Statement of Faith and Church Constitution
ARTICLE I-THE NAME
This organization shall be the FIRST WELSH INDEPENDENT CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH NEATH commonly known as WELSH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH of Neath, Pennsylvania (duly incorporated under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Law).
ARTICLE II -THE PURPOSE
The purpose of this church is to maintain regular public worship of God, to proclaim the gospel of Christ, to build up its members in the Christian faith, to promote systematic Bible study, to strengthen the bonds of Christian families and fellowship and to participate in our Lord’s great commission to make Christian disciples in all nations.
ARTICLE III -AFFILIATION
We adhere to the sovereign independency of the local church but, recognizing the duty and need of fellowship, we shall do so with other churches of like precious faith. Moreover, we declare ourselves in sympathy with Christian activity functioning in harmony with our Articles of Faith and God’s holy Word, the Bible.
ARTICLE IV – ARTICLES OF FAITH
1. THE BIBLE.
We believe the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired by God and inerrant in the original writings, including all matters which the biblical writers address. As such, we believe they are the supreme authority in faith and life. We accept as the Word of God those competent translations reflecting this view of scripture. 2 Tim. 3:16,17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21.
2. THE ONE TRUE GOD.
We believe there is one true and living God who is an infinite, intelligent Spirit and maker and supreme ruler of heaven and earth. We believe He is inexpressively glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love. In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who are equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices the great work of redemption. Deut.6:4; Ex. 20:2,3; I Cor. 8:6; Rev. 4:11.
3. GOD THE SON.
We believe in His eternal preexistence, that in His first advent to earth He assumed a complete, sinless human nature by virgin conception and birth and became forever the God-man, Jesus Christ. Micah 5:2; Isa. 9:6; John 1:14.
4. GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son; that He was active in creation; that He convicts the lost, and regenerates those who believe. At the moment of saving faith He baptizes all believers into the body of Christ and indwells and seals them and continues His ministry to believers as their divine Helper. Acts 5:4; Gen. 1:1; John 16:8-11; Titus 3:5,6; I Cor. 12:13; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 4:30; John 14:16,17.
We believe the sign gifts of the Spirit (miracles, healings, prophecies, tongues, etc.) served their useful purposes during the infancy of the church and until the completion and distribution of the New Testament and are not normative for today.
We believe the biblical account of the creation of the physical universe is a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without evolutionary process. Gen, 1,2.
We believe that man was directly created by God with the divine image in innocence, but by Adam and Eve’s willful sin against God’s command they brought upon themselves severe consequences culminating in death. All mankind, as Adam’s posterity, are sinners by nature and by choice and stand justly condemned by God and in need of a Savior. Gen. 1:27; 2:7,21,22. Gen. 3:1-6; 5:5; Rom. 5:12,19; 3:9-12; John 3:18.
We believe that salvation, the deliverance from sin’s penalty, power and ruin, can neither be earned by human merit nor produced by human works; that it is the gracious gift of God to all who trust in Jesus Christ and His death for their salvation. Eph. 2:8,9; Rom. 6:23b.
We believe that salvation brings the believer into a right relation with God and bestows upon him the riches of God’s grace, including forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and membership in God’s family and kingdom. John 17:3; Eph. 1:3; Eph. 1:7; John 5:24; John 1:12; Col. 1:13.
We believe that all who are saved are divinely kept until they experience the redemption of their bodies from the power of sin and death at Christ’s return. Eph. 4:30; John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:23, 35-39.
7. THE CHURCH.
We believe in the universal church of Christ which is that company of people who, from Pentecost until the rapture, are saved baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit and that this church presently functions as Christ’s body and in the future will function as His bride. Matt. 16:18; Acts 1:5; I Cor. 12:12,13; Eph. 1:22,23; 5:32; Rev. 19:7.
We believe that a local church is a company of saved people, associated by covenant to assemble regularly for worship, to observe the Lord’s Supper, to fellowship in the Word and prayer, to exercise discipline, to encourage one another, to do good works, and to bear witness to the gospel near and far. Acts 2:41,42; Matt. 18:15-17; Heb. 10:25; Eph. 2:10; Matt. 28:19,20.
We believe there are two biblical offices – pastor (elder/bishop) and deacon and that each church has the absolute right of self-government, yet recognizes from scripture the value of fellowship with other churches with similar faith and practice. I Tim. 3:1-13; Acts 20:17-30.
8. THE ORDINANCES.
We believe that every saved person who is physically able should be baptized by immersion upon their profession of faith in obedience to the Lord’s command. Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 10:48.
We believe that every believer should regularly observe the Lord’s Supper as he is able in obedience to the Lord’s command. I Cor. 11:24,25.
