Membership at Fellowship Dallas

Membership can mean many things, but at Fellowship Dallas we believe that it’s a covenant, not a contract. We care more about transformation than participation, and we want each person at Fellowship to become a more committed disciple of Jesus—someone who follows Him inwardly and outwardly and calls others to do the same.

At Fellowship Dallas, our covenant is a pledge to one another. It’s a voluntary next step for someone who wants to grow deeper as a disciple of Jesus and help others do the same.

To learn more, read The Covenant and FAQs below. 

The Covenant

my covenant with my fellowship family

Desiring to covenant with the body of Christ at Fellowship Dallas…

I Declare my faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior and affirm the core beliefs* of Fellowship Dallas and our mission of calling each other to live out our God-given purpose in Christ every day. 

I Accept 
the call to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ in becoming:

Consistent in pursuing a God-centered life 
as we get to know Him more and surrender our lives to Him.

Resistant to doing life on my own as we acknowledge our need for authentic relationships that remind us of our identity in Christ.

Persistent in designing a life of intentional investment as we learn to make more purposeful commitments and be boldly generous in the places God calls us.

Insistent on a legacy of exponential impact as we invest in the next generation, develop in our servant leadership, and draw others to Christ to build His Kingdom.

I Will Live 
this out with my Fellowship family as I get to know others and let them get to know me. I will make every effort to maintain unity with others. I will come alongside others in times of spiritual, emotional, and physical need. I will accept biblical encouragement and calls to repentance and restoration. I will offer my time, spiritual gifts, and financial resources to build up this church body.   

I Can Expect 
early communication and invitations to give input; regular opportunities to assess my spiritual health and receive guidance toward next steps; leadership development opportunities; and environments where I can worship with the body, live in community, serve in my gifting, and be trained up to live out my God-given purpose in Christ.

*Our core beliefs can be found on our website here.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What do you mean by “covenant?” 

A covenant has historically been defined as a sacred bond between two parties whereby each party solemnly pledges to bless or serve the other party in some way. 

Covenanting with Fellowship Dallas is a voluntary next step for someone who desires to grow as a disciple of Jesus and covenant with others at Fellowship to do it together.  

It’s an invitation into process and celebration and a way to declare, “I am on the active journey of becoming like Jesus” and “I belong to the people of Fellowship Dallas who are my partners in this process for my life and I commit to be part of it in theirs.”  

Can I ______________ if I am not a Covenant Member? 

You can…

Be in a Life Group  without covenanting with us.

On a  Service Team without covenanting with us.

Participate in Training Experiences without covenanting with us.

There are some leadership roles that are available only to those who choose to covenant with us.  This helps ensure that those who have influential spiritual and directional roles in the ministries of Fellowship affirm and commit to the same set of core beliefs, convictions, and covenantal spirit and are choosing to live in a covenant relationship with others.

How long am I covenanting for? 

In the past we have renewed our covenant annually, as though it was brand new each year.  That will not be the case going forward.

When you covenant with the people of Fellowship, you are choosing to live in this relationship for as long as God has you at Fellowship Dallas.  If or when God moves you to another place, you are encouraged to move on in a healthy way by informing church leadership and those with whom you’re in community.

There will be an opportunity each year during a Spiritual Health Assessment for people to indicate if they are a Covenant Member or if they would like more information about Covenant Membership.

Will this create a feeling of the “haves” and “have nots?” 

Covenant Membership is something that each person who attends Fellowship can make a personal decision about.  It is an open invitation to anyone who has put their trust in Jesus and affirms the basic Christian doctrine (our  Core  Beliefs).    

There is no pressure on someone to choose to covenant with us as they enter into life at Fellowship.  They will have the opportunity  to  hear the gospel and enter into worship, groups, service, and training right away through our monthly  Discover  experience.    

As others see the  way we who have covenanted  with one another  live and grow together,  our hope is that they will be drawn to us and will want to accept the invitation to join us.  But, the choice is always theirs.  

Our goal is not to talk everyone at Fellowship into covenanting with us.  It will be a next step for those who desire to covenant with others who are like-minded in their desire for growth, encouragement, and partnership  with each other.  

Some leadership roles will be  only  for those who are covenanting with us.  This gives us confidence that those who have influential spiritual and directional roles in the ministries of Fellowship affirm,  commit to, and live out the same set of core  beliefs, convictions and  covenantal  spirit.   

How does Covenant Membership fit with our mission of  calling each other to live out our God-given purpose in Christ every day?

Our mission statement is intimate.  We call each other.  This means we are willing to be known.  It means we are willing to discover and live out our God-given purpose and cheer on those around us as they do the same.  We live out the “one anothers” of scripture and our specific purpose in community and out in the world with a place to come “home” to  for the  encouragement, strengthening  and equipping we need  to continue.  

Is believer’s baptism a requirement for Covenant Membership? 

