Christian to be a witness for Christ so that others will believe (John 4:28, 29, 39; Acts 18:26). Though we do not change our worship, our church life, or our beliefs in order to attract people, we do strive to be growth-oriented. We encourage our members to invite friends, family, and co-workers to church, and to be genuinely friendly and welcoming to visitors, and to pray for their salvation.
  7. Be devoted to other members. We encourage everyone to initiate spending time with their fellow church members not only in church activities, but outside of church. We should have a selfless attitude, giving of ourselves, and only then, over time, expecting to be blessed with closer friends, and walking and growing together in brotherly love (Rom 12:10-12).
  8. Maintain a healthy membership commitment. Sadly, personal conflicts or dissatisfaction may sometimes come up in our church. As in a marriage, we do not bail out at signs of trouble, but we work together toward mutual correction, encouragement and contentment. We must be mature, and communicate openly, humbly, and patiently with the pastor and elders, if and when situations arise. All the while, the pastor and elders must love us, and be devoted to serving Christ and all His people here.
  9. At least once a year, make yourself available for “family visitation.” The pastor and elders attempt to officially visit each family or individual member of the church at least once every year in the member’s home. The purpose of the visit is a joyful one—to encourage you in the Christian life, and to hear how you are doing so that we can pray for you and help you. At anytime, you can call the pastor or elders if you need anything (Heb 13:17).
  10. If you have children, teach them at home and send them to Sunday Bible class. Although the primary duty of providing discipline and instruction in the Lord” rests on the parents (Eph 6:4; Deut 6:7), the church supplements this home instruction for our children ages three through high school with catechism lessons every Lord’s Day.
  11. Participate in congregational meetings called by the elders and deacons. At least two times a year, the pastor and elders call a congregational meeting. If you absolutely cannot attend this meeting, you should become informed about the meeting and participate by absentee ballot.
  12. Participate in church-sponsored activities other than worship services. To promote harmonious and closer relationships among members, we sponsor annual retreats and summer outings. You are strongly encouraged to attend these recreational events.
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