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Exploring Covenant Membership
We believe that church membership is a helpful tool to develop relational accountability and corporate vision for the mission that God has in store for Jericho Ridge. Because of this, we invite everyone who desires to become members of Jericho Ridge Community Church to initiate the covenant membership process.
NEXT CLASS - FALL 2021
Why Should I Become a Covenant Member at Jericho?
One of Jericho Ridge’s core values is authentic community. We believe that God models eternal community. God exists in perfect fellowship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that God has created men and women to also live in community with one another. Therefore, we desire to serve one another in authentic community, even when this calls for personal sacrifice. According to the Bible, a byproduct of authentic community is its inherent attraction to unbelievers. Jesus said, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:35).
Although the word "membership" is not recorded in the Bible itself, we can see evidence of this concept throughout the New Testament. At Pentecost, a numerical record was kept of those who entered into faith (Acts 2:37-47); records were kept of widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16); elections were conducted (Acts 6:1-6); and there was an awareness of who church members were (Romans 16:1-16).
Also, to help facilitate a biblical community that can be held accountable to the precepts that are given throughout Scripture, we believe that God has given elders a special task in the church. Paul's teaching to the elders at Ephesus is evidence of this: "Guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock — his church, purchased with his own blood — over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders" (Acts 20:28).
The writer of Hebrews commands the church to "obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit" (Hebrews 13:17). We believe that covenant membership is one way that elders can more easily fulfill their God-given role in our community and also help others fulfill their role and calling. This is the charge that Paul gives to Timothy: "I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching" (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
Why the Language of a Membership Covenant?
By entering into covenant membership with Jericho Ridge, you will not inherit special status among other believers. We use the language of covenant because it is a form of accountability that goes both ways: Jericho Ridge and its leaders are held accountable to you and you are held accountable to them. This covenant is an attempt to allow the elders and leadership of Jericho Ridge to fulfill what God has called them to and to assist you in your own spiritual development and maturity.
The commitments mentioned in this covenant should not be read as contractual obligations. Instead, they should be understood as statements of aspiration and expressions of support for one another as a part of the local family of God. Covenant membership is not designed to keep people in or out. The purpose is to foster a sense of unity and purposeful community among those who willingly submit to God and one another and who thus become a covenanting member at Jericho Ridge Community Church.