You’ve come to Bridge Covenant Church as a visitor. You look around and think, “These people seem pretty normal!” You watch people sing, pray, listen, and respond. Yet all the while you may well be asking,
“So what is this place? What’s a Covenant church anyway?”
The Evangelical Covenant Church is somewhat unique among denominations in the evangelical tradition. It maintains a good deal of theological freedom in the context of a larger, conservative, biblical theology. Each Covenant church is itself uniqe from each other. Ours is a growing fellowship of many hundreds of churches in the U.S. and Canada. Though small as some denominations go, it nonetheless maintains a very fruitful world mission program in a number of countries around the world.
Church historian Martin E. Marty described the Evangelical Covenant Church as “the most ecumenical, distinctively evangelical denomination in the United States.” Each church in this family of faith has a character of its own.
Yet certain things could probably be said of all Covenant congregations. If you’re interested in theology:
- we are a people who believe in the authority and truth of the Bible;
- in the loving and just care of a personal God;
- in the saving grace and lordship of Jesus Christ;
- in the contemporary work of the Holy Spirit;
- in the importance of new life in Christ for all men, women, youth, and children;
- in Christian freedom;
- in the unity of all believers in Christ;
- in the privilege of ministering to others’ needs;
- in the joy of bringing this good news to others.
For those not so interested in theology, ours is a fellowship of believers, seeking to be faithful in biblical teaching. Yet within the biblical framework, it allows for choice in individual interpretation; we do not seek to propagate Christian faith by cloning it. The covenant is congregational in organization, encouraging all members in local congregations to give themselves to the decision-making process—whether it be in the calling of pastors, setting ministry goals and budgets, or providing adequate facilities for ministry.
A Covenant church appropriately asks for the commitment of its people—both to Christ and the work of his church. We ask people to involve themselves significantly in his mission. Years ago, in fact, we called ourselves Mission Friends; and we are no less today. Covenant churches are also celebrative in their worship and life, conveying the joy of having a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and seeking answers to loneliness, confusion, and worry, while engaging in acts of justice, compassion, and mercy.
Finally, don’t overlook what’s in our name! The Evangelical Covenant Church asks people to live out its name—to preach, teach, and live the evangel, the good news of Jesus Christ, and to covenant with other believers for growth, friendship, hope, encouragement, and accountability—all of which connect and build us up.