I hope you're all living in awareness of the Spirit this week. You are loved and valued by God beyond comprehension!
The Pastoral Leadership Team met on Monday and discussed some of the questions and concerns about covenant membership that we received from our small groups. The feedback we received was helpful and very much appreciated. Thank you for sharing.
We thought it best to briefly address some of the questions and concerns, and give a little preview of this coming Sunday.
Why Covenant Membership?
Some of you may remember that CMF had a form of membership years ago, and was in the process of re-instituting membership with the previous pastor, but it was put on hold when he resigned. Covenant membership is now being instituted at CMF as a way of symbolically recognizing the commitment you're making, or have made, to Christ and the brothers and sisters of CMF. You're choosing to enter into a relationship with Christ and our church in order to grow and serve as a disciple, and be on mission with us for the sake of the gospel.
We believe that recognizing commitments, which always involve certain vows, expectations, boundaries, etc., is good for individuals and the entire community. A commitment to Christ and the church creates an environment that is most conducive to healthy church growth and personal discipleship. We believe that an awareness and an expression of commitment to Jesus and each other blesses us---the family of God.
Please be aware that being a covenant member does not come with any special privileges. However, we do believe that commitments offer spiritual rewards given by the Spirit. Therefore, we want to be accountable to one another and reap the benefits together.
As has been stated in previous sermons, via email, and through blog installments here at our new website, this Sunday we are concluding our Covenant & Commitment series with a covenant membership signing and communion. We initially intended to have those wishing to become covenant members sign both a personal card to keep and a public document, but we've decided only to do the personal commitment cards.
Everyone will be given a card as you come into the sanctuary. You will be given an opportunity to sign the card at the end of the sermon during a time of prayer and silence before taking communion. This is a response between you and the Lord. You get to keep your card as a reminder of this covenant between you, the Lord, and CMF. There will be no official record kept with the church. Again, the "signing" is between you and the Lord.
Finally, the upcoming sermon on "Covenant as Christian Discipleship" (4 of 4) will go to the heart of our call as disciples to be committed to Christ and each other as a local expression of Jesus. For the sake of the lost people around us, who are no doubt being discipled by the culture, we want to push back against the rugged individualism that is so pervasive in our society today. We want to say that we belong, believe, and behave according to the reign of Christ and his Kingdom. We believe that "belonging" through covenant membership is one way we can express that.
Please remember to read over the confession of faith and the covenant membership card before this Sunday. We ask that you prayerfully consider how God is leading you this Sunday. Do you consider CMF your church family? Do you want to commit, or recommit, yourself to Christ and our church? If so, we invite you to sign this Sunday. If not, we understand and respect your decision. Regardless, we believe that everyone is welcome at the table of our fellowship. This form of membership is meant to strengthen our faith and community, not to exclude people from it.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please email me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may reach me by phone as well (281-210-4413), or stop by the pastor's study.
NOTE: As indicated here on our website, you may become a covenant member at any time during the year. If you're not able to be present this Sunday and would like to sign a commitment card, please let me know and I can give you one. We will keep plenty on hand throughout the year.
We're looking forward to concluding the series this Sunday, and we're looking forward to our future together here at CMF.
Christiansburg Mennonite Fellowship
281-210-4413 or 540-382-8787