What is a covenant?

“…Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12: 1-2

 

As Christians, we are members of God’s household (Eph. 2:19) called to function, participate, and minister in a particular place within the body of Christ. A healthy body requires that each member do its part well. A healthy church requires the same: members who are sacrificially committed and well-equipped to do the works of service that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10; 4:12). Missio Dei Memphis holds its members in high regard; we expect them to lead as missionaries of the gospel to the culture. God, in his sovereignty, placed us in this city, among these people, in this century, for a reason (Acts 17:26-27).

 

The Church

The local church is a community of regenerated believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord. In obedience to Scripture they organize under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and Communion, are unified by the Spirit, are disciplined for holiness, and scatter to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission as missionaries to the world for God’s glory and their joy from Vintage Church by Mark Driscoll.

 

The church is both universal (i.e. all believers of all times and places) and local (i.e. a particular group of believers in a local gathering).

 

The New Testament is filled with beautiful metaphors of what the church is:

  • the household of God (Ephesians 2:19)
  • the bride of Christ (Revelation 21:2)
  • the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” -Romans 12: 3-8

 

Church Membership is voluntary accountability to a shared theology, vision, mission, ethic, practice, and authority -Jon Tyson

 

Being a member of Missio Dei Memphis is really about being part of a family. All members are disciples of Jesus, unified by their identity in Christ. This unity is expressed in the way they work together in loving God, loving one another like Jesus loves us, and loving non-Christians. Members who enter into a covenant with their local church are called to a higher degree of responsibility and service. At the same time, the elders and deacons are covenanted to assist members first and foremost, to love and lead, provide counsel and aid, and pray for, teach, and guide them.

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…” -1 Peter 4: 8-10

 

The Missio Dei Church membership covenant is birthed out of our love for the church body and its individual members whom we hope will experience the fullness of joy which in found only in Christ Jesus our Lord. The primary purpose of this covenant is to serve as a teaching document with three functions:

  • To clarify the biblical obligations and expectations for the pastors of Missio Dei Church and the individual members.
  • To establish the teaching and doctrinal parameters of Missio Dei Church.
  • To serve as a tool for reflection and growth toward holiness. 


A covenant is a promise by which we obligate ourselves to one another in such a way that the obligation of one party is not dependent on the faithfulness of the other (Ezek. 20:44; 36:22; Ps. 76:11; Hos. 2:19-20; 3:1; 2 Tim. 2:13). The Missio Dei Church covenant includes a statement of faith, a statement of biblical doctrine, the obligations of Missio Dei Church to its members, and the obligations of members to Missio Dei Church. Though the covenant does define the relationship between members and the church, it is first and foremost a promise made to God as a commitment to his glory and his bride, the church (Eph. 5:25).

 

As a church we have chosen to covenant together

Missio Dei Church Membership Covenant

Missio Dei Church Membership Covenant

 

This covenant is designed to give an overall understanding of what it means to be a committed part of the Missio Dei Family.

 

The Gospel- I believe the gospel is the power of God for my salvation through faith in the work of Jesus Christ and for the purpose of God's glory in restoring all of creation to himself.

 

I believe I have been saved from the penalty of sin . . . (JUSTIFICATION)

  • I believe I was an enemy of God because of my sin and rebellion against him, deserving his wrath and in need of a Savior because I was helpless to save myself.
  • I believe Jesus is the Son of God, who is fully God and fully man, and that He lived his life fully submitted to God the Father that was sinless, perfect, holy, and righteous in the place of everyone who trust in him and is exactly who scripture reveals he claimed to be.
  • I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, taking my judgment and wrath in accordance with the Scriptures
  • I believe Jesus rose from the dead bodily on the third day and appeared to many people.
  • I believe Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father and sent His Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment ruling the world and the church by love and grace.
  • I believe the Holy Spirit has made me alive in Christ, and I am now no longer condemned, but a new creation loved by God as Father, submitted to Jesus as Lord and sent and empowered by the Spirit for his mission of making disciples.

I believe I am being saved from the power of sin . . . (SANCTIFICATION)

  • I believe that the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from dead now lives in me, and I have access to resurrection power to overcome sin and Satan today.
  • I believe it is God’s will that I be sanctified – set apart to do His will and make Jesus known and His kingdom visible through my everyday life.
  • I desire to obey God and continue to grow in becoming more like Jesus and accomplishing His mission.
  • I believe I have all I need to make this a reality – His Spirit, His word, and His church – and I intend to steward all of this for His glory.
  • I will by God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk in the Spirit in holiness in all areas of life as an act of worship to Jesus Christ. Believers should strive to put certain attitudes and actions to death while stirring and stimulating love and good deeds through the Spirit. 

