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? 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 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 barriers were requested of non-Jewish believers. The purpose of these barriers 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. In a similar way, 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.

Picking up our questions of financial engagement, we must acknowledge that there is an overwhelming expectation of generosity from God’s people in the Old and New Covenants. Further, there is sometimes promises of blessing when people give generously to those in need. But, that might not be to a church organization. Yet, there is additional support for funding the ministries and ministers of the Lord through giving in worship to Him.

We have decided not to include financial giving as a requirement for legal membership, though we do believe that every follower of Jesus should grow in financial generosity. Yet, with that decision, we also have limited rights and responsibilities of legal members.

We’re using 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.

Yet, there’s so much more than that! We see membership not only as a legal requirement but also as a commitment to a people, that is, 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.” It is something that shows your commitment to our Hope family and it is also 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 US 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 and submit to His lordship, or leadership, of your life. If you’re unable to affirm Jesus is Lord, then we are unable to affirm you as a covenant member.
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. Meaning in water baptism, one is declaring their public commitment to Jesus and to the people of God (in our case, the local church, the people of Hope). Additionally, though, the people of God were affirming and welcoming the person being baptized into the family of God, into the church community. If you’ve yet to be baptized in water, talk with us. It is something that we do require for covenant membership.
Eighteen (18) Years of Age: If you are not eighteen (18) years of age, unfortunately, we will not be able to affirm you as a covenant member. This does not mean you are not a part of our church community. But, it does mean you are not a legal adult in the US, and for our conscience, we do not want to entrust legal responsibilities to you yet. 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 determined 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’re never around.
Ten (10) Moments of Faith: The last thing we want to see is evidence of 10 recorded Moments of Faith. You may wonder, what is a moment of faith? Well, they are pictures of practices in our lives that reveal a sustained movement toward Christ. So, maybe we’ve noticed and made a note of certain moments that we’re looking for as disciple-makers. Likely, 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, I’d bet in our discussion we will be able to discuss and identify 10 moments of faith!



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 call of 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, this is our way; the way that we as the Hope community will practice our faith through covenant 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: 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 fleshed out God’s will in human form; now we, His Church, flesh out His will and ways in our world.
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, or preparing coffee and setting the atmosphere.
Developing an Irrational Generosity: Giving to the Lord by giving to Hope Church to further our collective mission. This financial commitment to Hope must be verifiable through records of online giving and/or your name written on a giving envelope. We also trust that you are giving to the Lord through other means and celebrate your practice in the grace of giving.

Why do we ask for a majority of your giving to be directed to Hope? Remember, covenant membership is a call to higher responsibility. If you’ve covenanted with Hope, it is reasonable 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. Thus, if you’re treasure isn’t with us and our mission at Hope; is your heart? We want to say yes. Our Lord seems to imply otherwise. Therefore, financial giving and sacrifice to the Lord is a discipleship commitment and covenant commitment that is a spiritual step towards Jesus.


As your leaders, we covenant to give you support, encouragement, and guidance. Isn’t that what you give to everyone? Yes. But, there’s one more thing we can offer to our covenant members: accountability.

Our ability to hold you accountable to these practices is something that families naturally do. Further, part of spiritual maturity is accountability. 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. Membership is one way you can enter into accountability toward spiritual maturity.

Our commitment to you is to hold you accountable to your covenant commitments. Are we looking to be 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 to have conversations when we are not upholding our commitments? Yes, it is.

So, covenant membership doesn’t mean you’ve arrived; it does mean that you’re honest, transparent, and 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 this local church, to Hope, and to further the Gospel in our city. Covenant membership means you’ve given 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 for covenant membership? If so, let us know here: