Thanks for your interest in becoming a covenant member of Hope Church. The content below will answer most of your questions regarding membership and help you understand the commitment that our covenant members are making. If you have any questions regarding membership after reviewing the material, please get in touch with Pastor Brad to discuss membership further.


What is church membership? It depends on where we start. For example, if we start with Scripture and being “members of one body who belong to each other” (Rom 12:4-5), then membership is family. If we start with the legal organization of a group for a purpose within the United States, membership is a legal status with an organization. As you can see, the two are not necessarily interchangeable. Yet, our structure needs to fulfill both.

To be a member of the Jesus’ Church, the body of Christ, one does not need to become a member of an organization. However, membership in an organization often reveals a willingness to participate in that organization’s mission.


Yet, sometimes membership requirements of a legal organization move people further away from Jesus, and not one step closer to Him (which is our mission here at Hope). For example, a membership requirement may be to give a certain amount financially to the organization. That’s great, but what if you have no disposable income? What if you are struggling financially and you do not have the financial margin to give? These are good questions that require discernment.

When the gospel was expanding to new people and places outside of Israel (the perceived traditional people of God), a council of the Apostles in the early church determined what minimum requirements were requested of non-Jewish believers. The purpose of these requirements was to prevent stumbling blocks from being placed before the Jews living in areas outside of Israel-Palestine. Thus, the requirements were not to keep people out of the Church; instead, they served to continue moving the Church forward. Similarly, we are presenting minimum requirements which will guide us in continuing to move our local church forward in its missional efforts to expand the Kingdom of God.

It is worth noting that these were minimum requirements for inclusion into the family of God and that they were not all that was expected of these Gentiles coming to Christ. Thus, there were both requirements and expectations. The requirements were listed in Acts 15:19 to maintain peace in the family of God and expand the mission forward. The expectations are listed in practically all the other New Testament letters.

Picking up our questions of financial engagement, we must acknowledge an overwhelming expectation of generosity from God’s people in both the Old and New Covenants. Further, there are sometimes promises of blessing when people give generously to those in need. While that giving might not be to a church organization, there is support in Scripture for funding the ministries and ministers of the Lord through giving in worship to Him. All that to say, while we have decided not to include financial giving as a requirement for legal membership, we do believe that every follower of Jesus should grow in financial generosity, and it is thus an expectation our members will develop into and practice.

Thus, in summary, we do have minimum requirements for entry into legal membership, and we do have expectations that our covenant members will grow into practicing as a result of their commitment.


We used the phrase, legal members because that’s what we are talking about: legal membership in a 501(c)3 organization. Again, you won’t find anything like that in the Scriptures. And our legal members have limited rights and responsibilities outlined in our bylaws.

Yet, there’s so much more than legal membership in an organization! We see membership not only as a legal requirement but also as a commitment to a people, that is, to the local church community! Remember at the start we said the church is family, and that’s what we are, the family of God!

In the biblical days, families would join together through covenants. Covenants outline the expectations of a family and the commitments they make to one another. Often, covenants came with both blessings and curses; blessings for fulfillment and curses for negligence. We aren’t getting into blessings and cursings with our covenant, but we do hope that you take seriously the commitment to covenant membership that you make.

And that’s the term we use, “covenant membership.” Covenant membership primarily shows your commitment to our Hope family while it also carries a legal status with our 501(c)3 organization. We’ve done our best to blend the two into one aspect and recognize many churches throughout the U.S. have arrived at different approaches and requirements and expectations of covenant commitments.


PROFESSION OF JESUS: We exist as a corporation to worship Jesus and advance His Gospel. That means, to be a member of Hope, you must ally yourself with Jesus, submit to His lordship, and affirm His leadership of your life.
WATER BAPTISM: One of the clear pictures of covenant commitment and family in the Scriptures is the practice of water baptism. Water baptism by immersion was a decided act by both the person being baptized and the group participating in the baptism. This means in water baptism, one is declaring their public commitment to Jesus and their commitment to community with the people of God (in our case, the people of Hope). Additionally, the people of God were affirming and welcoming the person being baptized into the family of God, into the church community.
AGE OF EIGHTEEN (18): If you are not eighteen (18) years of age, unfortunately, we will not be able to affirm you as a covenant member. But stick around! All of us get older every day, and you are the next generation to lead the people of God! Your time will come. If you are reading this and are under the age of eighteen, please contact a pastor and start a mentorship.
SIX (6) MONTH PARTICIPATION: We do want to see a track record of six-month participation in our gatherings that is shown by no less than an average of bi-weekly participation. Does this mean if you’re a snowbird, you can’t become a member? Not necessarily, but it does mean when you’re home, you're joining us in worship and mission! It’s the average we’re looking for… Why do we require this? We are a local church in the local community, incarnating ourselves in mission into our local context. We can’t covenant to our family if we are often not around.
TEN (10) MOMENTS OF FAITH: The last thing we want to see is 10 recorded Moments of Faith. You may wonder, what is a moment of faith? They are pictures of practices in our lives that reveal a sustained movement toward Christ. It is possible that we’ve noticed and made notes of certain moments that we’re looking for as disciple-makers. However, it is highly likely that we don’t see all the moments of faith in your life. So, let’s get together for a discussion. If you’re committed to Jesus and to our family, we’d bet in our discussion that we will be able to discuss and identify 10 moments of faith!