9. FUTURE EVENTS.
We believe in the conscious existence of the dead (Rev. 6:9,10), the resurrection of the saved (I Cor. 15:20-23) and of the unsaved (John 5:28,29), the appraisal of the saved (2 Cor. 5:10), the judgment of the lost (Rev. 20:11-15), the eternal blessedness of the saved with the Lord (John 14:1-3), and the eternal conscious punishment of the lost (Matt. 25:46).
We believe in the imminent return of Christ for His church (including the living and the dead) before the tribulation period and His subsequent glorious rule over the earth for a thousand years, followed by the creation of a new heaven and earth wherein God will dwell with His people forever. John 14:1-3; I Thess. 4:16-18; Rev. 20:6; Rev. 21.
We believe in the personality and creaturehood of Satan, a fallen angel, who leads a rebellion against God and who is the adversary of God’s people. He was divinely condemned at the cross and will be cast into the lake of fire. Matt. 4:9; Ezek. 28:13-17; Isa. 14:12-14; I Pet. 5:8; John 16:11; Rev. 20:10.
11. CHRISTIAN LIFE AND SERVICE.
We believe every believer is to be and to do all that God requires of him in the New Testament and that members of this church should exemplify a lifestyle as summarized in the Church Covenant.
We believe every believer has been given a spiritual gift which he is to exercise for the common good of the whole church and that only by abiding in Christ can our lives be fruitful. I Pet. 4:10; I Cor. 12:7; John 15:4,5.
12. MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY.
We believe that God ordained marriage for the purposes of 1) companionship, 2) the proper context for the sexual expression of love and for propagation, 3) for the teaching of biblical truth and values to succeeding generations, and 4) for the foundation of an orderly society. Gen. 1,2; Deut. 6:4-7; Eph. 5:21-6:4.
We believe a family consists of a man and woman who are married to each other and any children that are born or adopted and raised in this relationship, though some family units may be limited by circumstances to a partial grouping of the above.
We believe that sexual lusts and activities that deviate from this relationship (such as pornography, incest, child molestation, pre-marital/extra-marital/homosexual intercourse, etc.) are considered sinful by God and are to be avoided. Matt. 5:7.28; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Rom. 1:24-27; Heb. 13:4.
We believe that God also honors those who remain single and celibate and that some are able to serve God with a singleness of purpose that is not encumbered by marital duties. I Cor. 7:32-37.
13. CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests of good order in society; that governing authorities are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Lord of our conscience and coming King of kings on earth. Rom. 13: 1-14; 1 Pet. 2:13,14; 1 Tim. 2:1-4; Acts 5:29.
ARTICLE V – CHURCH COVENANT
Most churches summarize their aims, objectives, and practices in a covenant that gives each member a goal for themselves and a reasonable expectation from others in the church family. The church covenant is not to be legalistically enforced, but serves as a compass to point in a direction we believe is basic to God’s will for us. We may all fail at times, but we will not defend our failures, nor abandon our efforts to live with these boundaries.
Having been brought by divine grace to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and remembering that as we have voluntarily united with this church we have taken on obligations relating to this commitment, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully covenant with one another:
That we will walk together in Christlike love as becomes the members of a Christian church;
That we will exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over, and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require; That we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others; That we will endeavor to bring up those under our care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a godly example and witness seek to win our kindred and acquaintances to the Savior.
That we will rejoice in one another’s joy, and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear one another’s burdens and sorrows.
That we will seek by divine aid to live circumspectly in the world, separating ourselves from the world and unto our Savior.
That we will work together and contribute of our means to support this ministry in its local and worldwide outreach.
And that through life, amidst evil report and good report, we will humbly and earnestly seek to live for the glory of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Section 1. PRESENT MEMBERSHIP
Present membership is composed of all those in good and regular standing at the time of the adoption of these by-laws.
Section 2. QUALIFICATIONS
Anyone professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, giving evidence of real conversion, and declaring himself in accord with the Covenant, Articles of Faith , and Constitution of this church, and having been baptized by immersion as a testimony of faith, may become a candidate for membership. This, of course, precludes the holding of membership in any organization having religious beliefs that are contrary to the Christian faith.^1
Section 3. ADMISSIONS
Candidates shall appear before the pastor and/or at least two active elders to give personal testimony of their faith in the Savior. Having given a satisfactory account, their names shall be posted or announced as candidates for membership to give opportunity for the voicing of any objections to their admission. After a minimum of two weeks following the notice, and upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders, they shall be received into membership by a majority vote of the Church members present at any regularly scheduled meeting.
Persons uniting with the Church may be required, at the discretion of the pastor or elders, to attend a period of instruction.
