Creating Church Culture Through A Behavioral Covenant

As part of our development as a church, we have adopted something called a “behavioral covenant.” I first heard the idea in some circles I run in and it really started to sink in. So I rallied the leadership of our church to put our heads together and to come up with OUR VERY OWN BEHAVIORAL COVENANT. I must say I am proud of our group for this, and of course, of all the B.C.’s out there I think ours is the best :)



embody, as Houstonians, the can-do, positive spirit of the true Texan.

keep a “yes-face” on, as opposed to a “no-it-can’t-be-done-face.”

stay affirmative and focused on what works well, not just primarily problem-focused.

practice active listening, that is, maintaining silence while giving the other party SPACE to talk. Bonhoeffer calls this “listening with the ears of God” (Life Together).

respond rather than to react. “Beloved brethren… everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19).

maintain an open mind in hearing out the other party first, before disagreeing, if necessary.

intercede for our church, knowing that intercession is the essence of ministry, the building blocks of community, and the glue that keeps us together.

remember that the church is not our idea but God’s, that it is bigger than any of us, and that His Spirit has plans that may far exceed any of our expectations, even beyond our lifetimes.


become energy-drainers, sapping the energy around us with negativity and dissent.

create factions within the congregation. (Eph.4:3; 1 Cor. 1:10)

gossip openly about church matters that we disagree with; rather, we will save our concerns to be voiced at appropriate venues (e.g., ministry or committee meetings).

make decisions solely on the basis of reasoning, argumentation, and debate, but rather will seek to arrive at decisions via prayer, discernment, humility, and if necessary, mutual submission.

seek out our own interests, or the interests of a minority few, but will pursue what is best for all, as the church is God’s idea, not our own, and it reaches beyond our agendas.

and, a closing prayer:

Loving God, through all our years, let the church be a place where we learn about love and practice it, where we envision peace and work to build it, where we meet partners in faith who wish to abandon fleeting pleasures, fantasies, vanities, all in the name of discipleship; where we uproot the darkness by laboring to build the localized kingdom, here in our midst. May your Spirit grant us the power we need for the Task at hand, Amen.

For more info about Behavioral Covenants, see the following links:

Behavioral Covenant samples

Why Behavioral Covenants?

Published by Wayne Park

Asian-American clergyman thinking about issues of faith, place, race and culture-making in the vast city of Houston, TX

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