In his blog article Joyful, Serious Church Life Together, John Piper sets forth a new plan to incorporate a Relational Commitments Statement as part of the covenant vows made when receiving new members.
In addition to the wisdom in this approach, there is an incredible illustration on pages 3 and 4 called "A Tale of Two Families" that is worthy of much consideration and discussion.
Peacemaker Ministries provides the basic model that Piper's church has used to develop their approach. Here is just a small descripion:
These Commitments accomplish several important purposes:
• They remind us of our mutual commitment to work together to pursue unity, maintain friendships, preserve marriages, and build relationships that reflect the love of Christ.
• They help to prevent surprises, disappointed expectations, confusion and conflict by describing how we expect to relate to one another within the church.
• They provide a clear track for us to run on when conflict threatens to divide us, and they
remind us how to move quickly toward reconciliation.
• They establish guidelines for how our leaders will counsel others, guard confidential information, and protect our children from abuse.
• They define and limit the spiritual authority of church leaders and thereby insure that all members are treated fairly.
• Finally, they reduce our church's exposure to legal liability by clearly establishing our relational practices and by affirming our mutual commitment to resolve conflict biblically.