A Covenant is a biblical concept. In the Ancient Near East, a covenant was a binding agreement in which covenant partners upheld certain obligations and could expect certain benefits in return. What differentiates a covenant from a contract is that a covenant implies meaningful relationship. God covenanted with Noah, Abram, and eventually the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai. The prophets viewed the covenant at Sinai as a marriage between Yahweh and His people. We believe that to covenant together, to commit our lives to Jesus and to one another is what it means to be the Church.

"Why should I become a covenant member of a local church?" Completing a covenant is a formal way of declaring that this commitment to Christ and His church is, in fact, a serious reality in your life. If we do not practice marriage without a formal agreement and if marriage is a reflection of Christ and His Church, why then, would we practice church, being the marriage partner to Jesus and living as the bride of Christ, any differently? Therefore, in covenant membership, you are committing to fulfilling all of the following expectations:


Covenant Membership is about more than attending church meetings and gatherings. In covenant membership, you are committing to joining a spiritual family that provides encouragement and support and are pledging to a higher degree of responsibility, service, and sacrifice with the Hope community.

We do acknowledge that there are many ways you can follow Jesus and many ways you can practice your faith. Our member covenant is not about being the only way, or even the best way to follow Jesus. However, these are the ways we have chosen to practice our faith as the Hope community through covenant commitments together as a family.
LIVING WITH GOSPEL INTENTIONALITY: Sharing Hope with one person each month through an invitation to a Hope gathering, group, event, or to my home to discuss Christ & develop relationship.
STRIVING TO BLESS SOMEBODY: Practicing BLESS monthly. Bless is an acronym for the following: Begin with prayer. Listen to others. Eat with others. Serve others. Story – hearing their stories, shaping your story to connect with them, and ultimately, God’s story and how it is being lived out in their lives. Jesus embodied God’s will in human form; now we, His Church, embody His will and ways in our world.

“As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you,” declares Jesus. In this sentness, we seek to expand the Kingdom by becoming the people of Jesus He’s calling us to be and by practicing BLESS.
SHARING IN FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY: Volunteering twice (2x) per month in any of our gatherings or missional expressions. Some items are such as serving or missionally engaging at Community Dinners or helping with the Kid's Worship Gathering. Others could involve eventually leading a discipleship group. Or serving someone in the community in a regular, consistent way.

This practice begins to understand more deeply Paul’s teaching of the word, “member,” in 1 Corinthians 12. A member is someone who is functioning for the greater good of the body. It’s not about what we can get; it’s about what we’re called to do.
CONTRIBUTING TO GENUINE COMMUNITY: Participating twice (2x) per month in Hope gatherings, groups, or events. Participation implies practicing your spiritual gifts and actively contributing to the gathering, group, or event. Examples include preparing a testimony, writing a prayer to share, studying to contribute an encouraging word or Scripture, leading or helping in kids worship, baking for Community Dinner, setting up or tearing down, or preparing coffee and setting the atmosphere, or even being present to pray with or encourage someone.

See, we don’t go to church: we are the Church, the body of Christ, commissioned to be His representatives in our work and world. Therefore, showing up to worship once a month and being primarily absent from the community is not something that someone who has committed to covenant membership can do. Covenant membership is committing to something higher, more consistent, and more intentional than occasional attendance.
DEVELOPING AN IRRATIONAL GENEROSITY: Giving to the Lord by directing the majority of your giving to Hope Church to further our collective mission. This financial commitment to Hope should be verifiable through our records. We do trust that you are giving to the Lord through other means and celebrate your practice in the grace of giving.

Why, though, do we ask for a majority of your giving to be directed to Hope? Covenant membership is a commitment to higher responsibility. Since you’re committing to covenant membership with us, it is reasonable for us to expect that a majority of your giving to the Lord is directed towards Hope. Our Lord taught us that where our treasure is, our hearts are also. According to Jesus, discipleship and worship of the heart involves our money. Financial giving and sacrifice to the Lord is a discipleship practice and covenant commitment that is a spiritual step toward Jesus.


As your leaders, we covenant to give you support, encouragement, and guidance. You may wonder: “Isn’t that what you give to everyone?” Yes it is. But, there’s one more thing we can offer to our covenant members: accountability. Just as families naturally keep each other accountable to the family values, we as leaders commit to help our covenant members uphold the family values of our church.

Accountability is a very important part of anyone’s spiritual development and maturity. Thus, our ability to catapult your growth in Christ depends on our ability to challenge you and to encourage your faithfulness to these covenant practices and expectations. As your Lead Pastor (Brad), I am accountable to our Board, to the Ohio Ministry Network, and to personal mentors who guide and challenge me in my thinking and practice. Covenant membership is one way you can enter into accountability leading toward spiritual maturity.

Our commitment to you, then, is to help you grow in and help you achieve the covenant expectations. Are we looking to be spiritual police? No. Are we looking for your best and your spiritual growth? Yes. Are consistency, reliability, and accountability things that move us closer to Jesus? Absolutely! Is it hard for us as leaders to approach conversations when we see individuals not upholding their covenant commitments? Yes, it is. But, discipleship is not always easy. It’s not always easy for you; it’s not always easy for us.


In summary, covenant membership means that you’re living honest, transparent lives, and that you’re trying your best to walk toward Jesus within our Hope family. Covenant membership means that you’re giving Jesus your all and that you’ve dedicated yourself to your local brothers and sisters in Christ, to Hope Church, to further the Gospel in our city. Covenant membership means you’ve dedicated yourself to moving one step closer to Jesus, guiding others to do the same, and spreading Hope: one person, one family, one community at a time.

Are you ready to join us in covenant membership? If so, let us know here: