The Loving-Kindness of Covenant Membership

In 1990 I attended a mega church in Eugene, Oregon. The college pastor and I met up weekly, and one day he asked if I wanted to join the church. “No thanks, George, I’m only going to be here for four years.” Somehow I thought joining a church happened about the same time you picked out a burial plot. George didn’t push back. I spent all of college with no commitment to the church, and no category for covenant church membership.

What is covenant church membership? It’s the idea that commitment in a local church is a two-way street. The believer commits to attend, pray for, uphold the doctrines of, and generally promote the mission of a particular congregation. Meanwhile, the congregation as a whole agrees to teach, pray for, encourage, and generally hold every member accountable to live a Christ-like life. While covenant church membership is implied in a number of passages, it’s also an implicit part of the Bible’s storyline: God ordained a ...

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