The idea of a covenant is found throughout the pages of Scripture. Scholars have generally agreed there are seven covenants throughout the Bible, some between God and Israel, and others between God and individuals. Covenants define the relationship between two parties, and serve as evaluative tools that measure faithfulness to the agreed upon requirements.
It’s a good idea for group leaders and church staff to have a leader covenant that provides the basic expectations of group leaders. A leader covenant has several benefits, and there are at least four reasons why you should consider implementing it with your group leaders:
- A covenant clarifies – A good leader covenant will clearly define the essential tasks that are expected of every group leader.
- A covenant filters – Some people will desire to lead Bible study groups, but perhaps have a different agenda that does not align with the purpose of groups at your church. By having a group leader sign and follow covenant guidelines, you can filter people on the front end of the recruitment process. If a person will not agree to the leader covenant, then they should not be allowed to have influence over a group as the teacher.
- A covenant elevates – A covenant raises accountability among group leaders. Increased accountability is a good thing, and can be done without taking it to an extreme and becoming legalistic.
- A covenant measures – A strong leader covenant will contain items that are measurable. Regular review of the covenant by group leaders and church staff will provide a time of measuring progress and the attainment of the goals found in the covenant. Having a covenant in place makes “hard” conversations with group leaders go better. For instance, at a semi-annual review, a church staff leader might have coffee with a group leader who isn’t hitting the mark in an area or two, review the covenant with the person, and make plans for helping the group leader achieve certain goals outlined in the covenant.
Sample Leader Covenant
Here is a leader covenant that I implemented at a church I served as an education pastor. Feel free to use and modify it in your own context, adding and deleting items as needed.
Leader C o v e n a n t
The leader covenant is a way for the entire team of adult group leaders to know they are being held accountable for the same essential tasks. The Leader Covenant is a tool by which we can evaluate our ministry and service to the Lord. The Leader Covenant was crafted by a group of your fellow group teacher-leaders and summarizes the essential tasks we value as a church and Bible-teaching ministry.
As a teacher/leader in the Bible teaching ministry of this church, I covenant with the Lord and the leaders and members of this church to:
1. Grow in my relationship with Jesus so that I live a spiritually transformed life.
2. Continually encourage my group members to serve in other ministries in the church.
3. Pray daily for members of my group.
4. Attend training meetings so that I continue to sharpen my leadership and teaching skills.
5. Regularly lead my group members to serve people in the community, moving out beyond the church campus.
6. Lead my group to follow up with guests and invite them to become members of our group.
7. Lead my group to start another one within 18-24 months.
8. Share the gospel through the lessons I teach and through my personal witness to others, setting an example for the members of my group to follow.
9. Support and pray for the pastors, recognizing they are God’s leaders who are accountable to Him for their leadership of the church.
10. Teach according to the doctrine affirmed by the church, and to use the Bible study curriculum provided for the group so that we follow a consistent plan for spiritual growth.
Agreed to by ___________________________________________ (print name)