theology & purpose

Is covenant membership of a local church in the Bible?

Explicitly, there are no proof texts with the “words” community covenant. However, throughout the New Testament scriptures there are theological truths that imply a formal membership within the local body.


Scriptures command Elders to oversee, shepherd, and are held accountable within the local churches (Acts 20:28-30, 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17)


Paul commanded a man to be removed from the local church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 5:1-13)


The early church kept a record of widows, which this practice may indicate the tracking of members (1 Timothy 5:9)

function & benefits

Why do we have a community covenant?

The primary purpose of the community covenant is to serve as a teaching document with three functions:


to clarify the biblical obligation and expectations for both Elders and leaders and covenant members of Mercy Street Church


to establish doctrinal guidelines for the body Mercy Street Church


to grow in the grace and understand of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in order to reflect His glory

What are the benefits?

The primary benefit reflects the unity of the body with four truths:


It provides a spiritual family to support and encourage your walk in Christ


It gives you a place to discover and use your gifts of ministry


It places you under the care of spiritual leaders


It provides you with the accountability to grow in the grace of God


What is a covenant?

A covenant is generally defined as “a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action.1” We can trace a number of scriptures that speaks of a covenant, some between God and man (Genesis 6; Genesis 9; Genesis 15; Ezekiel 20; Hosea 2; Jeremiah 31; Matthew 26), and some between men (1 Samuel 18; 2 Samuel 5).

The community covenant at Mercy Street Church is an agreement between members and the corporate body of Mercy Street Church. If at any time one of the parties of this church covenant continues in a state of unfaithfulness to its provision, the other is released from that obligations. The conditions of the Mercy Street Church seeks to reflect the biblical truth of God in regards to submitting to scripture, pursuing holiness, steward resources, sharing the gospel, and loving our neighbors. Please understand that the power of the Holy Spirit must govern the souls of all people. Therefore, grace is needed, accountability is needed, and growing in Christ is needed. 

Want to learn more about the concept of church membership?

Read Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman as an additional resource.