I believe I will be saved from the presence of sin . . . (GLORIFICATION)

  • I believe Jesus will one day return and make an end to sin, suffering, evil, and brokenness.
  • I believe there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
  • I believe He will judge the living and the dead; all those who put their trust in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection on their behalf will enjoy being in God’s presence forever in the new heaven and new earth.
  • I believe all those who trust in something or someone other than Jesus for their life and justification before God will be separated from God forever due to their rejection of God’s son in their place.
  • I believe it is our job as the Church to therefore proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls and to display the foretaste of the future so that people will hunger for it and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
  • I believe I have been sent in the power of the Spirit to make Jesus known and His kingdom visible through my everyday life.

Additional Commitment to the Church

  • I understand the importance of submission to church leadership and will be diligent to preserve unity and peace; I will adhere to Missio Dei Church’s position on primary theological issues, and I will not be divisive over secondary issues (Eph. 4:1-3; Heb. 13:7, 17).
  • I agree that the sixty-six books of the Bible are the ultimate doctrinal authority on all matters (Is. 55:11; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Tim. 3:15-16; Heb. 4:12).
  • I understand that Missio Dei Church doctrine is also communicated and specified through various channels, such as sermons, published materials, and other writings distributed by Missio Dei Church.
  • I have been or will be baptized according to the scriptures to testify before the world that Jesus is my Savior and Lord publically demonstrating my commitment as a disciple of Jesus, identifying with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, His Church, His Kingdom, and His Mission through my life

 

Gospel Identity

I believe that I have been given a new identity in Christ because of the gospel. I am now a part of God’s family on mission, sent to serve our world and continually learn to walk in his ways. Jesus calls all of His followers to be radically committed to Him (Matthew 16:24-26). We believe that commitment to Jesus includes a commitment to his bride, the church. As a family, Missio Dei Church expresses our commitment to Jesus and His bride through involvement in Sunday worship gatherings (GATHER), living life together in a missional community (GO), being discipled and making disciples as we grow (GROW), all of which provide ample opportunities to steward the gifts and talents God has given us (GIVE).

 

Gather

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we are to “Regularly gather together in order to stir one another up toward love and good deeds.”

  • I commit to make Sunday morning worship gatherings (with the larger Missio Dei Family) a priority.
  • I commit to come to the worship gatherings expecting to worship, give, serve, and learn.
  • I commit to come to the gathering prayerfully, expecting God’s Spirit to move among His people.

Grow

In 2 Peter 3:18, it says that God’s people should “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  • I commit to be actively involved and take my discipleship seriously through the means of grace in the community our the church[1]
  • I commit to live a holy life seeking to bring God glory by living according to the scriptures and the wisdom they reveal and seek counsel when it seems unclear. I will practice faithful and purity in singleness and in marriage, I will refrain from the use of illegal drugs, drunkenness, gossip, and other sinful behavior the scripture deems foolish that diminish the testimony of Jesus and his church seeking through the Spirit to bring them to death by the power of the Spirit (see Galatians 5 and our endnotes)[i]
  • I commit to agree with the scriptures over the culture.

 

Give

We give of ourselves not to gain approval, but in response to the fact that God has given us everything in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • I commit to steward I will steward the resources God has given each 
Member, including time, talents, spiritual gifts and finances. This stewardship includes regular financial giving, service and participation in community that is sacrificial, cheerful and voluntary to Missio Dei Church (offering plate in our Sunday Gathering or online throughout the week) (Matthew 25:14-30; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 1 Peter 4:10-11). 

  • Although we are no longer under the Old Covenant law, we let the tithe (10% of our gross income) be a tutor for us for where we might begin and an indicator showing us that our hearts are still in need of gospel transformation.
  • I commit to giving of my time / talents by serving the body in Sunday worship gatherings (i.e. Hospitality,  Missio Kids, coffee, communion, music, audio / visual, etc.).

Go

Jesus tells his disciples in John 20:21: “As the Father has sent me, so now I send you, and he breathed on them and said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit.”

