OUR CHURCH COVENANT
A church covenant is a promise. It is a promise made to God and one another by a group of Christians. It is a promise to live together distinctly as Christians, by God's grace.
From their earliest gatherings in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries churches have written and taken church covenants. They have established constitutions and rules of order to govern church, business. They have written countless creeds and confessions of faith to declare their common understanding of Christian doctrine. But they have also written just as many church covenants. A church covenant is a statement of how we pledge, by God's grace, to live out the Christian faith together. They were commonly taken verbally by new members of the church (sometimes even signed) and were regularly read together by members of the church before taking communion. In fact, in the late 19th century, it was the practice of this church to meet together the Thursday evening before communion was taken in order to have a "Covenant Meeting" in which the members would re-affirm their commitment to God and each other in the words of the covenant.
Below is a shortened version of a church covenant which had been written in New Hampshire in 1833.
Having, as we trust, been brought by Divine Grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with each other.
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We will walk together in brotherly love, as becomes the members of a Christian Church; exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require.
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.
We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.
We will rejoice at each other's happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other's burdens and sorrows.
We will seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life.
We will work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines.
We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
May God continue His work here among and through us as we covenant together anew to serve Him here at Renewed Life Church.