Covenant Partners are passionate about our shared mission.
River Valley has many attendees and guests, but the core of our community are those who have declared, “I’m in!” They are passionate about our shared mission to “Impact the world as we follow Jesus together.” They have entered into a covenant with one another to get in on what God is doing in and through the faith community at River Valley because they realize that our identity as Christ followers is inherently a commitment to Christ and His Body. These are our Covenant Partners.
“Covenant” is a binding agreement we see throughout Scripture where partners are committed to one another for a common purpose. At River Valley, “Covenant Partnership” is our shared commitment to fully participate in our shared vision, values, and mission rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Which means any follower of Jesus is invited to join us in this covenant.
Continue reading below for more information and for answers to frequently asked questions.
The leadership of River Valley is passionate about fully participating together in our shared mission, vision, and values.
We are committed to be a faith community that:
- Seeks to bring glory to God in everything we say and do as a church community.
- Listens and responds to the whispers of the Holy Spirit as He redeems and restores God’s creation and builds His Church among us.
- Embodies, communicates and champions the gospel of Jesus Christ through lives of worship.
- Embraces our values of relationship, righteousness, responsiveness, and being real and relevant.
- Develops servant leaders who are committed to help anyone God sends us to be formed in the image of God.
- Walks with one another through our messes; resolving conflicts in Biblical, God-honoring ways.
- Nurtures an atmosphere where anyone can come as they are trusting God to transform them into who He made them to be as they participate in our faith community.
- Develops smaller communities, within our church community, where we can know and be known, love and be loved, serve and be served, and celebrate and be celebrated.
- Equips and empowers one another to serve in alignment with our God-given design.
- Equips and encourages everyone who calls River Valley home to “play”–to fully participate in what God is doing in their world.
- Seeks to be Jesus’ hands and feet to the least, the lost and one another Sunday to Sunday.
- Stewards wisely, generously, and joyfully all resources God has entrusted to us for the sake of His Kingdom.
You might be asking: What's the catch? What do you want from me?
How can I become a Covenant Partner?
What's the difference between Covenant Partnership and membership?
Both are expressions of belonging and commitment, and both are biblical. The Old Testament refers most to covenant; Paul develops the term “member” in his letters. Covenant partnership is River Valley’s form of membership. We choose “covenant’ because of the rich relational component it implies: If we are “in Christ,” then we are members of Christ’s Body by virtue of the New Covenant sealed by Jesus on the cross.
Who is the covenant between? God and me? or River Valley and me?
As followers of Jesus, we covenant with God. As His people, we covenant with one another to follow Jesus together. So, the answer is: both. Our profession of faith in Jesus Christ necessarily binds us together with other believers, whether we live that way or choose to recognize it. Participation in Christ’s Body is not optional for followers of Jesus – it is wrapped up in our surrender to Jesus as Lord.
Why should someone covenant with River Valley community?
The real question is, “Why should someone be a part of a church?” Committing your life to Jesus, to others in community, and joining with Jesus as He redeems and restores His world is what it means to be a church. Quite frankly, you can’t follow Jesus and isolate yourself from His Body. Formally participating in covenant is a way of declaring that your commitment to Jesus and His Church is a driving force in your life.
Is covenant partnership or membership really biblical?
The Bible implies “church membership” just as it does our common, orthodox belief of the Trinity. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he indirectly assumes the importance of an active participation in the local church and everything that is involved: support, accountability, authority and correction (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11). This is done not out of guilt or obligation or trying to earn anything from God, but simply because we are now the people of God, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation – the people in whom God dwells. We also find Biblical precedent in Paul’s instruction to Timothy on church governance and his writings to the church in Rome. In the earliest years of the Church, one church was established in each city. Formal “membership” was accomplished by joining a persecuted group of people. You were identified with the “despised” (and sometimes revered) group and Jesus by entering the waters of baptism. The Great Commission was your mission. It was clear: you suffered with your brothers and sisters; you were in covenant with them. You were a part of something bigger than yourself.
How is Covenant Partnership important to my discipleship?
Only disciples will accomplish our mission, so we are committed to developing everyday, passionate followers of Jesus. The primary place this happens is in deep community; we cannot grow without the love, encouragement and accountability of a like-minded circle of friends. The Bible also offers a functional structure to the local church for order, effectiveness, focus and even discipline. Our commitment to our shared mission, vision, values and governance by our words and actions is vital for spiritual growth; it moves us from fuzzy intentions to a dedicated focus in our faith journey. This is why we make and renew our covenants in communities where we regularly do life together. This allows all partners to be in a community that will help them actively engage in their faith journey. It also provides a simple way for those already participating in our church community, who have yet to formally enter this covenant, to do so among friends that know and love them.
I'm 'all in' already. Why is this formal step necessary?
We love that you love the mission. Like you, we will always be dedicated to being Jesus’ hands and feet to the least and the lost. However, we also want to identify those who are committed to our mission and values so that we know the strength of our “team” (which is one reason why everyone renews their covenant annually). To be the people God has called us to be, a core of outward-focused disciples who are in covenant relationship together is absolutely essential. Covenant Partners commit their energy, resources, and time to the local church at a higher level of commitment, shared ownership and responsibility. The Covenant Partnership officially acknowledges those followers of Jesus who truly want to make an impact at and through River Valley…celebrating those who have transitioned from spectator to participant.
Are Covenant Partnerships indefinite?
We ask our partners to renew their covenant partnership each year. This allows us to keep a current data-base for sure, but more importantly, it allows us to check the pulse of those who are partnering in our mission; to ask them: “Is their heart, time, talent and resources in alignment with the covenant they’ve made to share in the mission and values of River Valley?” Renewal is an anniversary of sorts where we celebrate once again our shared commitment to Jesus and His mission in and through us.