The following is taken from Faith-Based: A Biblical, Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in the Church, by Michael Gafa:
I have found that having a well discerned, easy to understand Leadership Covenant is a great way to uphold core values and biblical truths in tandem with promoting cohesion and unity in Christ.
The Leadership Covenant example that follows is one I have used for several years. It was adapted from a similar covenant I had come across many years ago, but I have been unable to find the original source.
The covenant encapsulates what we most ardently wish for our staff and leaders to commit to, understanding that if we are together on these things, the church as a whole will be more likely to follow suit.
The covenant is used in four ways:
- As a pre-employment requirement for staff members
- As a pre-nominations requirement for elders and deacons
- As an annual requirement for current staff members, elders, and deacons
- And, on occasion, a tool for helping to resolve conflict.
There are two cautions that come with using a Leadership Covenant.
1. The first is to avoid making the covenant legalistic, both in content and application.
Don’t include every minute theological position you hold, but rather, list what you believe to be most essential for leaders to agree on.
Then, after the covenant is signed, refrain from monitoring individual adherence to the covenant.
The covenant is meant to be entered into with good faith and best intentions, and pestering people about how they’re doing with it will create an environment of legalism and mistrust. Once people sign it, trust that they’ll own it for themselves.
2. The second caution is simply to recognize that while Leadership Covenants are helpful, they are not a cure all.
If you have a staff or leadership team that is marked by dissension, lethargy, or conflict-avoidance, a Leadership Covenant will not in itself alter those behaviors. The covenant will help, but it cannot solve deeply rooted issues.
Nevertheless, I encourage you to develop a Leadership Covenant that lists what is most essential for leaders to agree on, and trust your leaders to make good on their commitment.
SAMPLE ANNUAL LEADERSHIP COVENANT
_____ I concur with the mission and core values that [Your Church] holds, and with God’s help will endeavor to actively support and conduct myself in accordance with all.
_____ I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as evidenced in my commitment to worship, Bible study, discipleship, fellowship and prayer.
“Let us not give up meeting together… let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)
“They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer … they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread together with glad and sincere hearts.” (Acts 2:42, 46)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
_____ I am committed to the ministry of [Your Church], excited about the possibilities for ministry in our community and beyond, and supportive of the leadership of the church.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:16-20)
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“Give everyone what you owe him: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13:7)
_____ I bring a teachable spirit into my position.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
“By grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of Christ lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9)
_____ I trust God and have made (or will now make) a faithful commitment to joyfully, regularly, generously and sacrificially give my time, talents, and treasure to [Your Church].
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for it.” (Malachi 3:10)
_____ I realize that the Biblical pattern of leadership is by example. I will strive to be of a humble spirit, speaking in patience and love, following the example of Jesus. I will never ask of others what I am unwilling to do myself.
“Here is a trustworthy saying: if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.” (1 Timothy 3:1-3)
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2)
_____ I will support the staff at [Your Church] by my behavior, prayers, and presence. I will not speak ill of them to others but will bring any concerns I have directly to their attention.
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you …” (Matthew 18:15)
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join with me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” (Romans 15:30)
_____ I understand that I am called to serve those I lead and that this servanthood is essentially in matters spiritual, bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to others and doing my part to live healthy and vibrantly in accordance with the Gospel. I commit myself to these biblical standards because I want the best for the Body of Christ at [Your Church].
“The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
I agree with, and am in compliance to, each of the points above.