Do you provide some guidance for your leaders and volunteers in ministry as to what is expected of a Christian serving in your church? Our churches provide guidance for elders and deacons and staff members, but would it be helpful to have a covenant of expectations for others serving in ministry? One church posted their draft covenant in the forum this week and this blog will highlight that draft for your input and thoughts regarding the importance of this for our churches.
What I like about this covenant is that it clarifies expectations. Many times issues arise in congregations because expectations are not communicated clearly. This week I heard of a church who is questioning the qualifications of two volunteers in a student ministry. Too bad they didn't clarify these expectations before the volunteers were involved in the ministry. Now are they going to say you cannot serve?
Please give your input on this draft covenant. Do you have something like this in place at your church? Would you like to have something like this at your church? Would it benefit the spiritual health of your church? Would you have people sign it? Thank you Neerlandia CRC and Rev. Blacketer for permission to discuss and discern from this draft.
Draft Leadership Covenant
Neerlandia Christian Reformed Church values its ministry volunteers. As a Christian church that seeks to glorify God, to be obedient to his Word in Scripture, and to witness to the Christian faith, we also have certain lifestyle and conduct expectations of those who volunteer to lead and serve in the ministries of our congregation. Leaders and volunteers are expected to aspire to lead a Christian lifestyle, to witness to their faith, to maintain healthy spiritual practices, and to cultivate respectful standards communication. Ministry leaders and volunteers agree to adhere to these standards, and agree that when these standards are violated they submit to correction and, if warranted, removal from leadership or service in that ministry.
These standards apply to leaders and volunteers in all of our ministries, including Sunday school and catechism; Gems and Cadets; Teen Club and Youth Ministry; Coffee Break; music groups; and members of church committees. Where required, volunteers undergo background checks in order to comply with our Safe Church policy.
Leaders and volunteers are called to live a life worthy of the calling they have received from Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:1) and to witness to the good news of salvation by the way they live their lives (Matthew 5:16). Activities that would constitute violations of this standard would include habitual drunkenness and drug abuse, marital unfaithfulness or premarital sex or cohabitation, use of pornography, criminal conduct, and physical or verbal abuse. Persons who are undergoing a separation or divorce may be asked to step back from their ministry for a time in order to focus on their own spiritual health.
Leaders and volunteers are expected to be professing members in good standing of Neerlandia Christian Reformed Church, with the exception of baptized members under the age of 18 who may not have yet made profession of faith. Any exceptions to this requirement must be approved by council. Leaders and volunteers are expected to regularly attend worship services. It is particularly important that catechism teachers and mentors understand and affirm the Reformed perspective on the Christian faith.
Ministry leaders and volunteers commit to supporting the leadership and staff of Neerlandia Christian Reformed Church. They also commit to maintaining Christian standards of grace and respect in their words and communication (Colossians 4:6). Leaders and volunteers commit to avoiding malicious gossip and slander, destructive criticism of other volunteers or the church leadership, and spreading rumors. Ministry leaders commit to maintaining appropriate confidentiality when people speak to them in confidence.