By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
It’s true. The consistory affirmed the recommendation of the elders to shift from “Confessing Members” to “Covenant Partners.” So, the action was not to end all membership, but to clarify what membership is with some new (yet) old language.
On the one hand this was a pretty quick decision, on the other hand we’ve discussed the issues and possible changes for years. I have had many discussions with the elders over the years about communicating what membership means to the congregation and trying to understand why some take the membership vows, but then do not make any real effort to live them out. We moved forward in March, largely because we have individuals wanting to join us now.
With leaving the RCA, we are no longer restricted to their terminology and needed to update our bylaws to fill in what we left to the RCA’s Book of Church Order. So we discussed the following terms…
In the end, the elders preferred “Covenant Partners” for several reasons. They are addressed more fully in the new “Covenant Partnership” packet.
The Covenant Partnership Packet Update
Elders have just received a copy along with our youth who are interested in joining at the youth service in May. We do plan to distribute this to all in the near future and are planning on a “Covenant Partnership Class” for guests and attendees on May 15 from 11am-1pm.
The primary reason for the change was to bring greater weight to the vows which we make in joining a church, as we believe the Bible clearly calls us to be devoted to one another (Acts 2:42-47), to love one another (John 13), and partner with one another (Phil. 1:4-5). There really is to be a linking of arms as we serve each other and witness to the world.
We covenant with one another to build trust in one another and faith in God. As we make commitments to believe and act in God-honoring ways and then urge each other along in living out those commitments, we build our faith, maturity, and unity. As well, the practice of covenanting is all throughout the Bible. So, we encourage you to join us in covenanting and partnering in ministry.
I join Paul in his prayer for Philemon that you may be greatly blessed in partnering with other believers.
“I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 1:6)
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