Believer’s baptism is not a requirement for Covenant Membership, but we do believe it is an ordinance commanded by Jesus in the New Testament and is a significant part of a personal  relationship with Him. Therefore, we will strongly encourage everyone who is a follower of Jesus to make that public declaration of faith.    

Will people be pressured into becoming Covenant Members?  Who is it for? 

Nope!  This is a voluntary next step for someone who is ready to step through the doorway and covenant to walk in a discipleship journey with  Jesus and  others at Fellowship Dallas.       

Covenant membership isn’t always the right next step for everyone. However, there will  be an opportunity for everyone.  Even a brand new believer can take steps to live in the covenant. You can start at any point in your walk with Jesus and grow in a covenant relationship with your church family. 

How will the covenant be carried out? 

This is about becoming & belonging, grace & growth, freedom & following.  This is a covenant that a person makes with the other believers who covenant with us at Fellowship.  It is not about enforcement, but about encouragement and calling each other to live out the call of Jesus to  love  and follow Him, to live out the “one anothers” of scripture and to go and make disciples.  It is about a body of believers who are all moving in the same direction together.

This covenant is in no way intended to be a legal contract and there will be no attempts to enforce it as such.

There will be an annual spiritual health assessment that will help each person understand what their next growth step might look like.  There will be resources and guidance available through  Life  Groups and through conversations with leadership.  This again is not to keep tabs, but to encourage honest assessment and growth.

We do not revoke Covenant Membership.  However, someone living in unrepentant sin who is unwilling to enter into recovery and restoration or someone who endangers or disrupts the unity of the body through their words or behaviors may be asked to step away from the Fellowship Dallas body for a period of time or even indefinitely as the situation warrants, but only after going through a  biblical process  for dealing with such situations.  Such person may of course choose to remove themselves from Covenant Membership and we will respect that choice if it is made.  See this  article  on church discipline.

What about kids & students?  Will they be “members” if their parents covenant with us or will they decide for themselves? 

We will present Covenant Membership to our juniors and seniors.  They are walked through what it means, offered the opportunity to be members so that they would be sent out equipped to choose a church away from home knowing the questions to ask, things to look at, and what it means to be a member of a church.  

If a younger  student showed a desire to personally declare their desire to covenant with us, we are open to enter into a conversation with them and their parents.  

Section 1: I Declare/I Accept

How will someone declare their  faith in Jesus Christ as Savior? 

Each person will have the opportunity to share their declaration of faith and story of coming to faith in Christ to a Fellowship staff member or a connecting volunteer during our membership invitation or in a one-on-one meeting.

What  do you mean by “I accept  the call to grow as a disciple of Christ in becoming…?” 

The four calls of discipleship at Fellowship are  to grow in becoming…

  • Consistent in pursuing a God-centered life
  • Resistant to doing life on my own
  • Persistent in designing a life of intentional investment
  • Insistent on a legacy of exponential impact

When you accept these calls, you are saying this is who you want to become.  You are going to pursue growth in these each year. It is not a call to perfection, but progress.  These should not be undertaken as duties but as desires, not to earn God’s love but in response to it. As our mission statement states, we call each other to live out our God-given purpose in Christ every day. So, when we accept these calls, we also invite others to walk alongside us and encourage our growth in these areas.

The church will offer Training Experiences around each of these calls that will help us engage them and grow in our understanding and action in response to them.

Life Groups are a wonderful way to continue to build a community that will know  your  heart and encourage you  to live out these calls and grow.  The  group members  will also surround  you  with grace and compassion when  you  need it.

There are Service Teams  for  our church, city, and world that will allow  you  to find a place to intentionally invest and build a legacy of exponential impact.  There is also a clear understanding that many of us have already found our calling in these areas and are actively investing.

The ministry opportunities listed above are the most common ways to help our members grow in and live out these calls.  However, we recognize that some have found opportunities to live this out in other ways.

If I am a Covenant Member  do I have to ____________? 

Nope! This is a challenge, not  a checklist of things that you must be doing,  or a requirement of participation.

So, while there are no specific requirements beyond the declaration, your declaration is an indication that you desire to have the body of Christ at Fellowship come alongside you, know you, encourage and challenge you right where you are.  Not to leave you there, but  instead  call you to deeper discipleship, becoming like Jesus and belonging more fully to His people in  whatever place you’re in.

For those who are not connected to opportunities for growth, community, service, etc., we do have clear pathways to follow that are not required, but encouraged (Life  Groups,  Service  Teams,  Training  Experiences, etc.)

What are the  core beliefs  of Fellowship Dallas  referred to in the covenant? 

Fellowship Dallas’ core beliefs can be found on the “About Us” page of our website or by clicking here.

What if I am not living out all of these all the time? 

