Where We Come From
Hello and welcome.
When we planted the church in 1999, we couldn’t have imagined where God would take us and what exciting times we would have. We have seen many salvations, healings, miracles, signs and wonders. Despite this, we believe that the best is yet to come, and we know that if you join with us you will be in for an awesome adventure as we serve Jesus together and see the awesome things that He is going to do in and through us. I want to ask that you make a real commitment to this Starting Point course. Make it a priority in your life and try to make each of the sessions. If you can’t make one, then please let one of your local elders know so that they don’t worry about you. I believe that your choice of church is one of the most important decisions you will make (after giving your life to Jesus and who you will marry). For this reason, it is essential that you know who we are and what we are about. You need to know our values and our way of doing church. Perhaps more importantly, you need to get to know the elders at least a little, for they are the men that will be leading you if you join with us. If you are newly saved you may not understand everything, or even realise how differently some other churches operate. Don’t worry too much about that. The most important thing is that which is easiest to understand. Besides, we want you to ask if there is anything that is unclear, either during a session, or privately afterwards. Remember there are no silly questions. If you have been involved in church for a while now, then please give these sessions your full attention anyway. You may know a great deal already, but it is always good to rework our foundations. Besides, we may do things differently or have different values to the churches in which you have previously been involved. It would be good for you to know what these differences are and why we do things the way we do. Even if you have heard this all before, I would ask you to submit yourself to the process, in all humility, for the sake of the church as a whole. Finally, we do not want anyone to feel under pressure to join us at any stage; this is not a recruitment campaign. We strongly believe that God adds people to the local church, so if you don’t feel comfortable in joining us, that is fine. You may continue to visit and worship with us as you have been. Otherwise we wish you all of God’s blessings as you find another church in which to give yourself.
Daniel Barnard - Lead Elder
The vision of Covenant Life Church is based on Ephesians 4:12.
We see the enactment of this scripture throughout the New Testament and we understand that this is what God expects from us even beyond the boundaries of the local congregation. This must be a way of life.
“to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, …” (Eph 4:12) ESV
- I am a Christian saved from the eternal wrath of God through faith in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour, by grace through his death and resurrection, by which I am assured of eternal life (John 3:16-18, Rom. 3:23-26).
- I believe Jesus Christ is exactly who he claimed to be (Isa. 53:6, Matt. 26:64, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:70, John 4:25- 26, 6:29, 8:58, 11:25-27, 14:6-7, 15:5).
- I have repented of my sins and have been made a new creation in Christ (1 John 1:9, 2 Cor. 5:17).
- In obedience to Scripture, I agree that baptism in water is a necessary step of obedience to Christ. Through baptism, I personally identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and publicly demonstrate my commitment as a disciple of Jesus (Col. 2:12, 1 Peter 3:21).
Statement of doctrine.
- We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament in their original writings.
- We regard the Scriptures of the New Testament as being final as to authority and infallible as to truth, regarding all facets of church life and discipline.
- We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons, namely Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
- We believe that God created man in His own image. Thereafter, sin entered the first man through disobedience on man’s part, resulting in spiritual death for all mankind.
- We believe that Jesus Christ had to die for the sins of mankind so that man could be reconciled back to God.
- We believe in the bodily death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- We believe in Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven and His future return to earth.
- We believe in the initial reception of the Holy Spirit at conversion (Rom. 8:9), His internal sealing work thereafter (Eph. 1:13), followed by continual infillings of His presence from within us (Eph. 5:18).
- We believe in the resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
- We believe in the regular practice of the breaking of bread and the taking of wine / grape juice to remind us of the new covenant established through Christ’s death on our behalf.
- We believe in the baptism of believers by immersion in water.
- We believe in the five-fold ministry gifts of Ephesians 4:11-12.
- We believe in using the five-fold ministry in the life of the church and to affect the communities we minister in.
- We believe in the equality of all persons irrespective of their race, culture or social background.
- We believe that marriage is a creational ordinance ordained by God between a man and a woman and that any relationship of a sexual nature outside of marriage, or between people of the same sex is contrary to Scripture and therefore unacceptable to God and His Church.
- We believe that the Elders are entrusted to govern the Church and that this includes disciplining members, when necessary (as described in the scriptures), which may include office bearers such as Deacons or Elders.
