The Partnership Covenant
The primary purposes of this covenant are...
1. to establish teaching and doctrinal parameters for New City Church.
2. to clarify the obligations and expectations for both the Elders of New City Church and the Partners of New City Church.
Core Beliefs of New City Church
The following beliefs represent the core of orthodox Christianity from a Biblical and historical perspective. Partners (was ‘You’) are expected to affirm the beliefs of New City Church and deal with any disagreements with these beliefs with humility and love always seeking to encourage and maintain unity in the body (1 Cor. 1:10; Heb. 13:17).
What We Believe
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible, and God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matt. 5:18; John 16:12-13).
2. The Godhead
We believe in one True God, the eternal sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit co-eternal in being, co-eternal in nature, co-equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfections (Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14).
3. The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man, by living the perfect, God-honoring life sinners could not live (John 1:1-2, 14; Luke 1:35).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Rom. 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3-5).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry as Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 7:25, 9:24; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5; Rom. 14:9; 2 Tim. 4:1). His second coming will bring about the restoration of all things to God (Acts 3:20-21; Col. 1:15-16, 19-20; Rev. 21:1-5).
4. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8, 11; 2 Cor. 3:6; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 5:18).
5. Total Depravity
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but (deleted ‘that’) through Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; man is totally depraved and of himself utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3, 12).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace through the work of the Holy Spirit and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; John 1:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
7. Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ, forever sealed by the Holy Spirit (John 6:37, 40; John 10:27, 30; Rom. 8:1, 38-39; 1 Cor. 1:4, 8; 1 Peter 1:5; Eph. 1:13-14).
We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’ s Word, which clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11, 15).
8. Ministry and Spiritual Gifts
We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowing of spiritual gifts. However, it is the believer's responsibility through the work of the Holy Spirit to develop their spiritual gift(s).
We believe that particular spiritual gift(s) are neither essential, nor prove the presence of the Holy Spirit, nor are an indication of deep spiritual experience (1 Cor. 12:7, 11, 13; Eph. 4:7-8).
We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accordance with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15).
We believe that it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to minister according to the gift(s) and grace of God that is given to him (Rom. 12:1, 8; 1 Cor. 13; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
9. The Church
We believe that the church, which is the body and espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all those whose faith is in Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25, 27; 1 Cor. 12:12, 14; 2 Cor. 11:2).
We believe that the establishment and continuance of the local church is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 18:22; 20:17; 1 Tim. 3:1, 3; Titus 1:5, 11).
We believe in the autonomy of the local churches, free of any external authority and control (Acts 13:1, 4; 15:19, 31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4, 7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1, 4).
We recognize believer’ s baptism and the Lord’ s Supper as scriptural means of testimony for the church (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 18:8; 1 Cor. 11:23, 26).
Obligations of New City Church Elders to the New City Church Body
New City is lead by a plurality of elders. Seeking to reflect the New Testament model of governance, elders are given the responsibility and privilege of leading, protecting, equipping, and caring for the local church body. (Deleted a couple of sentences that were describing the partners responsibility to the elders) The following are specific ways the Elders at New City Church covenant to carry out this responsibility.
The Elders of New City Church covenant ...
1. to ensure Gospel-centered worship by preaching, teaching, and counseling the Word of God through the lens of the gospel (2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 1:16).
2. to be family driven by supporting, encouraging, preaching, and teaching what it means to live as brothers and sisters in Christ. We aim to have 100% of our partners living as family members in a New City Church Missional Community (John 13:34-35; Acts 2:42-47).
3. to be missional in our decisions by making assessments and judgments on what we do and how we do it based on our mission to help others live in light of the gospel and our vision of seeing the gospel transform everything within our reach, ourselves, our church, our city, and the world. We believe that our mission and vision are best reached when we live as a family of missionary servants, disciples who make disciples.
We will ask, “How does this thing/idea/event aid us in seeing the gospel transform ourselves, our families, our church, our city, and/or the world?” as we make decisions. We will work to constantly lead the people of New City Church outward to live the Gospel mission in every area of life (Matt. 28:18-20).
4. to be theologically geared by not shying away from theology, but embracing it as our means to know God. We believe that God wants us to know Him and to Love Him in knowing Him – that is the end of our theology – MORE GOD, not simply more information (Acts 20:27-28; 1 Tim. 4:16; Titus 2:1).
