Tapestry of Faith: Harvest the Power, 2nd Edition: A Lay Leadership Development Program for Adults

Activity 1: What Is Covenant?

(25 minutes)



  • Obtain a copy of your congregation’s covenant (if you have one). Add the text to Handout 1, Congregational Covenants.
  • Copy Handout 1 for all participants.
  • Post the covenant the group generated in Workshop 1, Activity 1.
  • Write this definition of “covenant” on newsprint and post:
    Covenant is a way of articulating shared values that:
    • clarifies what the congregation values most highly
    • defines the promises we make together
    • defines how members will act with one another
  • Write on newsprint, but do not post:
    • Thinking back, what events or people were part of that turning point?
    • What challenges presented themselves?
    • What gifts and skills emerged from the congregation’s leaders and members that helped navigate that time?
    • When did the leaders realize that the event in question was a turning point? When did the congregation realize it?
    • Did the congregation’s leaders affirm a “we” culture? If so, how did that affirmation make a difference?


Call participants’ attention to the newsprint sheet with the covenant they made with one another in Workshop 1. Ask:

  • How is this covenant an expression of our intention to engage in this program, not just as individuals, but as a group responsible to and supported by one another?
  • What does our covenant say about the questions raised in the opening reading: “What do we believe in? To what larger love, to what people, principles, values, and dreams shall we be committed? To whom, to what, are we accountable?”

Distribute Handout 1, Congregational Covenants. Invite participants to read aloud together either your congregation’s covenant or one of the commonly used covenants on the handout. Invite participants to choose a conversation partner to consider the following questions:

  • What are the ways that members of our congregation have obligations to one another?
  • How does our covenant center people, principles, values, and dreams rather than beliefs?

Allow 10 minutes for this conversation.

Reconvene the group. Indicate the definition of “covenant” you have posted. Engage the group in discussion, using these questions:

  • How does our Harvest the Power covenant meet these criteria? Is there anything we should add to it?
  • How does our congregation’s covenant meet these criteria?
  • Who is stated as the “we” or “us” in our congregational covenant? Whose inclusion in the covenant is implied?
  • Who might not feel included in our congregation’s “we” or “us”?