Section 4. DUTIES
It shall be the minimum – yet primary – responsibility of each member to remain in accord with the Church Covenant, Articles of Faith, and Constitution. When a member consistently lives or believes contrary to the above, he2should properly adjust his life and/or beliefs or, if unwilling to do so, should have the integrity to make his disqualification from membership known to the Board of Elders.
Members must also remember that they have a responsibility to support their church (2 Cor. 9:6-8); to love, honor and respect their pastor and elders who are appointed over them (I Thess. 5:12,13); and to be prayerfully involved in ministry, using their spiritual gifts (I Pet. 4:10). They should also seek to cultivate loving relationships within the church, help maintain the unity of the church, and seek restoration when necessary (Rom 12:10; Eph. 4:1-3; Gal. 6:1)
Section 5. INACTIVE MEMBERSHIP
It is the responsibility of the elders to review the membership roll whenever they deem necessary, but at least before each annual business meeting. At such time they shall place on the Inactive Roll those members who have, for a period of one year, neglected their duties as members of this church (particularly attendance). Both the individuals involved and the Church will be informed of this change of status.
Exceptions may be made in occasional cases where, in the judgment of the Board of Elders, there are contributing circumstances beyond the control of a non-attending member.
Clause 1. Restrictions. Members with inactive status shall not be entitled to hold office or vote in Church matters.
Clause 2. Restoration. Inactive members may be restored to Active status by the Board of Elders after resuming and continuing the duties of members for a period of three months.
Section 6. DISCIPLINE
Should any member become an offense to the Church and its good name by reason of immoral or non-Christian conduct or by persistent breach of his own covenant vows, misdemeanor in office, or by willingly promoting division or discord in the Church, the Board of Elders may reprimand him or recommend to the church he be excluded from membership.
However, such action shall not be taken until every Christian means of reconciliation has been exhausted and even then, only after due notice of the charges made have been given to the individual concerned and full opportunity for the person charged to speak in his own defense.
Section 7. VOTING MEMBERSHIP
All active members of the Church in good and regular standing who are eighteen years of age and over shall be allowed to vote in any matter of Church business.
Section 8. DISMISSAL OF MEMBERS
Clause 1. Letter of Dismissal. A letter of dismissal (Church letter) shall be granted by the Church to any member in good standing who wishes to unite with another church of like faith and order, upon the request of said church. Inactive members may be granted a letter with the understanding that this shall be made known to the church to which the letter is sent.
Clause 2. Removals. Names shall be removed from the roll by the Board of Elders under the following conditions:
A. When a member joins another church without having been granted a letter of dismissal.
B. When a member requests withdrawal from membership in writing.
C. When a member on the Inactive Roll continues to neglect their membership duties for a second year. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Board of Elders.
D. When a person dies.
Clause 3. Exclusions. Any member found guilty by the Board of Elders of unrepentant conduct that publicly disgraces the name of the Lord and the Church shall be recommended to the Church for exclusion from membership and shall be excluded by majority vote of the members present (I Cor. 5:11- 13; 2 Tim. 3:1-5). Excluded persons may attend regularly scheduled services; however, they may not participate in matters of church ministry or business until such time as they are reinstated by the Board of Elders.
Note also Article VI, Section 6.
ARTICLE VII – GOVERNANCE
This Church is independent from any ecclesiastical body and shall so remain, acknowledging only the Lord Jesus Christ as its Head; the Holy Scriptures as its only infallible guide in matters of faith, discipline and order; and the Holy Spirit as its final teacher.
The government of the Church, the conduct of its business, the management of its property and resources, and the supervision of its general work and various ministries shall, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, be vested in the pastor; staff3; the elders, deacons and other officers; the committees and the congregation as hereinafter provided.
Section 1. QUALIFICATIONS OF OFFICERS
Any Church officer must not only be a mature Christian, but must also have proven himself to be discerning in speech and action, displaying a level of wisdom, seasoned as a member, reliable, and a faithful example in the service and life of the church body. The Nominating Committee should be guided by these standards in making its nominations.
Each officer also must be loyal to the Church. Specifically, each officer must be a regular attendee and supporter of this church. He must be in agreement with the Articles of Faith, Church Covenant, Constitution and aims of the Church; and willing to cooperate with the pastor, staff3, and Church officers in the fulfillment of the vision and direction of the Church and with his immediate superiors and fellow workers in the fulfillment of the specific goals of his office or responsibility.
Section 2. ELECTIONS
All Church officers (with the exception of the pastor) are to be elected by majority ballot at the annual business meeting.
Section 3. TERM OF OFFICE
The term of office shall normally date from the second Sunday after the election to office and shall continue for one year unless otherwise stated in the Constitution and By-Laws. At the conclusion of one’s term of office, he shall turn over to his successor all records pertaining to his office necessary for continuity therein, along with an explanation of procedures that have been followed in that office.
