Some type of “contract” between Christian organizations and their volunteers is becoming a necessity in our times of legal vulnerability. The following is a sample of the type of thing you may want to do to set the boundaries for volunteers within your church or ministry. It protects your volunteers in that it clearly explains their relationship to the organization. It also provides a degree of protection for the ministry or church from misbehavior on the part of of those working within its ministries. This sample covenant can be used by churches which practice formal membership or by those which have none.
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Having received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and desiring to serve Him through specific ministry, I most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with the body of Christ at ________________Church of ________________, _________________.
I therefore promise, through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, to walk together with my fellow believers in Christian love; to strive for their advancement in knowledge and holiness; to make a place in my prayers for this church and its ministries; to uphold its doctrines; to serve faithfully in discharging my commitments; and to do my part in maintaining harmony and discipline.
In the case of a difference of opinion among believers ministering together in this place, I promise to avoid a contentious spirit, and if complete agreement cannot be achieved, I will recognize the calling of the leaders to govern this ministry as God may lead them and will submit to their decisions. I recognize that if I cannot in good conscience affirm the doctrinal statement or governing policies of the church, it is my duty to remove myself from any ministry, which may be affected by my views to the contrary.
I further promise to guard the reputation of my fellow believers and co-laborers and not to needlessly expose the details of their lives through my conversation with others. I promise to cultivate Christian courtesy in all my relationships; to be slow to give or take offense, and to always be ready for reconciliation, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17. Moreover I purpose, through whatever life may bring, to strive to live for God’s glory.
I understand that this covenant is not a substitute for membership at ___________________________ Church and does not carry with it any member privileges for voting or service outlined in the church constitution.
Signature __________________________________________ Date _____________
(Attach a copy of your church doctrinal statement with signature line, to the covenant)
Composed by Michael Bogart, with acknowledgments to the Baptist Covenant.
It’s a job description that even Superman might think twice about: executive, counselor, soldier, manager, coach, teacher, legal expert, friend, master of ceremonies and, at times, construction worker and janitor. Who could possibly be expected to do these things as part of a normal routine? The local pastor! Maybe he didn’t bargain for all this. No doubt he feels inadequate. Sometimes he fails. But all of these areas of expertise are indeed part of a pastor’s job.
I once saw a cartoon picturing a small boy looking up at his pastor after church and saying, “What do you do with yourself the other days of the week?” Nearly every pastor would give much the same response: “If only you knew!” A pastor’s weekly routine includes these duties:
Executive. Important decisions must be reached as to church policy on a variety of issues. Sometimes policy is made in conjunction with boards and committees. At other times, decisions must be made on the spot with little time for consultation.
Counselor. Without a doubt, the most sought-after givers of advice and guidance are still the clergy. Pastors, priests and rabbis help millions every year, and usually do so for free. Did I hear something about clergy being mercenary?
Soldier. The Bible speaks of spiritual warfare involving people’s souls and the unseen forces of evil. Foremost in this conflict are often pastors who are regularly expected to be fearless, skillful in combat, slow to retreat. Our weapons are God’s word, persistence and prayer. Our ally, the Holy Spirit.
Manager. Every church, large or small, has a program. Programs can be as simple as the order of the Sunday worship service, or as complex as a full-blown Christian educational system. The pastor is usually a key figure in enabling these church programs to run smoothly.
Coach. Everyone needs someone to motivate and develop the important skills it takes to compete in the game of life. A minister is often one who stands on the sidelines providing pointers and encouragement to improve the individual and advance the team.
Teacher. The Bible is an amazing textbook on the realities of the world around us. It speaks of God and people; choices; attitudes and world-views. It brings a message of reconciliation between God and people through Christ. This supremely beneficial course is offered at your local church without tuition costs. The pastor is to teach this course material in a way that is interesting, relevant and in-depth.
Lawyer. The local clergy can also be counted on to come to the defense of their people in times of trouble. They visit the jails, write letters on parishioners’ behalf and argue the case for the gospel before the jury of the world.
Friend. Your pastor or minister is the one you expect to be concerned for you even when you haven’t been around for awhile. He is the one who will look you in the eye and tell it like it is–in love. He is the one who urges you to become more than you have been and to follow Christ wholeheartedly. It is this role in which the pastor often shines brightest.
Master of Ceremonies. He is the host, the comedian, the one who officiates at important events for you and your family. He must have the charm of the talk show host and the decorum of a head of state.
Oh yes—don’t forget the variety of other jobs which, in some churches, simply go with the position. It is not unusual for the pastor to clean a restroom or two, fold bulletins, work with youth, participate in a construction project and secure the building after services. While there are some exceptions, the Christian ministry is still an honorable profession. It is served, for the most part, by honorable men and women. Now more than ever, with the image of clergy tarnished by a few highly publicized bad apples, it is nice to know that you really can trust that amazing man behind the pulpit!