What is the Church?
The church is the household of God where He dwells by His Spirit among His children who have been adopted into His family through the work of His Son (Eph.2:19). As God’s family, we are called to lovingly devote ourselves to Christ and to each other (Acts 2:42), while together, we proclaim the good news of Jesus and live in such a way that displays His light and love to those around us (Matthew 5:14-16, 1 John 4:12). Though the universal Church is one household with one God and Father over us all, we believe it’s crucial to devote ourselves to a local expression of the family, submitting ourselves to one another under biblically qualified elders for the purpose of ongoing care, equipping and development for ministry, and faithfulness to doctrine and mission.
The church exists to display the glory of God, as together, we are being transformed into the image of Christ, who is the radiance of God’s glory. Those of us who trust in and follow Jesus are caught up in something much bigger than ourselves. In light of this reality, the opportunity to join a local church body is much more than a commitment to consistent attendance or active involvement in community. It is also a sacred call to be involved in the redemptive work of our sovereign God to push back the darkness of a fallen world through the power of the Holy Spirit with the light of His Son, Jesus Christ. Our membership covenant is an expression of our desire to learn and live out this call as a family together on mission so that the vision of making Jesus known by making disciples, in Grays Harbor and beyond, might take place for the glory of God.
What is a Covenant?
A covenant is generally defined as “a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.” Within the Scriptures, we find a number of examples of covenants, some between God and man (Genesis 6; Genesis 9; Genesis 15;Ezekiel 20; Hosea 2; Jeremiah 31; Matthew 26), while others are solely between men (1 Samuel 18, 2 Samuel 5).
The Kaleo Membership Covenant is primarily made up of commitments that all followers of Christ are called to carry out. For example, all believers, whether members of Kaleo or elsewhere, are called to submit to the Scriptures, pursue holiness, steward resources, etc. While this covenant is focusing primarily on the responsibilities of the members (including the elders) of Kaleo to one another, it is first and foremost an acknowledgment of how all followers of Christ are called to live and an agreement to enter into those commitments for God’s glory and the good of His church.
Biblical Responsibilities within the Kaleo Church Family
Elders to the Church Body
As shepherds and overseers of a local church, elders are entrusted with protecting, leading, equipping and caring for the corporate church body and her individual members. The following is an overview of the requirements for elders as spelled out within the Scriptures. It is only by the grace of God that we can seek to fulfill these responsibilities.
The obligation of the Elders to the Members of the Church Body
- We covenant to appoint elders and deacons according to the criteria assigned to them in the Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- We covenant to prayerfully seek God’s will for our church family and steward her resources to the best of our ability based on our study of the Scriptures and dependence on the Spirit (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- We covenant to care for our church family and seek her growth as disciples of Christ by equipping her for the work of ministry, praying for her faithfully, shepherding her heart with the gospel, and by being approachable and transparent in our daily lives (Matthew 28:16-20; Ephesians 4:11-16,Colossians 1:28; James 5:14-16; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- We covenant to provide teaching and counsel from the whole of Scripture, holding fast to the faith once for all delivered to the saints (not yielding to popular opinion or cultural pressures). (Acts 20:27-28; 1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 2:1).
- We covenant to be on guard against false teachers and to correct false doctrine (Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:28-31; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 1 John 4:1).
- We covenant to lovingly exercise discipline when necessary, for the glory of God, the good of the one disciplined, and the health of the church family as a whole (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).
- We covenant to keep a close watch on our lives and on our teaching (1 Timothy 4:16)
- We covenant to set an example of humble Christ-like service, not with a domineering spirit, but by joining the rest of the church family in living out the responsibilities of local church membership as stated below (Philippians 3:17; 1 Timothy 4:12; Titus 2:7-8; 1 Peter 5:3).
Biblical Responsibilities of the Members of Kaleo Grays Harbor
As those who have experienced the grace of a life changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to display the character of Jesus through the pursuit of certain attitudes and actions and the rejection of others. The Bible refers to this reality as “living by the Spirit” (Romans 8). The requirements of this membership covenant are in no way intended to add to the obligations of a believer that are stated in Scripture. Rather, this document serves primarily as an accessible yet non-exhaustive explanation of what the Bible teaches about the obedience that faith produces.
- to submit to the authority of the Scriptures as the final arbiter on all issues (Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
- to seek Jesus through regular Bible reading, prayer, and community discipleship (Luke 18:1; Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Ephesians 5:1-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22).
- to follow the command and example of Jesus by participating in the ordinances prescribed to His Church:
- by being baptized *(see footnote on baptism)
- by regularly remembering and celebrating the person and work of Christ through communion (the Lord’s supper).
- to regularly participate in the life of the Kaleo family by making it a priority to attend weekly gatherings, engaging in gospel-centered community and mission, serving those within and outside of this church (Acts 2:42-47;Hebrews 10:23-25; Titus 3:14).
- to steward the resources God has given me, including time, talents, spiritual gifts and finances. This includes regular financial giving, service and participation in community that is sacrificial, cheerful and voluntary (Matthew 25:14-30;Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8-9).
- by God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk in holiness in all areas of life as an act of worship to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13-16. 1 Peter 4:1-3). Believers should strive to put certain attitudes and actions to death while stirring and stimulating love and good deeds through the Spirit.** (see footnote for more specific examples of holy living)
- to submit to the discipline of God through His Holy Spirit by:
- following the biblical procedures for church discipline where sin is evident in another – the hope of such discipline being repentance and restoration.
- receiving righteous and loving discipline when approached biblically by fellow believers (Psalm 141:5; Matthew 18:15-20;1 Corinthians 5:9-13; Hebrews 12:5-11).
- to do the following when I fall into sin:
- to submit to the elders of the church and diligently strive for unity and peace within the church body (Ephesians 4:1-3;Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5).
- to do the following should I leave the church for righteous reasons:
- notify a Kaleo elder and share reasons for leaving.
- seek another church with which I can carry out my biblical responsibilities as a believer.
*Regarding baptism, the leadership of Kaleo is persuaded that water baptism should take place after a person is converted and should be by immersion (this is known as “credo baptism” or “believer’s baptism”). Believer’s baptism is the form of baptism that we practice and teach as a local church. However, we recognize that many devout Christians today and over the centuries have held to pedo-baptism also known as infant baptism, and we are agreed to allow into membership those who have been baptized as infants if after careful consideration and study of Scripture the conviction of their conscience, is that their infant baptism was valid and should not be repeated. It would be wrong for us to ask them to violate their conscience. With that said, those who seek membership and have only been baptized as infants may be asked to read a short book on believer’s baptism and prayerfully consider the legitimacy of their infant baptism. Our aim is to be sure that one’s belief in the legitimacy of their infant baptism is based on biblical conviction and not on tradition, emotions, or family pressure.
**The following are some specific examples of holy living:
- To practice complete chastity unless married and, if married, complete fidelity within heterosexual marriage. Complete chastity and fidelity means, among other things, that regardless of your marital status, you will pursue purity and abstain from sexually immoral practices such as adultery, premarital sex, and pornography (Romans 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 1 Corinthians 10:8; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).
- To seek to preserve the gift of marriage and agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation with the Kaleo family before pursuing divorce from your spouse (Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; for the role of the church family in the process of divorce, see Paul’s concern for the resolution of legal matters within the gathering of the church in 1 Corinthians 6).
- To refrain from illegal drug use, drunkenness, the non-medical use of marijuana, gossip and other sinful behavior as the Bible dictates (Romans 1:28-32; Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21;Ephesians 5:18; James 3:3-18).
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