The covenant is about growth and becoming. This is not a checklist.  It is a mirror to hold up to your life to see how closely you are following Jesus. There will be seasons when you are stronger and focusing on one of these more than another. There will be seasons when your intentional investment may change from pouring out in the community or church to making the intentional investment of pouring into a child or an aging parent.

However, this is a challenge.  Jesus said, “Come follow me, and I will make you…”  We want to follow Him and continue to pursue Him in all the seasons of our life.  It may look different at different times.  Just like we see in the Psalms  and other Scriptures, we all move through seasons of thriving, surviving, and reviving. This is why we need each other to come alongside to support, encourage, challenge, give grace, etc.

Section 2: I Will Live

How will I know others and be known? 

At Fellowship Dallas, we have established  Life  Groups as the primary way to find and form deep relationships.  These relationships can also be started and grown as we serve together on a Service Team, and dig deep together in a Training Experience.

Throughout the year we offer Gather & Connect events that allow us to get to know one another and connect to these other environments which allow us to go deeper over time.

The simple answer, however, is to be the friend you hope to find.  As a member of Fellowship, our desire is that you would be hospitable and inviting, welcoming and kind.  This is not just for extroverts.  We must all be the kind of person we hope to encounter, so let’s get real, get together, get moving and get out as a body and be the light for someone else.  You will find friendships yourself at the same time!

How will we live out the “I will” statements and how will this be monitored? 

Living out the “I will” statements is a personal commitment a member of Fellowship makes to the other members of Fellowship.  This is not something to be monitored or policed among our people by “the church”.

However, in making a covenant to live this out, we are saying that we are not perfect or have already arrived in all these areas, but we do desire to grow in them and are open to others helping us do this.

The Word of God and the Holy Spirit are the first to convict, correct, encourage and spur us on.

We  also disciple, hold accountable, and encourage  those we know and invite those who know us to do the same, understanding that we are simply encouraging them to do what they have already declared as their intention.

It is not an invitation to practice drive-by correction, shaming, or grudge-holding  with anyone in passing.  We are for one another and called to practice the one anothers of scripture. We are to live in grace and truth and an understanding of the seasons of life people may be walking through.

How will we come  alongside others in times of physical, spiritual and emotional need? 

Our Life Group coaches are equipped in bi-monthly meetings and are available to walk alongside our Life Group leaders to equip them in helping their groups know how to love their people well in times of physical, spiritual, and emotional need and when to refer someone to another ministry or resource.

Another resource available for our people who are in need is Steps, our gospel-focused recovery program, which is not only for addiction, but also for those who need to find freedom and healing from anything in their lives that may hold them back.

For physical needs that are beyond the group we encourage groups to refer people to our care ministry  The financial allies team can consider helping members directly or refer them to outside resources if it is beyond our scope.

We also work with several counselors in the area and frequently help our people find a good fit with one of those practices.

If there is a group that would like to dig deeper to learn together about this, one study they can do together is “When Helping Hurts.”

Calls to Repentance and Restoration. How will that work and what will it look like?

A “call to repentance and restoration” first and foremost will be conducted in grace, truth and love. As author and pastor Jim Denison has said, “When we hear a convicting message, it is human nature to convict the messenger.” That’s why, before we attempt to call anyone to repentance and restoration, we must first demonstrate to others that our message is motivated by love for them. A fellow Covenant Member who is living outside of God’s will needs to know that we care about them enough to share truth with them and desire their return to relationship with the Lord and the one calling them back to restoration.

Denison continues, “It would be far easier for us to go along to get along, to tell people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. But we are custodians of grace called to pay forward what we have received, giving others truth that transforms all who receive it. We are to  do so with humility and hope:  ‘And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’ (1 Corinthians 6:11).  The sins for which God has forgiven you may be the very sins he is now asking you to address with his truth and forgiving grace.”

Other biblical teachings and examples will, of course, inform how Covenant Members would extend and receive calls to repentance and restoration, including the following:

  • Luke 19:1-10 - how Zacchaeus repented and Jesus restored him. See this  article  in which the Zacchaeus story is contrasted with that of Judas.
  • Luke 15:11-32 - the Parable of the Prodigal Son. See this  article  on repentance that leads to restoration.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:8-13 - on godly sorrow that leads to repentance. See this  article  on that topic.
  • 2 Samuel 12:1-23  and  Psalm 51 - on how the prophet Nathan calls King David to repentance and David seeks it from the Lord.

There will be sermons, teachings, articles, books, and other resources available from Fellowship leadership to enhance and expand the understanding of what true repentance and restoration looks like and how it is practiced. There will also be training on this for Life Group leaders and the congregation in general as part of our Training Experience offerings.

