“The Bible does not say explicitly, ‘Thou shalt have a written church covenant,’ any more than it says, ‘Thou shalt have marriage licenses,’ or, ‘Thou shalt have wedding rings,'” John Piper explains. “One way to look at it is that a church without a covenant is like a marriage without vows. Marriage vows are not spelled out in the Bible just like church covenants aren’t. Both follow necessarily from the nature of the relationships.”
Our church covenant significantly borrowed from the church covenant by Redeemer Church of Dubai. It hangs in a frame in our church foyer, with the signatures of the original members. We recite it publicly together when we take in new members. Because the language is so Scripture-saturated, it is especially meaningful to confess this together.
Feel free to adopt it or adapt it for your own purposes if you are in need of a church covenant. I’ve reprinted it below, along with a few supporting texts.
Having been brought by God’s grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we now, depending upon the Holy Spirit, establish this covenant with one another.
We will eagerly maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace by walking together in love and in the Spirit and by putting away all bitterness, anger, and injurious speech. (Eph. 4:3; Gal. 5:16, 25; Eph. 4:29, 31)
With humility and gentleness, patience and love, we will be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven us. (Eph. 4:1-2; Luke 17:3; Col. 3:13; 1 Thess. 5:11; 1 Pet. 1:22)
We will strive to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age, as we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Gal. 5:22-24; Titus 2:12; 1 Pet. 1:14)
We will not neglect to gather together, but will support and treasure the biblical preaching of the whole counsel of God, the faithful observance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the loving exercise of church discipline. (Heb. 10:25; 2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 11:26; Matt 18:17; 1 Cor. 5:13)
We will contribute cheerfully and generously to the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the advancement of the gospel both to our neighbors and the nations. (Matt. 28:19; Luke 12:33; 2 Cor. 9:7)
We will, when we move from this place, unite as soon as possible with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
In all these things, we rely on our God who has made a new and everlasting covenant with us, saying:
“They shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. . . . I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good . . . with all my heart and all my soul.” (Jer. 32:38-41)
In and because of Jesus we pray, Amen.