When a Whole Congregation
Wants to Join NCCG
NCW 9, April 1994
Q. Our congregation is interested in joining the NCCG as a whole but we are concerned about a number of areas. We are already a closely knit community and desire to retain our present leadership. Do we have to be baptised again? What else would we have to do to join?
There are two important areas of consideration when it comes to a whole congregation, or even a large part of one, from another church desires to join with the New Covenant Church of God.
However, a situation might arise where a congregation from another church elects to join the NCCG in an area where there are no existing local Colony members. In this case, the Apostolate might authorise the existing congregational structure and leadership to continue, with modifications here and there, for a transitional period while the existing officers underwent training. The previous Pastor would probably be invited to serve as a deputy- or co-Pastor with a Pastor from another NCCG congregation, or else the apostle for the area would assume that rôle himself. In any case, the new NCCG congregation would come under the authority of a member of the Apostolate whose responsibility would be to oversee the transition period and would receive regular visits from NCCG preachers if invited by the apostle. If the apostle was not in a position to visit regularly, an evangelist might be appointed to supervise the new congregation until it had settled down and become stable and able to govern itself. There are many possible scenarios.
(1) NCCG is a divinely appointed covenant and therefore members of a previous church must understand that they are joining a new one. This means that they are entering into new covenants both with each other and with other members of NCCG. They are leaving one part of the Body of Christ behind and entering into another part;
(2) This means that they do need to be baptised into the covenant. They would not be being baptised into Christ again which will be assumed to have taken place earlier, unless individual members of the previous church feel they have not done so and would like to be baptised into the Lord either for the first time or anew. In either case, it would be a personal, internal question;
(3) All newly-baptised members would then be organised by the Apostolate into a new congregation and have a pastor and elders appointed for the democratic consideration of that new congregation;
(4) The leaders of New Covenant local colonies are appointed only after they have fulfilled certain requirements as laid down by the Holy Order. These include: (a) Having been faithful members of the Church for a minimum of 1 year; (b) Training of leadership by the Holy Order (for varying lengths of time, depending on the call); and (c) Revelation to the Apostolate.
Such a transition would, of course, require not only sustaining the existing testimony of the people but building on it as well using all the areas of congregational ministry collectively, which would include the apostolic, prophetic, pastoral, educational, evangelical, etc..
It is not New Covenant policy to disrupt existing denominational structures by evangelising other churches. However, members do change allegiance from one denomination to another and this must be expected. Human beings must be allowed to exercise free agency. We would be rather more careful were many souls from another congregation to join the NCCG leaving an equal number behind in the old congregation, for we would consider it our responsibility to ensure that the remaining members were properly taken care of by their own denomination, and to give what ministry we could whilst respecting their doctrines and practices.
Our mission is to spiritually elevate the Body of Christ, not destroy it. It is for this reason that NCCG members frequently serve the interests of other denominations where these interests overlap, as is explained elsewhere in NCCG publications. In all that we do, we try to be sensitive and respectful of other denominations' interests, within the context of allowing all individuals to choose where they wish to make their spiritual home. The NCCG has always been supportive of those who wish to leave our fellowship for other denominations provided they leave in a spirit of friendship and Christian brotherhood and hope that other fellowships and churches will accord us the same when their members come to us. Such, we regard, to be a true mark of Christian discipleship, love and grace.
For further information, please see New Covenant House Church Fellowship website.
This page was created on 18 April 1998
Last updated on 18 April 1998
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