5. to appoint qualified leadership by carefully and prayerfully striving to select only leaders that are biblically qualified (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
6. to steward the church’s resources well based on the study of the Scriptures, the mission of the church, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
7. to be on guard against false teachers and false teachings by seeking to be aware of all teaching that is happening at New City Church. We will correct, equip, and/or confront any who are teaching false and harmful doctrine in the church (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:28-31; 1 Tim. 1:3-7; 1 John 4:1).
8. to lovingly exercise discipline by striving to follow the biblical model for church discipline (Matt. 18:15- 20; 1 Cor. 5:1-13).
9. to be positive examples by living lives marked by the Gospel and fulfilling the obligations of New City Partners that are listed below. The Elders will strive to live godly lives and will also fulfill the obligations of partnership at New City Church (Phil. 3:17; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7-8; 1 Pet. 5:3).
Obligations of New City Church Partners to the New City Church Body
The Partners of New City Church are a body of believers who have covenanted together to live as members of God’s family. The obligations of this covenant are not an addition to the obligations of believers as taught in the Bible. Instead, this section is a summary of what the Bible teaches about the transformed life that faith produces in one who is filled by the Holy Spirit. Additionally, this section serves to make clear what the New City elders and partners ought to expect from one another.
Requirements for Partnership (membership):
You profess faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection as the only possible means of eternal salvation from sin and death that is granted to you freely according to God’s grace alone (Rom. 1:16-17; 3:22-23; 5; 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Eph. 2:1-10).
You commit to the authority of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments humbly submitting to them as the final authority in all issues of life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible, and God-breathed (Luke 24:25-27; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21, Matt. 5:18; John 16:12-13).
You commit to living out the biblical mission and vision of New City Church (Matt. 28:19-20).
You commit, by the grace of God and the power of the Spirit, to a life of faithful, holy obedience to the commands and teachings of the Holy Scriptures for the glory of God, the good of God’s people and your own good.
Expectations (though not required for partnership, expected of partners):
You are expected to have been baptized or pursue baptism as a testimony of your salvation in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 2:41; Rom. 6:3-7; Col. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 3:21-22).
You are expected to affirm the Core Beliefs of New City Church and deal with any disagreements with these beliefs with humility and love, always seeking to encourage and maintain unity in the body (1 Cor. 1:10; Heb. 13:17).
You are expected to join New City Church in striving to fulfill her mission and see her vision become reality by living with us as a family of missionary servants.
As a family member, you are expected to:
1. Regularly attend New City’s weekly corporate gatherings
2. Actively participate in a New City Missional Community (John 13:34-35; Acts 2:42-47; 2 Cor. 1:3-7; Gal. 6:1-2).
3. Submit to the Elders of New City Church and to actively work to maintain the unity of the body as founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the glory of God (Psalm 133; John 17:20-23; Col. 3:12-17; Heb. 13:17; 1 Peter 3:8; 5:5).
4. Submit to discipline by God through his Holy Spirit, to follow biblical procedures for church discipline (see Discipline Manual) and submit to righteous discipline when approached biblically by brothers and sisters in Christ, and to submit to discipline by church leadership if the need should ever arise (Ps. 141:5; Matt. 18:15–17; 1 Cor. 5:1–5; 2 Cor. 2:5–8; Gal. 6:1–5, 8; 1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Tim. 2:25; Titus 1:9; 3:10–11; Heb. 12:5–11; Rev. 2:5–7, 14–25).
5. Do the following if I leave the church in good standing and for healthy reasons:
a. Notify an Elder of New City Church in writing (email, handwritten note) of your decision to leave the church and remove yourself from Partnership with New City Church. This helps the Elders of New City know who is currently under their care. It also allows the Elders to wish you well as you follow God's leading to your next church and ensure there is peace as you go (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; Heb. 13:17).
b. Seek to become a Partner of another church (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 2:19; 5:29-30; Heb. 13:17).
As a missionary, you are expected to:
1. Intentionally engage with the people within your reach with the gospel (2 Cor. 5:17-20; 1 Pet. 2:9).
2. Give financially according to the New Testament Model of sacrificial giving in order to provide for the work to which God has called us (2 Cor. 8-9).
As a servant, you are expected to:
Use the gifts that the Holy Spirit grants you as well as other general abilities to serve in Missional Community as well as at weekly gatherings with and through New City Church as we live out our mission and vision (Rom. 12:1-8; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Pet. 4:8-11).
The Partnership Covenant is adapted from The Village Church’s Statement of Basic Belief and Partnership Covenant and can be found at http://www.thevillagechurch.net.