In early 1992 the Lord gave the vision of planting a new church in Benoni to Wayne and Rene Neuper who were then a full-time pastoral couple at Cornerstone church Bedfordview.
The church opened on 10 January 1993 with a committed membership of about 35 adults, the majority being ex-Cornerstone people, and has shown remarkable growth since then. In July 1995 the church began leasing a permanent facility at the Webb street shopping centre, which has contributed greatly to increased visibility and further ministry opportunities.
Negotiations with the owners of the Webb street Centre ended favourably, and in February 1998 Covenant Life Church purchased the complete centre. The centre was renamed “Covenant Life Centre”. The goal of this centre is to be a base that can reach into the community through various means, and to be a launching pad from which people can be trained and equipped to impact their neighbours, their nation and the nations of the world for Jesus Christ.
On the 23rd of May 1999 Rowland and Patti Barnard and their family moved to Benoni from Nelspruit where they had planted a church, and the leadership of Covenant Life Church was transitioned from Wayne to Rowland. After handing over the leadership of the Church to Rowland, Wayne and Rene relocated to Dresden, Germany where the leadership of a local German church was transitioned to Wayne.
In August of 2011 the eldership of Covenant Life Church, after some time of prayer and seeking God in the matter, with prophetic confirmation, decided to change our primary relationship from New Covenant Ministries International to an Apostolic group called Four12 (based on Ephesians 4:12)
In January 2012 the leadership of Covenant Life Church was transitioned from Rowland to Daniel (Rowland’s son). This was done with the input and guidance of the apostolic team of Four12 as well as the blessing of the local eldership of Covenant Life Church.
The name “Covenant” was chosen for a number of reasons, one of which stems from a vision shared in January 1992 with Cornerstone members concerning the presentation of a contract or covenant for signing, the Lord saying that if we would be obedient to Him, He would fulfil His promises to us. The church has been born out of obedience to the call of God and there is great expectation that He will fulfil the many promises that He has already given to us as we remain in covenant with Him.
The word “Life” expresses the very reason why Jesus Christ came … He came “That we may have life to the full”, knowing that everything that has life will not only grow in numbers, but also grow in maturity so as to fulfil its plan and purpose.
Anything that is living cannot stagnate … it is growing and changing.
“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” ~ choose life! (emphasis added) (Deu 30:15)NIV
Partnering with Four12
The New Testament describes the Church as something organic and deeply relational, rather than a bureaucratic system or a loose affiliation. We see local churches working in partnership with apostles and their teams to assist in growing healthy churches and in planting new ones. We believe this New Testament picture is God’s blueprint for his Church for all times- to have local leaders and saints partnering in the Gospel with apostolic teams in a “field” or “sphere of influence” (2 Cor. 2:13-18).
Paul, an apostle, writing to the church in Philippi, says, “Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now” (Philippians 1:4-5). The word for partners comes from the Greek word “koinonia” which is not only used to describe the depth of relationship enjoyed between churches and apostolic teams but also among Christians in local churches (Acts 2:42), and the intimacy every Christian has with God (1 John 1:3).
This then is the heart of Four12- to be a vehicle that enables a partnering of churches, saints and leaders all across the world through authentic relationships; and to be those who ‘equip, restore and advance’ the Kingdom of God, for His glory and fame.
If you would like to know more about our values, leadership, resources and our partners, please click on this link to visit our home page.
Why Membership Matters
Does it really matter if I’m a member or not? Why do I have to familiarize myself with the church constitution, starting point manual and accept and agree to hold to the churches viewpoints on the statements of faith and doctrine to even become a member? Why do I have to sign anything?
We take membership seriously and with a lot of gravity. Committing yourself to a body of believers is weighty. But it’s also wonderful. When members join, they commit to a spiritual family that provides encouragement and support. They are called to a biblical degree of responsibility, service and sacrifice to their brothers and sisters. Our leadership also pledge to assist our covenant members with care, counsel, prayer and teaching.
Covenant Life Church membership covenant is birthed out of our love for the church body and its individual members whom we hope will experience the fullness of joy which is found in the presence of the Lord.
The primary purpose of this membership covenant is to serve as a teaching document with three functions:
- To clarify the biblical obligations and expectations for both the elders of Covenant Life Church and the individual members of Covenant Life Church body.
- To establish teaching and doctrinal parameters for Covenant Life Church body.
- To serve as a tool for reflection and growth toward holiness.