The Birth of The Covenant Church

The idea of a Covenant church has been in the heart of Foursquare leadership for many years as one option for churches to be part of the Foursquare family through something called the Foursquare Association. The concept of Covenant church was totally recast in 2016 to fulfill a longtime goal of creating new options for local Foursquare churches to own and manage real property, which is a contrast to our historical model for property ownership where title to real property has been jointly owned by all Foursquare churches via our corporate structure.

The transition to a Covenant church is a complex process because state, federal and IRS regulations govern the closure of one church and the beginning of another. The Foursquare Church has provided documents and charts to simplify, outline and coach a church through these processes, and consultation is available as needed.

The Covenant Agreement Adopted

In June 2016, the Foursquare convention body adopted a bylaw revision to provide for a Covenant church to be a local Foursquare church, but with its own corporate existence. The unique feature is the existence of a written covenant agreement, voluntarily entered into by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (ICFG) and the local Covenant church. In the covenant agreement, the local Covenant church pledges itself to adhere to the bylaws of ICFG and to operate fully as a local Foursquare church. In turn, ICFG pledges itself to provide the same covering and care to a local Covenant church that would be given to a Foursquare Charter church.

This new provision is an important step intended to remove barriers for existing churches that want to be part of the Foursquare family and yet maintain direct responsibility for decisions to buy, sell, improve, encumber or lease church-owned property. The setup, differences, process and other details are outlined herein.

The Covenant Arrangement Illustrated

More of an images person? Watch this helpful video, which illustrates how a covenant arrangement works.

Compare and Contrast

What are the real differences between Charter and Covenant Foursquare churches? Use this chart compare and contrast.

Download Comparison Chart

The Covenant Process Outlined

The diagram below illustrates a clear pathway from Charter to Covenant status. The process begins with a consultation with the district office and concludes with nearly all the same benefits and services available to a Charter church, but with the added ability to approve property transactions at the local church level.

It is worth noting that there are significant demands on the administrative and leadership functions of a local congregation. Please be sure to fully review the FAQ document for details on costs—in dollars, personnel and time—that the legal process requires.

Download FAQ Document

Step 1: Orientation

Church reviews orientation video and materials.

Step 2: Consultation

Consultation between senior pastor and district supervisor.

Step 3: Vote

Local congregation votes to join as a Covenant church.

Step 4: Incorporation

Church retains legal services to establish a nonprofit.

Step 5: Documentation

Church completes from AR-8c and compiles documents.

Step 6: Submit to District

Church delivers completed packet to district office.

Step 7: Review Application

ICFG Legal and Insurance departments review application.

Step 8: Board Approves

ICFG issues a resolution to approve the transition.

Step 9: Sign Agreement

ICFG and local church corp. sign covenant agreement.

Step 10: Open New Accounts

Church establishes new accounts as a new corporation.

Step 11: Close Old Accounts

Church resolves all outstanding financial obligations.

Step 12: Transfer Assets

ICFG transfers assets and assigns leases to church.

Step 13: Covenant Church

The local church board assumes responsibilities.

Step 14: Ongoing Support

Districts and central office teams provide support.


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Have Questions?


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Are You a New Church Plant?

This page contains content related to existing Foursquare churches. If you are a new church plant and are trying to determine whether to become a covenant or charter church, visit our page for new church plants.