|Intrater deals with a subject keenly missing in most evangelical churches, the existence of covenant relationships. Sadly, the church has borrowed the contractual model of relationship- what can you do for me- rather than the covenantal model of relationship- what can we do for this relationship. This is most clearly seen in the relationship between the pastor and the church, the integration of new members and the adoption of the business model of polity in the local church. Pastors are not called to lead, but hired to serve. The assumption is that is they provide the goods and services the congregation wants. Failure to do so results in termination, a sad fact reflected in the pastoral turn over rate in some churches that is less than three years. It is also seen in the churches abysmal record in assimilating new members; in many congregations it is clear who is on the inside and who is not. Finally, it is seen in the polity of the local church were elections, votes and committees rule the roost. |
The author firmly believes that Jesus is in the business of building a body, not building ministries. Building ministry in itself is not bad, but if it is done at the expense of absence of relationship we have missed the point of the church. The church is always about people first, ministry second.
The American church has, to a great extent, exchanged covenant relationship for feelings based relationship. We stay in relationship as long as we feel good about it. Intrater points our that covenant is not based on relationship but on commitment. We are committed to one another no matter how we feel about it. Thus, when the inevitable disagreements arise, when controversial decisions must be made, when sin occurs and church discipline must be exercised, covenant is the glue that holds the church together. Otherwise, everyone goes on his or her own way, seeking new relationships, new churches where they can feel good.
This book is must reading for every pastor. Establishing covenant relationship within the church lays the foundation for significant growth, both numerical and spiritual. Building covenant relationships allows team building to come to full fruition. Intrater provides a thorough biblical analysis of covenant in a highly readable and useable form. You will enjoy this book.