We Are the Church: A Church Covenant for Corporate Worship

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The following church covenant was written to be recited during corporate worship. Ideally, the members of a church would be regularly (e.g., monthly) invited to stand and recite this covenant together, reminding them of their identity, character, mission, and responsibility to one another, as well as visibly setting them apart from “outsiders” or non-members who are not “insiders” in the local body (1 Cor. 5:12). A PDF version which includes around 100 Scripture references as endnotes is also available.

Having believed in the Lord Jesus and been joined to his body through baptism, we gather now in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to renew our covenant with one another.

We are the body of Christ. We will hold fast to our Head and invite his peace to rule in our hearts, treating each member with respect and using our gifts to serve the common good, that in all things the church may be built up in love.

We are the household of God, saved by the Father’s hospitality, invited into his family through a bath and a meal. We will do the will of the Father, embrace one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, eat our meals together, share our lives together, and treat the least among us as though he were the Lord Jesus.

We are a holy temple, built together as living stones into a dwelling place for God. We will live as holy ones and priests to our God, offering sacrifices of praise and confessing our sins to one another. We will keep and restore one another from sin, bear one another’s burdens, and not neglect to pray for one another.

We are the pillar and foundation of the truth. We will contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, devote ourselves to the apostolic teaching, and submit to the Word of God in all things, reading and searching the Scriptures in community.

We are the people of God, the true Israel, brought safely through the waters of baptism and fed by spiritual food and drink. We will no longer continue in sin, since we are buried and raised with Christ through baptism, and live as those who are baptized in the name of the Triune God. We will not neglect to meet together, but gather always on the Lord’s Day, sharing in one bread, that we who are many might be one body, proclaiming Christ, whose blood of the covenant was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

We are a holy nation, elect of God, catholic under the gospel. We will live as exiles in this world and citizens of a heavenly kingdom, holding all other identities with a loose grip. We will confess one Lord with pure and uncontested allegiance, refusing to be divided over ethnicity, social status, or gender. We will remember our brotherhood throughout the world, knowing that the church can be found wherever the gospel is embodied in word and sacrament.

We are the church of the living God, which he obtained with his own blood, outside of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. We will rejoice in all circumstances, afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down though we may be, knowing that Christ has promised to build his church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Johnathan Arnold
Johnathan Arnold
Johnathan Arnold is President and Founder of Holy Joys. He serves as a preaching and teaching pastor in Newport, PA, where he lives with his wife Alexandra and son Adam. You can connect with him on Twitter @jsarnold7.