Developing a Covenant Relationship
An aid to spiritual growth through the Small Group Movement
How can we as shepherds deepen the commitment of the
members of our household group? How can we "provoke" one
another to good works?
I suggest that we engage in a "holy experiment" –
in a specific concentrated effort which has been labeled
a "sanctified buddy system."
Simply put, the experiment would consist of two group
members covenanting together to encourage one another in
spiritual growth – with each member assuming responsi-
bility to inquire about – and pray for — his "buddy's"
How would the "buddy" be chosen? I suggest that each
member be responsible for choosing his buddy after being
given the following guidelines:
l) The spiritual "buddy" should be a member of the
same sex–whenever possible.
2) The "buddy" should be someone other than one's
3) The spiritual qualities of a prospective "buddy"
should be considered. (For example, a person
might choose a "buddy" who has made progress in
an area in which he himself is weak – self-
control, patience, etc.).
4) Direction should be given that one should be pre-
pared to risk rejection – that a prospective
buddy might not desire to covenant with a parti-
cular brother or sister at that time – but might
be open to such a commitment at a later date.
What would the covenant consist of? I believe the
covenant should be a mutually agreeable written agreement
made for a definite length of time. The covenant should
be specific enough so that both people will know that pro-
gress has been made, but should grow out of the broad
character traits that are characteristic of a mature
Christian. (Each person should consider the seven quali-
ties identified in 2 Peter 1:5-7 or the fruit of the Spirit
listed in Galations 5:22-23.)
The covenant could also be based on a quality present
in a Biblical character. As a character's life is examined,
the question should be raised, "what is there in the life
of this person that I need to emulate?"
It is probably best that a person choose for him-
self, after prayer and study, what he would covenant
about. However, suggestions from spouses and friends
may be appropriate – as long as the person readily
agrees that he needs to grow in that area.
What responsibilities might each "covenanter"
have? I suggest four:
1) To pray daily for his partner.
2) To make inquiry about his partner's progress
on a weekly basis.
3) To share openly his feelings and thoughts with
his partner as they meet privately for a few
minutes during the household meeting.
4) To keep confidential those matters he ought.
What would be the procedure for beginning a
covenant relationship within a household group?
l) Propose the program, discuss, and modify it.
2) Have each person identify (in writing) the
specific spiritual goals he wishes to obtain.
3) Allow everyone who wishes to do so to share
their goals in the larger group.
4) Choose partners.
5) Have a definite regular sharing time for part-
ners at each household meeting,
6) Change partners as need arises.
One of the strengths of this "program" is that
there is a degree of accountability without being legal-
istic. "The partner is not saying, "You must do this",
but rather, "After you identify where God wants you to
grow spiritually, you have given me permission to in-
quire how you are doing – indeed, to "confront in love".
The person initiating the covenant is in a sense saying,
"I want to be more godly. I want you to help me in
May His Spirit continue to "change us from glory
into glory" as we "encourage one another in the faith."
-Developed by Bob Kvasnica