Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) stands in the long tradition of classical Protestantism, expressed faithfully in the historic Reformed faith as summarized in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms; the same faith (the gospel) for which our spiritual ancestors were harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and martyred, that turned the ancient world, and the medieval world upside down. This same gospel-faith compelled the New England Puritans to build a church and community for Christ. Likewise, we affirm the necessity of building a church on the sound theological basis of the gospel, and the crucial importance of interpreting every area of life through the scriptures. To obtain that foundation requires rooting every man, woman and child in the knowledge of how to apply the gospel to life, that is, training believers in Biblical worldview. To maintain a godly lifestyle, built on that foundation requires, by God’s design, a shepherding framework suitable for the application and implementation of that worldview to all areas and endeavors in their lives as individuals and families.
We believe that life is worship. As John Piper has written in his book entitled Don‘t Waste Your Life, [God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of our life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.] That is the heart of worship, making much of God, who is all, in every part of our lives. We believe that God is glorified most by our satisfaction in him in all that we do. This satisfaction involves seeing and savoring the grace and love of God in all His fullness, as the only acceptable fountain for all faithful service to God. All godly acts are themselves an overflow and further pursuit of this satisfaction in the grace and love of God, as we serve others. We further bring glory to God by the recognition that all that we have, that is good and worthwhile is from God, so that in reliance upon him we work for his glory.
Our formal-public-worship is joyful, simple, and reverent. We believe that the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself. Therefore our worship is Word-centered, limited according to His own revealed will, not broadened by the imaginations and inventions of men. Our aim is to please God in worship, not man. We sing His Word, pray His Word, read His Word, and preach His Word.
Since we believe that the Word of God has the answers for every area of life, we don't just critique the problems of living, we also fully explore and apply God's solutions for personal, family, and church life. We take seriously the Great Commission that we have a responsibility to disciple the nations. We are committed to the idea that as a local church we best do that through our faithful lives of godliness before the watching world in our workplace and in our neighborhoods. We are committed to see that every man woman and child is prepared to give an answer for the hope displayed to others through their faithful, joyful lives lived before them.
Covenant Church believes that godliness begins in the home, and that God has instituted the home as the basic ‘province’ for expressing his Covenant-Headship for the church. Therefore we teach men from the scriptures, how to be godly leaders in their households, in the church. We expect husbands to know how to apply the gospel to all life, there own and their households. We expect men to develop relationships in which they will be held accountable to live the gospel. We expect men to exercise their God-given authority to see that those in their own households do as well. This will include training them to apply the gospel to live and managing a training plan for the pursuit of godliness for each in his household. This will include conducting daily family worship, and lovingly and self sacrificially serving their wives and children by being the men God demands they be.
We encourage, admonish and exhort our women to respect their husbands and be a help-meet to them. We expect and exhort women who have proven themselves faithful in so doing, to be used of God to encourage the younger. We expect the children to be raised believing and confessing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior; to grow up disciplined, catechized, respectful of their parents and trained to see life from the Bible's perspective. They learn how to worship with us from a very young age. Since the Heads of Households have the primary responsibility to teach his children (cf. Deut 6:4ff) we do not undercut his authority or responsibility, and realize that the benefits of his direct one on one instruction with them go well beyond the content of that instruction, but that heart-level relationships with his own wife and children are forged in the furnace of heart-level communication. We seek to assist and help him, not replace him. We believe that their role is crucial in godly training, and realize that faithfully fulfill the obligations as Pastors in their homes requires much time for training, and oversight, for themselves and their families. Setting goals and working toward goals as individuals and families is time consuming and costly work, but well worth the investment.
For this reason rather than filling up his schedule with traditional program activities offered by the church, we believe we serve our households and communities best by seeing that church leaders spend the great bulk of their time supporting and training godly men to direct their households well. In light of these demands, and understanding many other varied responsibilities to extended family (e.g. widows), work, church, and community, we believe that church life should be structured to support the Head of Household in his primary responsibilities. To accomplish this we believe most ministry should be an extension of the godly household. We do not develop programs and then try to find people to staff them, thus potentially unhelpfully further stretching already over-taxed, over-fragmented households.
We recognize there are God-given covenant spheres of responsibility. That is, there are priorities established by scripture in regards to each household and each household member. For example scripture makes helping those in one’s own household (extended- family) with special need a foremost priority. This is so that the church may help those with special needs who in God’s providence have no such family (1Tim. 5:16; Js. 1:27). Also, in scripture, special priority is placed on helping members of the household of faith in need (Gal. 6:10). Faithful ministry in these areas of priority should not be hindered by service in other spheres of responsibility (e.g. one’s neighborhood), reaching the inner city, involvement with home school organizations, personal evangelism etc. We find in the familiar situation of Acts 6 an illustration of this important principle found throughout scripture, Acts 6:1,2 (ESV) Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. The principle is this, it is not right or wise to take up the priorities and tasks associated with certain roles in order to accomplish the priorities and tasks associated with other roles. We believe that every covenant household and every covenant group should practice Biblical hospitality, ministering to the saints and adorning the gospel with personal acts of charity. Our deacons are trained to assist each household in faithfully living the quiet life of covenant faithfulness.
With all this stress on the covenant household the question naturally arises what about Singles, Single Again, or Seniors? Well, basically speaking, they are either part of a household or if they don't have one, other households often "adopt" them, but most importantly it is our view that the household concept represents the God-ordained structure of authority (oversight) for faithful ministry to his own covenant people, and we see the covenant group as the best context for administering that oversight. And so singles are to be faithfully a part of a covenant group which is designed to provide that loving oversight for them. Singles are uniquely gifted with availability to be engaged in a kind of ministry that others are not able to do, given their other responsibilities, and so are, and so play a very helpful and important role in the work of the ministry. Singles are welcome to gather together with other singles in similar life situations, but these kinds of gatherings will not make up a program of the church’s life together. We honor the elderly and value their place in the body of Christ; their maturity and wisdom. We seek to meet their needs, especially if they have no natural family, or have been forsaken by them. If young people have moved away from their own families, or have unregenerate ones, we welcome them into a Christian household that will love and encourage them. If a person has been lawfully divorced, we bind their wounds, help them put their lives back together and raise their children in a godly manner.
What kind of church is Covenant? We are a congregation that strives to see that every man woman and child grows up together into all the fullness of Christ. We are a church where the congregation is truly one in spirit and intention to glorify God together. We strive to, in honor prefer one another, without petty infighting, back-biting or self-seeking. We seek to be a church with strong, growing households making a difference in their community and beyond for Christ.