A Covenant for the Nashville Area Cabinet

NEA_Logo_Float_webBelow you will find the Covenant of the Nashville Area Cabinet. We have been in conversation over the last several months as we together have written this document.  At our upcoming cabinet meeting next week, we will commit to the keeping of this covenant in our shared life together.  This is especially pertinent to the work of appointment making that is before us in the coming months.

–Bishop McAlilly

Cabinet Covenant
Nashville Area, The United Methodist Church


“I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so
that you will be a blessing…and in you and all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
-Genesis 12:2-3

We believe that the work we do is God’s work.  Acknowledging that truth, we commit ourselves to the Biblical concept of covenant not only with God, but between ourselves as members of the Cabinet of the Nashville Area.

The theme of covenant runs throughout the Bible.  In Genesis the covenant pattern generally is that of an agreement imposed by a greater power (God) on a lesser power (human beings).  God states the requirements and expects human beings to comply with them.  Such covenants often include a sign, or mark, to seal the agreement.

Covenant is not a contract.  Contract is an agreement worked out between two parties.  Covenant means a binding pact between God and God’s people.  God initiates covenant and stipulates all the provisions.  People have the choice of accepting or rejecting but not altering the covenant.

Believing that we have been made in the image of God to be beings that are balanced in our physical, mental and spiritual lives, and  also because we agree with the United Methodist Church’s understanding that health includes being in harmony with each other, with the natural environment and with God we enter into this covenant.

The Covenant

We covenant to:

  1. Develop an intentional physical exercise program in which we will participate at least three times per week for an average of 30 minutes each time.  Examples include brisk walking, jogging, bicycle riding, sports participation such as basketball, tennis, etc.
  2. Develop healthy eating habits.  This will consist of making healthy choices in regard to our selection of food by reducing our intake of calories, fats, sodium and sugar and to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
  3. Develop a regular schedule of rest and relaxation which shall include maintaining breaks each day for relaxing by singing, weaving, gardening, listening to music, etc.  We will plan for adequate sleep each evening.  We do these things so that we may nourish and refresh our spirits and our bodies daily.
  4. Develop a daily schedule for spiritual renewal which shall include time for prayer, bible reading, meditation, reflection, fasting, etc.  If possible, we will take advantage of individual work with a spiritual director on a regular basis.  We, as a Cabinet, will take an annual spiritual renewal retreat in order to reflect on where God is leading us as a body.
  5. Develop consistency and sensitivity in our relationships by participating in the following activities:
    1. Keep in honest and regular touch with at least five friends.  These should be people whom you allow to see your flaws, and with whom you share what is going well and what is challenging.  Why five?  At any given “emergency” time, two will be on vacation, and one will be in love, and one will be on his or her own emergency.
    2. Check in monthly with our coach(es) to discuss personal direction and concerns.
    3. Participate in an intentional spiritual formation time in scheduled appointive cabinet meetings beyond our devotional times.
    4. Provide and receive support and accountability through connecting with two other appointive cabinet members weekly by phone or visit, maintaining the triad makeup for a quarter and then changing to two others for the next quarter, etc.
    5. Seek a 24/7 phone friend – someone whom you feel OK to call at any hour.
  6. Remember that we belong to the Annual Conference and, so, our individual contribution to Cabinet work is toward the economy of the whole.  The mission of the Church is our first priority.
    1. In our appointive work, we hold these convictions in common and allow them to characterize our work:
      1. We cannot do enough consultation.
      2. It is better to make no appointment than to make the wrong appointment.
      3. We will only reward those with the more responsibility if  persons have been fruitful with the responsibility they already have.
    2. In all our work, we will maintain the practice and spirit of confidentiality by adopting the following practices:
      1. Hold all cabinet meeting conversations in strictest confidence unless/until permission is granted to share information with others.
      2. Hold all personal conversations between the bishop and cabinet members in strictest confidence unless/until permission is granted to share information with others.
      3. Ensure that Administrative Assistants hold conversations with the superintendents and communications between superintendents and episcopal office in strictest confidence.
      4. Embrace the most confidential use of technology for cabinet and district office communications.
  7. We will engage the Mission Field weekly within  the context of our assigned area.
  8. Engage one another and our work fully.  While we are together in Cabinet session, we will engage by way of full participation and energy, avoiding any unnecessary activities such as email, texts, and online activity.  We will attend to these matters during breaks.

We enter into this covenant because we have the common purpose of obeying Jesus Christ and because we believe that we need one another’s help to do these things.

As believers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we have entered into a covenant relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ.  Since the blessing and promise of the covenant has been freely extended and given to us out of wonder, love, thanksgiving and reverence, we hereby accept and take up the covenant responsibilities that go with such a privilege.  This is our reasonable service and we should do nothing less.

God helps us all!  We rely on God’s grace and hold fast to God’s promise that here is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Signed and witnessed before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

3 Comments on “A Covenant for the Nashville Area Cabinet”

  1. Rev. Beulah Edmondson says:

    This is such a phenomenal commitment from our leaders. Please pray for them as they move forward. Also perhaps we, as clergy, could covenant to many of these commitments.

  2. Laura Feliciano says:

    It is a joy to learn about your willingness to be in Covenant with our God and one another, and overejoice about your eagerness to the practice of spiritual disciplines intentionally and collectivelly. I have no doubt that guided by the Holy Spirit you will identify those disciples passioned for making disciples –providing effective Christian discipleship, ministering God’s love and compassionate pastoral care –you will perform God’s Will for the people of TN Conference.

  3. wmvaughan says:

    Great covenant. Praying for cabinet as you fulfill it. Blessings to all.