According to the Reservoir Book of Church Order, we hold two covenantal members’ meetings each year with the ability to convene for important business as it occurs. The December meeting usually focuses on our budget which must be affirmed by the membership and our Spring meeting usually allows for affirming elders and handling decisions that require agreement from the congregation.
The elders have set the date for our Spring meeting on April 14. We will plan to convene at 12:30 (giving families an opportunity to grab a lunch and bring it back) and we will have an update on the work of our new finance team and some announcements about priorities for the months ahead. But the primary business of the meeting will be affirming elder approved changes to our Book of Church Order (BCO).
The Book of Church Order is essentially the bylaws of the church. The document outlines our structure, lays claim to the doctrines of the church, and expresses how we will relate to one another as members of the body of believers. Three years ago as we were replanting Reservoir, the elders relied on the work of other churches for best practices and while we have made minor changes over the years, it has remained much the same. You can read the current Book of Church Order here.
As we have been setting priorities of the years ahead the elders thought it worthwhile to amend the BCO in a few ways to better reflect who we are as a church, the culture Jesus is forming in us, and to be as efficient and clear as possible. To that end we have approved and propose three areas of change in the BCO. The Mission statement, the responsibilities of members and the membership covenant which is signed by new members.
The first is primarily about being clear. Our current vision and mission statement was a full paragraph of really good biblical language about what the church should be. Of course we are not rejecting those things but for clarity and simplicity sake we believe rallying under a mission to Know Jesus and Make Him Known best aligns all of our efforts as a church. So we will save ink and maintain a mission statement we all can remember and be motivated by.
The next amendment comes to section 3 of the BCO on the requirements of membership. Here we have added that along with being a Christian, agreeing with the confessional statement of the church, and being baptized, members will also “Steward their God-given resources such as time, gifting, and finances through regular financial giving and serving.”
To be honest, if we were to leave out stewardship, we would not be shepherding you well as members and while many thought of giving as expected we want to serve those coming into membership by being clear that it is part of our response to the gospel in community.
Finally, the Membership Covenant (Appendix II) has been revised to reflect the above changes and communicate our commitments to one another with more clarity. We also changed language about the necessity of fully agreeing with our posture on church discipline and divorce and remarriage. Now members acknowledge that you understand that the church will follow guidelines set forth in the BCO when those issues arise. You may have a differing view on the issues but know this is how the elders will proceed.
We have also added Scriptural reference for each portion of the covenant as a reflection that these are the result of biblical study of the church not our strategy or preference.
This new covenant will be what incoming new members will sign and there is no requirement for existing members to resubmit a covenant. If for some reason you don’t think you can abide by the changes please be in touch with the elders.
Change can be difficult and at times our experience can shade our expectation when someone calls a members meeting and tells you to bring a lunch! We believe these changes reflect the ongoing health of the church and set us up for greater clarity and shared mission in the future.
At the April 14 meeting we will discuss and vote to affirm these changes. If you have questions before hand don’t hesitate to speak with an elder.