When you hear the word “covenant” what do you think of? Today, I’m sitting at my desk and, like many days this spring, it is raining. So, I’m thinking about God’s covenant after the floods.
I’m also thinking about a new covenant we have adopted at church council. Scroll down to read it at the end of this post or read a little bit about church council first.
If you attended the Lenten supper when we covered the ministry topic, you will remember that we group ministries into these broad, somewhat overlapping, categories: Nurturing, Outreach, Witness and Resource Management. Church council is the group that oversees all of these ministries.
Here is how the Book of Discipline describes council’s purpose.
¶ 252.1. Purpose – The church council shall provide for planning and implementing a program of nurture, outreach, witness, and resources in the local church. It shall also provide for the administration of its organization and temporal life. It shall envision, plan, implement, and annually evaluate the mission and ministry of the church. The church council shall be amenable to and function as the administrative agency of the charge conference (¶ 244).
This January, our former council chair Vicki Spiller stepped down I stepped into the role. As we’ve changed leadership, we’ve also made some other adjustments to the group and our meetings such as merging in the CAT/Transformation team and spending more time on spiritual development.
(If you are curious about who is on church council, look for a blue or yellow ribbon under our name tags that say Council Member. We’d LOVE to answer any questions you have or hear your thoughts about the church!)
And we adopted a covenant that reminds us of our shared faith and commitment to Christ and each other as spiritual leaders. It also outlines the promises we make to one another as members of the Body of Christ.
The full text is below. We encourage all committees, small groups, and ministry teams at First Church to think about their covenant with each other. Consider using this one or creating your own. Let us promise to honor Him as we work together to build the kingdom.
First Church Leadership Council Covenant
As a leadership team for First United Methodist Church of Glen Ellyn, we are committed to this body of Christ through our love for God. We recognize that the church is not our idea but God’s idea, and that His Spirit wants to guide us. We promise to seek to discover what is best for our whole church and we will willingly sacrifice our own desires to those of our risen Lord in faithfully building the church He desires for us to be.
We recognize that a strong body of Christ is built on loving relationships with one another, our church, and our community; and so we commit to the following behaviors that we might allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to build disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
We commit to pray for each other, our congregation, our leaders, and the United Methodist Church.
We commit to building relationships within our team and with our Church by:
- Building each other up with prayer, affirmations, and support.
- Maintaining a posture of humility, forgiveness, love, and respect toward one another.
We commit to seek open and effective communication by:
- Offering opinions with charity and humility.
- To the best of our abilities, sharing complete and accurate information.
- Owning our personal thoughts, feelings and experiences and speaking directly about them.
- Seeking feedback from others and sharing it clearly and honestly.
- Listening for understanding before judgement.
- Honoring confidentiality as necessary.
We commit to work through conflict as an opportunity to grow in Christ and in healthy authentic relationship with one another by:
- Approaching one another directly when there is disagreement or criticism.
- Seeking to deal constructively with disagreements or conflict.
- Actively and graciously pursuing genuine peace and reconciliation.
- Encouraging each other to express their point of view in a constructive and timely manner.
- Adopting, valuing, and respecting a consensus decision-making process. This method may not mean 100% agreement but means we accept and support the decision of the council.
Upon passage, each person in council is authorized to remind each other of our commitment to abide by this covenant whenever we find ourselves in an interaction that does not represent the relational grace to which we have agreed.