Editor’s comment: This covenant was made in 1971 by a group of Seattle pastors under the leadership of Dennis Bennett of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, a group composed of 30 North American traveling 5-fold ministries, with a core group of 8 local pastors. It took them a full week to work this out, but after serious discussion, it was accepted and signed both by the 30 delegates, and later by many other pastors in the Seattle-Tacoma Metroplex.

God used this covenant, as a starting point for creating a city church, to great effect in the Kingdom. Many of us believe that God is eager for us to lay aside our “distinctives” and form regional fellowships, regional communities of faith, composed of many congregations, and believers without congregations.

I present this example as a testimony of how it was done once. There is more historical information here.

1. We whose names are signed below believe that God has set us as leaders within the body of Christ in our area. We will respect the others whose names are signed below. (A: 1 Corinthians 12:12-28; Psalm 133.)

2. If at any time we have any criticism or complaint against any of the others, we will take the steps prescribed in Matthew 18:15-17 to retain the fellowship of our brothers: first, go to the person alone; second, if necessary, go to him with two or more witnesses; third, if necessary, bring the matter before the whole group. Thereafter, we will abide by any decision reached by the whole group. (B: Exodus 23:1; Leviticus 19:16; Psalm 15:3; Proverbs 6:16, 19; 20:19; 26:20; James 3:l-10).

3. If another person brings to us any criticism or complaint against any of those whose names are signed below, we will direct that person to take the steps prescribed in Matthew 18:15-17. If the situation requires, we will be willing to go with that person as a witness. We will not entertain any criticism or compliant against any of the others whose names are signed below, except in the presence of the one against whom the criticism or complaint is made. (B: above).

4. We will also respect all other leaders within the body of Christ in our area, upon two conditions: first, that we recognize their lives and ministries as being morally and ethically sound (C: 1 Timothy 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:19-22; Titus 2:7-8); second, that they show due respect for the scriptures (D: John 14:23-24; 2 Timothy 3:16-4:2; 1 John 2:4-5) the Lord Jesus Christ (E: John 5:22-23; 10:7-9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 8:6; Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1L18; 1 John 4:2-3); the Holy Spirit (F: John 14:16-17, 26; 16:13-14; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11); and the body of Christ (G: Matthew 18:17; 1 Timothy 3:14-15; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 5:12-6:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24) in our area.

5. We will likewise respect any ministries whom God may from time to time direct to our area for the up-building of his body in our area, provided that they fulfill the two conditions stated in paragraph 4 above. (H: Matthew 10:40-41; Acts 11:22-24; 15:32-33; 18:27; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10; Philippians 2:19-29; 3 John 5-8).

6. If at any time we have reason to believe that persons are seeking to minister or exercise influence within the body of Christ in our area, who do not fulfill the conditions stated in paragraph 4, we will not give our endorsement or support to their ministries or other activities, and we will notify accordingly the other leaders whose names are signed below, as well as any members of the body of Christ in our area who look to us for spiritual leadership. (I: Matthew 7:15-23; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 3:6-9; Titus 1:9-11; 3:9-11; 2 Peter 2; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 7-11).

7. We agree that any one of us will no longer be recognized as a member of this group, if at any time:
(1) He voluntarily withdraws from this covenant;
(2) He moves to a place of residence outside our area;
(3) After fair and careful examination by the group it is decided that he no longer fulfils the conditions stated in paragraph 4.

8. New leaders may at any time be added to this group, or former leaders reinstated, provided that they fulfill the conditions stated in paragraph 4, and that they voluntarily and sincerely accept the commitments contained in this covenant.

(NOTE: The above principles can easily be adapted for a local congregation, especially where they apply. It would be hoped that local pastors would recognize the discipline of their various local churches, and stand by a brother pastor or leader when discipline has been applied. Such a member should not be received by another local congregation until the problem has been made right.) -J.A.W.

From James A Watt, one of the elders of the Latter Rain Revival of 1948.
“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10