SPMCB Church Covenant
Church membership covenant: Expect what the Bible expects
The difference between attenders and members can be summed up in one word: commitment. It's like the difference between couples who just "live together" and those who get married. While becoming a Christian means to commit yourself to Christ, becoming a church member means to commit yourself to other Christians. It is a commitment to a specific group of believers; a commitment to practice the one-another's of the New Testament.
Paul mentions two different types of commitment in 2 Corinthians 8:5: "First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God's will, they gave themselves to us as well." (Good News) We call these the first-base commitments. You commit yourself to Christ for salvation and then you commit yourself to other Christians for membership in our church family.
In our church we define koinonia (fellowship) as "being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ."
Jesus said that our love for each other was to be the mark of discipleship (John 13:33-34).
It is an indictment to Christianity that most believers can quote John 3:16, but they can't quote 1 John 3:16: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." When was the last time you heard a message on this verse? Today, most churches are silent about developing that level of commitment to each other.
The phrase "one another" or "each other" is used more than 50 times in the New Testament. We are commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other's burdens, forgive each other, sing to each other, submit to each other and be devoted to each other. All of these commands are what membership in a local body of believers is all about. These are the responsibilities of membership.
We only expect of our members what the Bible clearly expects of all believers. These expectations are summarized in our Membership Covenant.
The most important part of a marriage ceremony is when the man and woman exchange vows. Before witnesses and God, they make certain promises to each other. This covenant between them is the essence of the marriage. In the same way, I believe the essence of church membership is
contained in the willingness to commit to a membership covenant. It is the most important element of our membership class.
Throughout the Bible and church history, spiritual covenants have been made between people in order for mutual edification and accountability.
We have four requirements for membership:
1) A personal profession of Christ as Lord and Savior.
2) Baptism by immersion as a public symbol of one's faith.
3) Completion of the membership package.
4) A signed commitment to abide by St. Peter's membership covenant.
Here is the fact of reality: People are going to leave this church no matter what we do. People even walked away from Jesus.
This membership covenant is a way of clarifying what membership is at St. Peter.