The encouragement and instruction on “calls to repentance and restoration” will be that they are made in the context of a Life Group, a friendship, a marriage, or similar scenario between, on the one hand, the Covenant Member(s) extending the call, and on the other hand, the Covenant Member(s) receiving the call.  In other words, a relationship already exists in which such a call would be invited and welcomed because both the person extending the call and the person receiving it would already be in loving, trusting Christian fellowship with one another as members of the same Life Group, friends, spouses, or similar.  The intent is not to “point a finger at” someone’s sin, but to “motion” for them to come close again with a warm welcome as they return.

All calls to repentance and restoration are to be addressed and carried out on a case-by-case basis and will include prayer, biblical teaching, and a restorative process as each situation warrants. To the extent necessary, the oversight and participation of pastoral staff leaders, including the Lead Pastor, and the Elders will be involved in order to ensure that they are carried out in grace, truth and love as set out in Scripture. 

Section 3: I Can Expect

How will members receive early communication?  What does that look like?  

There will be times when this  will be done through a member gathering, an email, or direct communication through a leader or staff member.

Can only members be leaders?  What do we mean by leaders?   

There are many areas where anyone who attends Fellowship is welcome to volunteer. However, there are some leadership roles that are reserved for those who are Covenant Members at Fellowship.  These include:

  • Roles with a  high spiritual impact
  • Roles that include leadership  or  oversight of a group of volunteers
  • Roles  responsible for the development and direction of a ministry

This ensures that those serving in these roles are believers, affirm our core beliefs, and are committed to becoming who God has called them to be, to living out their God-given purpose, and to loving and living in unity with the other Covenant Members of Fellowship.

In addition,  those who serve in these  influential  roles of leadership are held to a higher level of accountability and agree to live a biblical lifestyle.  This is not a demand for perfection.  However, we ask that if there is a struggle with this, the leader would ask for help.  If  they are  willfully choosing to live contrary to God’s Word we would ask that they  remove themselves from their area of service.  Our prayer would be that they repent and be restored to their position.

Tell me more about leadership training & development for Covenant Members?  

The purpose of our leadership development pathway is to grow in our effectiveness of leveraging our influence and expand our impact for the purposes of God.

Our pathway is a work in progress, but will ultimately focus on four key areas:

  • Spiritual growth: Leadership is a function of discipleship and begins with a growing relationship with Jesus. As we abide in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to develop His character in each of us, we are enabled to hold fast to His vision for servant leadership. We worship the greatest leader who has ever lived, and he is our model and example in how we are to lead others.
  • Relational and emotional intelligence: We will be more effective leaders as we grow in self and others awareness and learn how to relate to one another in a gracious and winsome way.
  • Leadership knowledge and skills: Leadership is a muscle that can be grown, and we will treat it is as such through opportunities to expand our knowledge and grow our skills.
  • Leadership opportunities:  We grow as leaders through leadership experiences. We will invite our leaders to take on greater responsibility and ownership of ministry both inside and outside of the church.

Many of these areas are already being addressed in our current Training Experiences offerings, such as Repurposed and Steps, and we will be adding to our Training Experiences catalogue over the next couple of ministry years to expand the way we equip the church for the work of ministry. Additionally, we will have formal leadership training, special invitations to conferences and other learning opportunities, 1-on-1 mentorship and coaching, and ministry leadership teams. We are also considering a formal internship and residency program, and a ministry incubator for those who have been given grand visions from God and need help with strategic planning.

Ultimately, our prayer is that Fellowship will be full of trained and equipped leaders eager to live out what God has called them to, eager to take on greater ownership of the ministry of our church, and eager to impact the world outside of the four walls of our church.

How does church governance work?  Do we vote or have an official say if we are members?  

At Fellowship, our church is governed by a board of elders that consists of at least 7 but nor more than 11 men who meet the requirements for elders  set forth  in  1 Timothy 3:1-7 and  Titus 1:6-9  and in the board’s policies.  The board collectively (as opposed to any one individual member or group of members) is the final human authority over all matters of our church, subject to Scripture and Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. This form of church polity is called “elder ruled.”

Neither Covenant Members nor the broader congregation at Fellowship has an official vote in matters, which is typically the case among non-denominational churches with a history and foundation like Fellowship’s.  However, the role  and influence of the congregation—and especially Covenant Members—is significant.  In important matters like the selection of elders, the congregation has the right and opportunity to give input on candidates who are being considered for elder.  If enough negative input about a candidate were to be received, the board would withdraw that candidate from consideration.

On other important matters like a decision to move the church’s location, change its name, or hire a key staff member such as Lead Pastor or Worship Pastor, the input of relevant segments of the congregation is sought and considered before the final decision is made.

An “open door” policy exists when it comes to elders and staff leaders.  Any member of the congregation can reach out to any elder or staff leader at any time on any matter to give input, express concern/disagreement, ask questions, offer suggestions, etc.

Video Resources

Click on the images below to watch the videos

Covenant Membership Leader Gathering

“Becoming” Sermon Series

“Belonging” Sermon Series