One question you may be wondering is how will this be used? First of all, it will be something that all leaders will be expected to covenant to. They will be asked to sign it and turn it in to whoever leads their ministry team and they will eventually turn it into staff. But who “keeps” it isn’t important … the important part is that each of us commit to it.
But, here’s the problem … some of us, certainly myself included, will look at the Covenant and feel pretty overwhelmed … I look at it and think “Well, yeah, I got that point pretty well covered … I asked Jesus to be my savior … and here’s one over here that I’m not too bad on this one but, whoa! I have some work to do in a few of these other areas. I mean, do I really exhibit all the fruits of the spirit all the time? Even when I’m driving in heavy traffic or when my kid isn’t behaving like the ten-year-old mature adult I think he should be?”
Well, let’s talk about this a bit. Ever hear the saying that Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. I don’t know about you but sometimes I really, really like to stand under that saying.
There’s comfort in it, isn’t there? Perhaps even a wee bit of smugness.
But it bothers me. To me, this saying indicates an acceptance of our imperfection. Even a sense of giving up. Sort of a “I am who I am but God loves me anyway” mentality. And that’s true, He pursues us and loves us with great determination but yet, for me, I don’t see hope in the statement that I’m not perfect but I am forgiven. I see acceptance and resignation – almost a willingness to live where I’m at because, well, I’m forgiven.
To me, that limits our vision and if we limit our vision, we limit our ability to fulfill God’s vision for us. Just simply saying that we’re not perfect but God loves us anyway and forgives us, even though it’s very true, doesn’t have the encouragement and hope that we’re always growing into what God wants us to be.
As we look at our leadership covenant, there are a couple of ways we can think about it. We can look at it as sort of a statement … sort of a “Well, I’m a ministry leader at my church and, as such, these are the things I embody.” Almost like saying “I’ve arrived … this is me … and if I fall short at some time, well, I’m not perfect but I am forgiven.”
That’s one way to look at it but I know that for me personally, I need to look at it differently. I mean, as we review the points on the Leadership Covenant, you will see a few things which are cut and dry but there are other things that take work … that require stretching and growing. I personally can’t look at those things and say “Well, if I mess up, I’m forgiven” but instead I need to look at these things, study the scripture behind each element of the covenant and realize that I haven’t arrived. That I need to keep working.
I need to look at these things and know that, in order to allow my personal ministry to be as effective as possible, I need to keep trying my best to live into these things. I need go deeper into God and the Holy Spirit, and always strive for more because I believe that ultimately God’s vision for the impact that each of us can have on building His Kingdom is huge.
So, let’s not look at the Leadership Covenant as stating that we have arrived – that we have it altogether – but rather use it as a compass or a guiding light for what we’re always trying to grow into.
Following is the text from the Leadership Covenant.
The purpose of this Covenant is to set forth the goals, expectations, and commitments of Spiritual Leadership. Those involved in the Leadership Community covenant to live out the following:
I have trusted in Christ alone for my salvation and I realize that my standing with Christ and my value as a believer are based not on my performance but on God’s grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
I will live my life in a way that exhibits God’s best as living testimony to His love, grace, and redemptive power.
“For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace-loving, and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him.” (I Timothy 3:2-4)
I will endeavor to exhibit the Fruits of the Spirit at all times as the natural manifestation of a life renewed in Christ.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-24)
Knowing that I am on a faith journey, I will be teachable and seek to be a fully devoted follower of Christ by spending consistent time with God in prayer and study, both in private and in Christian community.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever!” (II Peter 3:18)
I will seek out fertile soil and invest my life in others so that they might grow in their own faith journeys. I will understand and share the stories that God has woven into my life, knowing that they have been given to me for the purpose of reaching others.
“Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.” (II Corinthians 9:6)
I realize and will strive to embody servant leadership. Additionally, I will enlist and equip others to serve God according to their gifts.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (I Peter 4:10)
SMALL GROUP COMMUNITY
I will participate in a small group community, encourage the same in others and, as I am called, I will lead groups into biblical community (prayer, Scripture, care and service), serving with a leadership team including a leader, apprentice, and host. I will lead my group to actively participate in appropriate visioning, planning, and training.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 4:42-47)
Realizing that all I have is not truly mine, I will cheerfully, generously, and regularly give to God through the local church. The biblical starting point for financial stewardship is a tithe (10 percent) to the local church. I will also seek to be a good steward of any money used by my ministry group.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” (Malachi 3:10)
I recognize that growth happens in my life as I surrender all of me to God as my way of worshipping. I covenant to surrender my agenda, my time, my purposes, my thoughts, and my body to God’s Kingdom Values.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (Romans 12:1)