  • I commit to be an active part of a missional community.
  • I commit to make Jesus known and His kingdom visible in my everyday life with our community.

 

Additionally

  • I believe that the Pastors of Missio Dei Church are called, competent men of character. I will labor to make the service of my leaders a joy and not a burden, and I will submit to their teaching and to the discipline of the elders and congregation, with thanksgiving, knowing that on the last day an accounting will be required of those charged with the oversight of souls. I understand that all Christians, including the elders, are called to submit to the authority of the Scriptures[2] as the final arbiter on all issues.
  • I commit to not grumble against others, choosing instead to be patient with them, building others up, admonishing the idle, encouraging the fainthearted, and helping the weak.
  • I will take seriously the responsibility of Christian freedom, especially actions or situations that could present stumbling block to another (1 Corinthians 8:1-13)
  • When I sin by grace the God through the work of the Spirit’s conviction I will confess it and bring it to death by repenting of my particular sin by turning from it to Jesus throughout my life until my death or His return.  
  • I will submit to discipline by God through his Holy Spirit, to follow biblical procedures for church discipline where sin is evident in another- the hope of such discipline being repentance and restoration. I will submit to discipline by church leadership if the need should ever arise (Ps. 141:5; Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-5; 2 Cor. 2:5-8; Gal. 6:1-5 8; 1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Tim. 2:25; Titus 1:9; 3:10-11; Heb. 12:5-11; Rev. 2:5-7, 14-25).
  • I will strive to live out of vision, mission, and values in community together expressed in the membership primer.
  • If the Holy Spirit leads us to move from the Missio Dei Family, I commit to unite with a likeminded church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant, keeping ourselves under the oversight and discipline of Jesus’ church.

 

As a follower of Jesus and a child of God, I covenant with my Missio Dei Family to live out the commitments stated in this covenant.

 

I have received and read the membership primer and membership covenant and commit to live out this vision, mission, and values as a diligent, faithful disciple of Jesus, that my identity would be in Him, my worship would be for Him, my fellowship would be through Him, and my interaction with the culture would be for His glory.

 

I understand that this covenant obligates me to the members of Missio Dei Church and is an acknowledgement of my submission to the pastors of the church. I accept the responsibility to notify Missio Dei Church leadership if at any time I can no longer commit to this covenant, or if I have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding Missio Dei Church.

 

If at any time an individual member feels as though the corporate body is not remaining faithful to the requirements of the covenant, it is the responsibility of the individual member to lovingly and humbly express concerns to the pastors. If the pastors are unwilling to change and pursue covenant faithfulness, then the member is freed from his or her membership obligations and encouraged to seek membership elsewhere given the churchs disobedience. In addition, certain circumstances may provide sufficient and righteous grounds to transfer membership elsewhere. 

 

 

 

Signature_________________________________________   Date________________




[1] “Active” is defined as meeting regularly with your church family by gathering together on Sunday, throughout the week with your Missional Community, Discipleship Opportunities on Sunday, and DNA group for the purpose of Discipline the head, Nurturing the heart, and Acting this out with your hands / words when you are not hindered.

[2] https://www.the1689confession.com/1689/chapter-1


[i] I will practice complete chastity unless married and, if married, complete fidelity within heterosexual and monogamous marriage. Complete chastity and fidelity means, among other things, that regardless of a Member’s marital status, such Member will pursue purity and abstain from sexually immoral practices such as cohabitation, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, premarital sex and pornography and avoid situations that would be particularly tempting in this regard. (Job 31:1; Prov. 5; Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Cor. 6:9-7:16; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-18; Hebrews 13:4). o  Each Member will seek to preserve the gift of marriage and agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation at Missio Dei Church before pursuing divorce from his or her spouse (Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10- 11; for the role of the church in the process of divorce, see Paul’s concern for the resolution of legal matters within the assembly of the church in 1 Corinthians 6). I will refrain from illegal drug use, drunkenness, gossip, and other sinful behavior as the Bible, the church, and my conscience dictates (Romans 1:28-32; 13:13; 1 Cor. 8:7; Gal. 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; James 3:2-18). I will refrain from such activities that Scriptures would deem foolish (Romans 14:14-23). Should I sin in such a manner, I agree to confess my sins to Christian brothers or sisters and seek help to put my sin to death (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5; 1 John 1:6-10).