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Clear Understanding

It is important for the pastor and congregation to have a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities and expectations. One of the best such covenants we’ve encountered was written by Dr. Hayes Wicker upon his call to the First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida. Note also the insightful way this defines the character of the church.

Covenant Understanding Between Pastor and People

1. We must discover the activity of God and adjust to it. It will be unique to First Baptist Naples.

2. Undergird everything with prayer.

3. We must walk by faith. Think big not small. (“With God nothing is impossible.”)

4. The bottom line is not “can we afford it?” but “is it God’s will?” (Where He guides He provides.)

5. Everything should be done in the light of this mission statement, “To know Christ and to make Him known.” (We glorify God by reaching people.)

6. All matters should be subjected to the Scriptures. (The issue is truth not tradition or convenience.)

7. The Church is a hospital for sinners not a country club for saints.

8. Problems will be dealt with, not ignored.

9. Hard work is necessary. (William Carey said, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.”)

10. Strive for week-long and year-long ministry (not just Sunday or the season).

11. There must be constant adjustment for growth. We cannot get overly comfortable. We must create new Bible study units, new ministries, and constantly improve the quality of education.

12. Recognizing that most people have limited time for church, then we must maximize time and do the most important.

13. Ministry is more important than meeting (committees, etc.).

14. Each Christian should discover his/her gift, passion and ministry.

15. We must seek to understand our cultural context and minister to it (baby-boomers, Florida leisure lifestyle, etc.).

16. We should strive for quality and excellence in every area (appearance, music, publication, etc.)

17. The Pastor and staff should be allowed to initiate and lead with trust, support and prayers of the church.

18. Criticism, murmuring and slander must not be allowed to disrupt the fellowship. The Deacons act as peacemakers.

19. We must recognize the need for additional staff to equip believers. (Rarely does a church have too many staff. They pay their way.) This involves more ministers and support personnel.

20. The family must be strengthened, not undermined.

21. Outreach must be the priority.

22. We must be vitally concerned with meeting needs and healing hurts through ministries and developing relationships.

23. Biblical doctrine is non-negotiable; methods are open to evaluation.

24. Since all sin and make mistakes, an attitude and atmosphere of grace must abound.

25. We must seek to develop a lighthouse ministry to all of Southwest Florida.

(Drafted by Dr. Wicker and reprinted with his permission.) The Body, Charles W. Colson, 1992, Word Publishing, pp. 423-425

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