Sometimes the most momentous things in life happen in quiet moments. Like a rock falling into still waters that sends ripples far out over surface of the lake, these times have an impact well beyond what is apparent at first. I believe the gathering of Managing Elders that took place in my home this past Monday was one of those times. The meeting was relaxed and comfortable. It had the atmosphere of a small group meeting, such as the ones many of us experience regularly. But for all its seeming innocuousness, something happened that I believe will significantly shape the life of our church for years to come.
The purpose of our meeting was to create a covenant—a document that would describe our commitment to one another and to the Lord. The covenant came to include statements about being faithful to maintain our personal walk with the Lord, loving one another, being respectful even when we disagree with one another, upholding one another’s reputation, keeping confidences, and striving for consensus in all decisions—along with several other things.
There are two reasons I believe this exercise was significant and will have lasting value for Bethel Church. First, it means that as a leadership team we want to be more than just a group of decision makers. Often the leadership role, even in churches, gets reduced to that. Decisions are made, but there is no depth of relationship in the group, no commitment to one another. By making a covenant, we want to affirm that we are the church, and the church is unique. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We want our decisions to flow out of the relationship we share in Him.
The second reason our evening was significant is that we are committing ourselves to be a model for the church. In one way, our covenant only describes how every Christ-follower should act toward every other Christ-follower in the church, and that is precisely the point. As leaders we believe we should strive to exemplify the life we hope our community will live. As our covenant puts it: “We commit to being a living example of what we hope the congregation will be.”
I am very grateful for my fellow office bearers. I think (and pray and hope and trust) that our commitment will have a slow but profound effect on the way we live out our faith as a Christian community.
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