Volunteer Ministry Covenant

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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.

Lifestyle Standards

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.

Church Commitment

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.

Communication Standards

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.

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Here is the "Individual Leadership Covenant" that all ministry leaders in our church must sign:

 

Leadership/Service Covenant

 

There are different kinds of gift, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit

 is given for the common good.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7

 

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

 

We thank you for your willingness to serve.  At Our Church, we believe that all God’s people have gifts for ministry and we give thanks for yours.  As a leader in the teaching ministry, we ask that you covenant with us by embracing this document.

 

I, _________________________________________, believe that:

                          (please print name)

                          

·        Jesus Christ is the Son of God sent to redeem the world, and love and trust him as the one who saves me from my sin, and I with repentance and joy embrace him as Lord of my life.

 

·        the Bible is the Word of God revealing Christ and his redemption.

 

 

In my capacity as ______________________________________, I will:

                                   (name of Ministry and Role)

 

·        lead/teach/serve in accordance to what is taught in the Bible and as is faithfully reflected in the creeds and confessions of Our Church.*

 

·        submit to and respect the leadership and direction of my ministry by the elder(s), deacon(s) and pastor of Our Church.

 

·        also fulfill my role in accordance with the Guidelines for the Prevention of Abuse for Our Church.**

 

Signed: ______________________________           Date:__________________

 

*Creeds and confessions refer to the Apostle's Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort.

**A copy of our Abuse Prevention Policy is available at the church office.  All participants, volunteer or salaried, are required to have read the sections that pertain to their ministry.

I recently "made" a covenant with Neerlandia CRC when I volunteered to be their Parish Nurse. I became familiar with the idea of covenanting during a course I took from Concordia University College in Edmonton, Ab which prepared me to be a PN. I had to read Improving your Multiple Staff Ministry by Anne Marie Nuechterlein.She says that one of the reasons for a covenant is that ". . . loyalty, trust, and open communication can be more easily established and staff members can experience what it means to relate with each other as a faithful, forgiven, Christ-centered staff." (p. 21)  I liked those words -- faithful, forgiven, Christ-centered. They are a powerful affirmation of who I am and can be.  And so, when  I wrote my own covenant for my "inaguration" as parish nurse I promised to be confidential, accountable and trustworthy, relying on God's guidance through his Holy Spirit and Word.  And from that day on I covenanted to bring the compassionate presence of God in my ministry of parish nurse.  

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