A New Kind of Membership Covenant
My friends at emergingumc shared this covenant agreement that Lockerbie UMC in Indianapolis, Indiana uses. It has helped me to see the membership vows of “serving the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness” in a new and fresh way.
Lockerbie Central United Methodist Church Rule of Life: God, Self, Church, World
• We will be in conversation with God through prayer.
• We will pray privately utilizing diverse spiritual disciplines (reflective reading of Scripture and other spiritual texts, fasting, journaling and contemplation etc.).
• We will pray with our faith community for God’s church (confession, in worship, intercession, song etc.)
• We will pray for our neighbors and for creation.
• We will be present to God, chasing after God’s heart with authenticity and vulnerability.
• We will be present to ourselves, seeking wellness for our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies.
• We will be present to our faith community, engaging in worship, fellowship and mission.
• We will be present to our neighbors and creation, paying attention to their needs.
• We will recognize that all gifts come from God, giving thanks appropriately.
• We will honor and care for the gift of our bodies, developing practices that support and sustain our wellness.
• We will share our gifts with our faith community, practicing generosity with our material resources, spiritual gifts, talents and abilities, and valuing the gift of each voice within the community as we seek to discern God’s will.
• We will honor the gifts of our neighbors and creation, practicing ecologically responsible living, striving for simplicity, and sharing our resources.
• We will partner in building God's dream of justice, mercy, and discipleship, striving for a world filled with peace, love, and laughter.
• We will practice regular Sabbath, renewing ourselves to live more fully.
• We will set aside selfish ambition and individualism to care for one another, taking responsibility for the health of the faith community and practicing mutual accountability within a covenant group.
• We will care for our neighbors and creation.
• We will embrace the creative, redeeming, and sustaining God, inviting others to share in God’s transforming love.
• We will seek to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
• We will study our ancient scriptures, church history, and Wesleyan tradition, seeking to understand their historical, political, and cultural context so that we may live more fully as the prophetic voice of Jesus the Christ.
• We will seek to resist evil and injustice, pursuing peace and justice with our neighbors and creation and practicing radical hospitality and reconciliation (racial, gender, cultural, faith, etc.).
I commit to this rule of life and to the well-being of this faith community, out of gratitude to God who forgives, heals, and makes all things new. May my life be a blessing within and beyond God’s church, for the transformation of the world.
Maybe a covenant like this would help all of our members take their vows a little more seriously.