Understanding Church Partnership
What is Church Partnership?
Here at Calvary we use the word “partner” instead of “member”. The difference between an “attender” and a “partner” can be summed up in one word; commitment. At Calvary Baptist, we believe that being a partner is an important commitment, and we take that commitment very seriously.
Jonathan Leeman, in his book Church Membership, writes:
Church membership (partnership) is a formal relationship between a Church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church.
Why Be a Partner?
Four reasons to be a partner . . .
- It’s Biblical . . . Christ is committed to the church. “…Christ loved the church, and He gave His life for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
- It’s Countercultural . . . It is an antidote to our society. We live in an age when people resist being committed to anything – a job, a marriage, our country. Partnership swims against the current of America’s “consumer religion.” It is an unselfish decision.
- It’s Practical . . . It defines those upon whom we can depend. Every team must have a roster. Every school must have an enrollment. Every business has a payroll. Every army has an enlistment. Even our country takes a census and requires voter registration. Partnership identifies our church family.
- It’s Healthy . . . It produces spiritual growth. The Bible gives major emphasis for the need of Christians to be accountable to each other for spiritual growth. You cannot be accountable when you’re not committed to a specific church family.
Benefits of an Active Church Partner?
- Friendships – Making and having friends that share the same beliefs and values help us all navigate this bizarre world we live in.
- Sense of Community – Belonging to a church body provides interactions with other people and creates a social community.
- Opportunities to Make a Difference – One of the biggest benefits of church partnership is its collective resource that provides opportunities to help others and make a difference.
- Gives You a Voice – Being a part of a church body gives you a voice in any major decision that faces the church.
- Expectations of a Church Partner?
The Calvary Partnership Covenant
Having received Christ as my Lord and Savior and following Christ’s command in Scriptural baptism, and in being in agreement with Calvary’s statements, strategy, and structure, I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with Calvary Baptist Church. In doing so, I commit myself to God and to the other partners to do the following:
- I will protect the unity of my church
– By praying for one another and the church
– By acting in love towards other partners
– By speaking in a way to build others up and refusing to gossip
– By following the leaders chosen by the churchRomans 14:19, 15:5; 1 Peter 1:22; Ephesians 4:29; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2
- I will share in the responsibility of my church
– By selflessly sharing myself with others
– By inviting the unchurched to join our community
– By warmly welcoming those who visit
– By following Christ’s command to be a disciple makerLuke 14:23; Romans 15:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; Matthew 28:19
- I will serve the ministry of my church
– By spending time with Jesus daily
– By discovering and exercising my gifts and talents
– By being equipped to serve by my pastor(s) and leader(s)
– By developing a servant’s heart1 Peter 4:10; Ephesians 4:11-12; Philippians 2:3-4, 7
- I will support the testimony of my church
– By advancing God’s kingdom and not my own
– By attending faithfully
– By living a godly life and pursuing holiness
– By giving generously of my time and financesHebrews 10:25; Philippians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Romans 12:1; Matthew 6:33
How to Become a Church Partner?
- Profession of Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and Baptism by Immersion.
- Transfer of Letter from another church of like faith.
- Statement of prior New Testament conversion experience and baptism.