Understandings Of Gospel Life And Mission

This page outlines some understandings of gospel life together at Grace Church Gateshead, before giving the church’s membership covenant – which is a short summary of what we understand the Bible teaches about being a healthy member of a healthy church. If you haven’t already, first please read our page what is membership and why does it matter?

Highs And Lows

Gospel life and mission is incredibly exciting. It can also be enormously hard. As well as times of celebration, rejoicing, fulfilment, and deep community, there will also be times of pain, frustration, financial challenge, loneliness, and disappointment.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Even though we have the opportunity to build a church that is passionate about Jesus and his mission, we will still have unmet expectations with our community as well. It will not be the perfect church and will not satisfy us in every way.

Sacrifice Will Be The Norm, Not The Exception

I understand that following Jesus on mission will require an “all hands on deck” mentality. However, I commit to be candid with the leadership when my service is causing my life to be imbalanced. All of us – members and leaders – want to care for one another in this.

Building Trust In Leadership

There will be times that we think the church should go in one direction but the leadership will take it in a different direction. When this happens, we understand that even when we don’t agree we will stand behind them, believing the best about them, assuming they are prayerfully doing what God is guiding them to do.

No Entitlement

We are asking God to do a special work in the North East through our labours. Our reason for being a part of this community is not based in any way on what we hope happens in the future for us personally. We are in this for His glory and the good of others, not our own glory.

Forms Will Change

I understand that the purpose of the church is to demonstrate the glory of God in the world. Though the function of the church will never change (our mission), the forms of the church may change. The leadership of the church will seek God as to how to best equip us in each season of the life of the church. Different ministries will have different shelf-lives.

Lots Of Good Ideas

Ideas and decisions will be prayed through and thought through. We understand that our ideas may be just the thing that carries the church to its future. We also understand that our ideas may not always be accepted, and we will not take it personally.

Relational Expectations

The potential for rich community will be great, considering the like-minded people who feel called to this team. However, I understand that we will not all be best friends. Some people will be closer with one another than others. Some people who have previous history together may find themselves connecting with new people. I understand that biblical community is not creating a comfortable “bubble”, but about encouraging one another toward a deeper love for Jesus and a life that brings glory to God. The multiplication of community groups and new Churches will require some painful distance in deep relationships. We are willing to sacrifice our own relational comforts so that others can come to know Jesus.

Conflict Resolution

We will have conflict with one another. Whether we are the offended or the offender, we commit to taking every step to resolve issues that bring temporary division to the Body of Christ. Sometimes this will need the assistance of church leadership. I commit to not slander or gossip about anyone in our community.

Cheering For The Big “C” Church

I (we) commit to building up other local churches in the North East. We are not in competition with them. We have the same mission, yet will each have unique ways of living out our God-directed visions. If we really desire to see Jesus’ mission go forward here, then we will not be competing for church people, but we will direct our efforts toward the mass of humanity currently living apart from Christ.

God Wills It

I (we) have sought the Lord and truly feel that it is His will that I(we) be a committed member(s) of Grace Church Gateshead. Regardless of the circumstances that I(we) will face in the months and years ahead, we will be convinced that God called me (us) to this and be unified in this decision. I am/we are in 100% agreement that this is God’s best for us in this season of our lives. I am/we are not going with unhealthy expectations, and I am/we are not simply following a personality or ministry philosophy. I am/we are confident; as best as I (we) can be that we are following God in becoming a member of GCG.

Healthy Joining

I (we) commit to uphold “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” among the Body of Christ in the North East. I (we) know that Grace Church Gateshead is committed to healthy relationships with other local churches in the area, and I (we) understand that Grace Church Gateshead will not formally welcome people into membership who have unresolved conflict at a previous church unless they have attempted, as far as they are able, to bring about reconciliation.

Healthy Parting

I (we) understand that our commitment to this church is not to be taken lightly. I (we) will be an integral part of the Body of Christ. If at some point, if I (we) are called to serve in another local church or missionary field, I (we) commit to making this decision in the midst of community by seeking counsel and discussing with church leadership. It will always be my/our goal to preserve unity in this community and not seek to selfishly harm God’s work for my own agendas.

Need To Revisit

I (we) understand that expectations are extremely hard to control. We understand that though we may have just read all of the above statements, and agreed with them, we are probably going to need to return to these themes in the months and years ahead.

Grace Church Gateshead Membership Covenant

Leadership’s Covenant Promise

With the help of the Holy Spirit, the church leadership at Grace Church Gateshead covenants the following:

  1. We covenant ourselves to lovingly caring for you and seeking your growth in Christ (Heb. 13:17: 1 Thess. 5:12).
  2. We covenant to provide teaching and counsel from the Scriptures (Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17-18) and that this teaching will span the whole counsel of God’s Word (Acts 20: 27-28).
  3. We covenant to helping you in times of need as your needs are made known. (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35; James 2:14-17).
  4. We covenant that your elders and deacons will meet the criteria assigned to them in the Scriptures (1 Tim. 3:1-13 & 5:17-22, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:1-4).
  5. We covenant to pray for you regularly, particularly when you are sick (James 5:14).
  6. We covenant to exercise church discipline when necessary (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5; Gal.6:1).
  7. We covenant to seek God’s will for our church community to the best of our ability as we study the Scriptures and follow the Spirit (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-5).
  8. We covenant to set an example and join you in fulfilling the duties of church member (1 Co. 11; Philip. 3:17; 1 Tim. 4:12).

Your Covenant Promise

With the guiding help of the Holy Spirit, I, the undersigned, covenant the following:

  1. I am a Christian who has been saved from my sins by the grace of Jesus Christ. I have been, or intend to be, baptised to give testimony of my identification with the body of Christ and obedience to the Scriptures.
  2. I have read through GCG’s membership documents and can joyfully affirm my agreement with the church’s core beliefs and vision.
  3. I have read and understand GCG’s Distinctives (found within the membership documents). I agree not to be divisive on these issues. I also understand the importance of submission to church leadership and will be diligent to preserve unity and peace (Hebrews 13:7; Ephesians 4: 1-3).
  4. I will endeavour to maintain a close relationship with the Lord through regular personal Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and practice of the other spiritual disciplines. I commit to using the spiritual gifts God has given me for the building up of the church, both at Grace Church Gateshead and universally (1 Peter. 4:10-11; Romans 12:1-8; 1 Cor. 12: 7-13).
  5. My journey in Christ will be evident through my regular participation in the corporate worship services, and I will have consistent involvement in a community group (Psalms 119:97, 105: Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:23-25).
  6. I will strive to properly manage the resources God has given me, including my time, body, gifts and talents, attitudes, finances and possessions (Eph. 5:15-18: Romans 12:1-2; Eph. 4:1-16; Gal. 5:22- 26; Proverbs 3:9-10). This includes regular financial giving to Grace Church Gateshead that is both sacrificial and cheerful (2 Corinthians 8 and 9).
  7. I covenant to have friendly Christian relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ from other churches, but I will not hold membership to another church or consistently serve, regularly attend, tithe, or function in leadership position in another church family (Heb. 13:17).
  8. I covenant to follow the biblical procedures of church discipline and submit myself to discipline if the need should ever arise (Matt. 18:15-17; Gal. 6:1-5).
  9. I covenant to submit to the authority of the Scriptures as the final arbiter on all issues (Psalm 119: 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
  10. My responsibility will be to notify the Grace Church Gateshead leadership if at any time I can no longer commit to this covenant, or if I have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding Grace Church Gateshead.