Zion Mennonite Church covenants together as a brotherhood of believers based on the teachings of the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God as it was understood by our early Anabaptist forefathers. Its mission is to preach, practice, and preserve the Holy Scriptures. The church exists for the purpose of discipleship of all who attend here so that we may live out our faith and glorify God in all of our lives. The goal of Zion Mennonite Church is to carry the message of the Gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
This covenant is in addition to the 1963 Mennonite Confession of Faith. That confession of faith is basic to our beliefs. This covenant is to clarify matters of application and practice. It is meant to be principle oriented and to encourage the development of personal convictions beyond what is stated herein. These are areas in which this body has a common understanding of Christian discipleship.
We believe in the Scriptural injunction to worship God in the heart (Colossians 3:16,17), the home (Deuteronomy 6:5-9), and the church (Hebrews. 10:25; 13:23). We recognize the biblical principles of worship to be as follows: Worship must be from a pure heart and life (Psalm 66:18), in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), with the gathered congregation regularly, decently and in order (I Corinthians 14:40), and in Spirit directed glory to Christ. (John 16:14).
We encourage both acapella singing and singing with musical accompaniment in our corporate worship. Any use of musical instruments is to be subject to the following principles: The music must be played in such a way as to enhance the words and messages of the song. Musicians and worship leaders must display holiness in life, consistency with their message, and also be members of the congregation. Since worship is to be in spirit and in truth, the beat or rhythm is not to unduly excite the body or manipulate the soul.
Our general practice is to be baptism by immersion. However, we do recognize a believer’s baptism by pouring to be a legitimate form as well.
The holy kiss should be observed, brother with brother and sister with sister, at communion and as often as the Spirit of love (Romans 12:10) directs (I Corinthians 16:20, II Corinthians 13:12). We do recognize it as an ordinance and a command (I Corinthians 16:20).
HEADSHIP (I Corinthians 11:1-16)
A. We agree that the proper application of the headship order is for the Christian man to take seriously the Biblical commandment to be a Christ-like leader in the home and congregation (Ephesians 5:23; I Timothy 2:11-15; I Corinthians 11:3). He is to take the initiative for family life and is responsible for his wife’s and children’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being (Ephesians 6:4; I Timothy 5:8). He is to ensure that his children are trained and brought up “in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6). His short hair and bared head when praying or prophesying symbolizes his submission to the authority of Christ and His Lordship. He should avoid worldly hair styles.
B. We believe the Scriptural mandate for women is that she submit to, honor, and compliment her husband as his helper. This is symbolized by her long hair and veiled head while praying or prophesying. We agree that, in order to maintain a clear witness, the best application of the Biblical requirement of “long hair” for the sisters is for hair to be uncut and arranged up in a simple style to avoid excessive care, display, and attention. We also agree that the best application of the headship ordinance is that the sisters wear their veiling as a part of their regular attire. The veiling worn should be a recognizable spiritual symbol of substantial size to complement the principle, non-decorative, and clearly visible.
C. We agree to refrain from all decorative and symbolic jewelry, such as the wedding band, and any makeup that alters the natural appearance (I Tim 2:9-10; I Peter 3:1-6).
Scriptural principles of dress include modesty in appearance (I Timothy 3:15), in economy and pattern (I Peter 3:3-4), in lifestyle (Isaiah 3:16-17; Proverbs 7:10-21), as well as consistency with our profession of godliness (I Timothy 2:10), separation from the world (II Corinthians 6:17), and the distinction of the sexes (Genesis 1:27; Deuteronomy 22:5; I Corinthians 11:3, 7-9).
Since our choice of clothing makes a statement of who we are, brothers shall reflect a godly masculinity by wearing full length trousers and shirts with sleeves. We discourage the wearing of the necktie since it can be seen as ornamental by some and possibly offensive to others. While we recognize facial hair on men to be a natural distinction of the sexes, we urge sensitivity to God’s conviction and right motives. Sisters should reflect their God given femininity by wearing dresses or skirts and modest blouses. Clothes considered immodest include those that are form fitting, tight, revealing, or sheer. Skirts and dresses should not expose the knees. Slits on skirts and dresses should not extend above the knee. T-shirts on men or women should convey only a godly, appropriate verbal or nonverbal messages.
We encourage husbands and fathers in the development of convictions and consistent applications in all areas. Discretion should be used in view of the setting, attitude portrayed, overall common sense, and good judgments. In all things we must maintain a clear conscience, proper motives (Colossians 3:7), and a sensitivity to the conscience of others within the congregation (Romans 14, I Corinthians 8 and 10).
We urge our members to exercise Spirit-directed caution in the use of all media (such as TV, VCR, DVD, computers, books, magazines, music, telephone usage, etc) (I Corinthians 6:12; 10:31).
Because of the powerful influence of television, and because it is a matter of conscience for many, we specifically address it here. We recognize that the influence of television is generally evil (Philippians 4:8, I Thessalonians 5:22). It promotes violence, undermines the sanctity of marriage, disregards the moral standards of God’s Word, and can be a source of ungodly temptation. “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes” (Psalm 101:3).
Whenever the use of any media promotes an ungodly world view (Ephesians 5:11-12) or a desensitization to sin (Proverbs 8:13; I Corinthians 6:20), such use of that media must be avoided. Therefore we agree to teach and warn against the immoral use of all media.
LEISURE, RECREATION, AND ENTERTAINMENT
We affirm that wholesome recreational activities can be beneficial when they are under the Lordship of Christ. However, in this evil world there are many distractions that compete for a Christian’s time, attention, and affection. Because spiritual endeavors last for eternity while all else will pass away (I Timothy 4:8), we must make the most valuable use of our time (Ephesians 5:16, Matthew 6:33), our talents (Luke 19-11-27), and our money (I Timothy 6:9,18; Deuteronomy 8:11-14). Care must be exercised so as not to: compromise our testimony and separation from the world (I Thessalonians 5:22, II Corinthians 6:17), promote close associations with unbelievers (II Corinthians 6:14; Psalm 1:1, I Corinthians 15:33), or violate the personal or corporate conscience (I Corinthians 8:10, Romans 14).
Our desire is to promote purity of heart and mind. Therefore, anything that arouses the sensual nature must be abstained from. We agree to abstain from participation in gambling, secret societies and lodges, movie theaters, dancing, tobacco, drugs, and alcohol.
To guard our purity of heart and minds, we discourage mixed water activities and public beaches. Swimming attire should always be modest and decent. Church and youth activities shall be in harmony with this position.
We believe in the principle of one day in seven devoted to God in corporate worship and fellowship, rest, and ministry and agree to uphold the first day of the week for this purpose after the example of the early church. Therefore, we should refrain from making purchases and from business involvement on Sunday except when unavoidable.
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
We believe that marriage is to be between one man and one woman for life. The Scriptures teach us that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). A second marriage with a former spouse still living constitutes a state of adultery and requires repentance including separation (Mark 10:11-12, Romans 7:3).
I affirm my faith and loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel and willingly unite with this church. I agree to support it with earnest prayers, regular attendance, loyal service, and faithful stewardship. I also commit to live and to share with its members in the bonds of Christian fellowship, giving and receiving godly counsel, bearing one another’s burdens, and walking in submission to the doctrines of the Word of God and in harmony with the applications of the brotherhood.