What’s In A Membership Covenant?

March 10, 2008 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

Lots of churches require their new members to first sign an agreement called a “Membership Covenant.”  Although the concept has been around for a long time, these agreements became far more widespread when church growth guru Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose-Driven Church, came into vogue. 

Especially since then, partly as a reaction to all things Purpose-Driven, membership covenants have generated a lot of heated emotions.  Google the phrase sometime, and you can find all sorts of analysis, much of it negative, written by Christians adamantly opposed to being forced into signing such documents.  Yet in many respects, it does make sense to have someone commit himself – in writing – to exactly what he’s getting himself into when he joins a church.

I’m not sure about all the other congregations that are part of Sovereign Grace Ministries, but I do know that their flagship church – Covenant Life Church – requires its members to sign such a membership covenant.  Apparently, in recent years, CLC has even made these agreements retroactive, demanding that longtime members go back and sign the latest version of their membership covenant.

You can view CLC’s membership covenant here, beginning on page 85.

Today I thought it’d be interesting to direct our discussion to this membership covenant.  Since many of you have recounted stories of abusive church discipline and pastoral “counseling” run amuck, I’m wondering what you think of signing an agreement such as this.  Do other Sovereign Grace churches require their members to commit themselves in writing to abide by the same procedures and regulations as Covenant Life Church does?  Did you sign such an agreement yourself?  What are your views of CLC’s positions, especially those on church discipline (“Appendix C”) and confidentiality in counseling (“Appendix G”)? 

By the way, for anyone new to the discussion, you are welcomed to post thoughts of other matters in the “comments” section here.  But for those who wish to, I think analyzing this membership covenant might be an interesting exercise.

© 2008 – 2009, Kris. All rights reserved.