A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties. It is a formal and binding agreement. If a church has a covenant isn't it reasonable to assume that the party that it applies to is its membership?
If the covenant applies to its membership then the covenant must contain only those things that the church would exclude someone from being a member.
The issue becomes defining these things. This requires a huge degree of spiritual maturity. Obviously, repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ would be absolutely essential. Baptism by immersion after salvation would be another non-negotiable.
Other areas are just as clear. Drunkenness is clearly prohibited in Scripture and a strong case can be made that any consumption of alcohol is a slippery slope; therefore, I choose not to drink and have chosen not to for 20 plus years.
But the difficult issue is do you prohibit alcohol consumption or drunkenness in the covenant?
Which can you most readily identify as completely unacceptable behavior for a Christian? Certainly pastors, deacons, teachers, staff and anyone associated with leadership in a church must be held to a higher standard than the membership, but what are the core expectations of church members.
I submit to you that the reason church covenants are not in practice and have been hidden away in the archives of church libraries and filing cabinets is because of these tough emotional issues.
Would you prohibit someone from becoming a church member because they listened to secular music?
Certainly sexual immorality must be present in a covenant. A man or woman who goes into sexual immorality would not expect to be able to remain a member in good standing with his or her church.
I think that only those areas in which a church (the people) would be willing to raise their hand high and vote someone out of the church would be included in the covenant.
Faithful attendance seems like a reasonable expectation. I met someone in a restaurant who claimed to be a member of Berean and openly stated she had not been in attendance in well over six months—the reality is 6 months was gracious. I remember when this young couple united with Berean and it was well over a year. You don't know them because they never attended church after they united. They have since been voted out of the membership because of their lack of commitment to the church.
I believe there isn't any wrong with having members pledge to be faithful to the church that they are uniting with. Do you?
Why would a church have a covenant if it wasn't going to use it?