Monday, December 15, 2008

Covenant Sunday at Neighborhood Church

Last night I walked our church through our new membership covenant. I've been working on this for about six months, and it was really great to finally be at this point in the life of our church. I shared three phases that people move through, and I wanted to put it here as well. I stole some of this language from my friend Hugh Halter, who co-wrote the excellent book The Tangible Kingdom.

If you'd like to hear the message, you can download it from our website or subscribe via Itunes.

This is the Inclusive Community. Anyone is welcome, no matter what you believe, how you live, what you look like, where you come from, etc. This is the “Come and See” message of Jesus (John 1). And it’s not just “come on Sunday night and see.” It’s “Observe how we live, how we care for one another, and how we love our neighbor as ourselves. Just come and be with us.

We recognize that many of us have lots of baggage and wounds when it comes to church. Our hope is that over time, people will like what they “come and see.” If they’ve had stereotypes of what a church is, many of these will have been broken through. If they’ve had baggage and wounds, many of these will have been healed through our time together. This phase occurs when people begin to participate relationally, or to serve, or to give.

No matter what phase you are in, we will continue to issue the call to follow Jesus. We will call you to give your life for His mission and for the instrument that He has chosen to carry out His mission: the local church. Those of you who answer that call move to the third phase, which is partnership, or ownership. This is where you decide that this mission isn’t just about Robert and Jason. You recognize that God has called you here.

Whereas the message of Observation was "Come and see," the message of Partnership is “Come and die” (Mark 8:34-35). Those of us who are called into partnership together for a covenant community.

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