I often encourage churches to have a covenant. This is especially true when we are in a planning process. At a recent consultation, I asked the 20+ participants, “How would you like to be with one another?” They brainstormed these words or phrases. (It turned out to be a-z) It is difficult for a committee to write these in to covenant language so I give them a draft connected their words to each phrase. Covenants need to be written in behavioral terms so there is less good intentions and more clear action.
Here is the DRAFT that they need to read, revise, adopt and publish.
Note the participant’s words and phrases are copied under each statement.
1. PRAYER- As God’s family, we pray regularly for Concordia Lutheran Church its members and its mission.
2. HOSPITALITY- As Jesus has welcomed us in Baptism and instructs us to welcome the stranger we are actively engaging our guests and neighbors with warm welcome and honest care.
a. Welcome all people and peoples
b. Acknowledge the people’s presence
c. Greet one another
d. Solid in faith and share openly
3. JOY- We openly express our joy and happiness in the Lord with fun, positive humor and inclusive fellowship.
b. Enjoy each other’s fellowship/company
4. KINDNESS- Christ’s Church is to be a place of hope and healing so we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate love, compassion, kindness and patience for all people especially those who are in need for body, mind or spirit.
a. Do not avoid our brothers and sisters during difficulties
b. Be compassionate to needs of others
c. Be kind and patient
d. Care and Concern
5. RESPECT- It is our respect for Christ that compels us to respect others so we listen to understand before being understood and put others needs before our own. We will find solutions with collaboration and not use position or power to have our way.
a. Put others first
6. INCLUSION- We celebrate diversity as God’s way of enriching His church for mission. We will welcome and include all people especially those who may look, think and act differently so that we may grow together in Christ.
a. Know and realize we are all different
b. Welcome all people and peoples
7. POSITIVE REGARD- As Martin Luther’s explanation of the 8th Commandment instructs us, we defend each other, speak well of each other, and explain everything about one another in the kindest way.
a. Put forward best construction on everything
b. Speak well of each other
c. Speak well of each other
d. More relaxed and honest
e. Open to change
f. Be Positive
8. HEALTHY CONVERSATIONS- Because gossip allows the devil to separate the Body of Christ we will encourage and help others to follow the 8th Commandment.
a. Don’t gossip – redirect (don’t participate)
9. HONESTY- While Christ’s Church is perfected by His grace, as humans we are sinful and make mistakes. We will honestly and openly address our failures and support each other with patience as we work together to carry out our mission.
a. Address our problems
b. Value learning
10. FORGIVENESS- As God does not keep a record of our sins, we forgive and forget the sins of our fellow members.