Section 4. VACANCIES
All vacancies in offices shall be filled by the Board of Elders until the next annual business meeting, at which time the normal procedures shall be followed.
Section 5. OFFICES
Clause 1. Qualifications. The senior pastor shall be a Bible-believing man who is in agreement with the herein stated doctrines and practices of this church. Since he is called to minister to the spiritual needs of the congregation, he shall be thoroughly qualified in his own spiritual life, his Biblical preparation, and his professional ability to discharge the varied responsibilities of his office (I Tim. 3:1-7; 2 Tim. 2:24,25). While ordination is preferred, it is not required.
Clause 2. Election. The pastor of the Church shall be chosen by the congregation upon the recommendation of the Pulpit Committee after their prayerful investigation and consideration. This selection shall take place at a meeting of the congregation specially called for that purpose and publicly announced at least two Sundays in advance. A three quarters majority vote of at least one half the voting membership is required.
Clause 3. Duration. The pastorate shall be for an indefinite period and shall be terminated by death, resignation or removal. If at any time the pastor shall make application to be released from the pastorate, or if the relations between the pastor and the congregation have become such as to be detrimental to the welfare of the Church, the relationship may be terminated by the congregation in sixty days or in a shorter period of time if it be mutually agreed upon. The Elder Board shall have authority to consider this matter and make recommendation, but it shall require a majority vote of at least one half the voting membership to dismiss the pastor.
If at any time the pastor’s personal belief, preaching or teaching shall not be in full accord with the doctrinal standards of this church or if he would fall into a sin that would severely hinder his ability to lead the church, his service as pastor shall be terminated immediately following a congregational meeting by a majority vote of at least one half the voting membership. The Board of Elders shall normally take the initiative in presenting either of these circumstances to the Church.
Clause 4. Duties. The pastor, with the Elders, shall have responsibility for the oversight of the church and equipping the flock for ministry. He shall normally conduct the public services of worship, preach and teach the Scriptures, administer the ordinances, moderate the meetings of the Elder Board and Church, and perform the various duties pertaining to the office as indicated in the Scriptures. He shall be ex-officio member of all boards and committees of the Church.
Clause 1. Introduction. In many churches, as here, the Elder Board is asked to do what in the New Testament was the responsibility of elders, namely to assist in the oversight of the church. With the pastor, the elders are charged with the responsibilities of ruling (I Tim. 5:17), overseeing (Acts 20:28), guarding against error (Titus 1:9), and feeding (I Pet. 5:2). The pastor will be principal spokesman and will normally lead elders meetings and Church business meetings.
Clause 2. Qualifications. Elders, functioning as New Testament elders, shall be carefully chosen from among the members meeting the requirements in I Tim. 3:1-7.
Clause 3. Election. As qualified men are available, the Elder Board shall be four in number (or more as the need arises) and shall be elected at the annual business meeting by the Church for a term of three years, and in such manner that the terms of at least one will expire each year.
Elders may serve no more than two consecutive terms. 4
Clause 4. Duties. It shall be the general duty of the elders to cooperate with the pastor in the oversight of the Church activities and the watch care of its members. Their specific responsibilities are as follows:
a. Meet regularly to consider and respond to the items of business charged to them.
b. Assist the pastor in setting goals, planning special programs, providing speakers when necessary or desirable, church visitation, observance of the ordinances and matters of discipline and to do these things in the absence of a pastor.
c. Interview candidates for membership and make appropriate recommendations to the Church.
d. Revise the membership roll as stated in Article VI, Sections 5 and 8.
e. Select and approve all Church workers with regular responsibilities.
f. Organize a Pulpit Committee in its search for a pastor and to have at least one elder actively serve on that committee.
g. Oversee the Church missions program, including the distribution of missions funds where budgeted and needed. Others may be asked to assist in these matters.
h. The Chairman of the Elder Board shall be chosen by his peers annually at their first meeting after the annual business meeting. He shall moderate the meetings of the Elder Board and Church in the absence of a pastor. Another shall be chosen as clerk to keep records of all meetings of the Elder Board.
i. The Elder Board shall make a report of its activities at each annual business meeting or when requested by the corporate body. Discretion should be used in keeping confidential matters.
Clause 1. Introduction. This office, with its responsibilities, is indicated in Acts 6:1-4 and was instituted to relieve those who have the oversight (the elders) of certain financial and material responsibilities. Our deacons are to be spiritually qualified for such service according to Acts 6:3 and I Tim. 3:8-13 where the term elders clearly refers to those who assisted the spiritual leaders.
Clause 2. Election. As qualified men are available, the Deacon Board shall be six in number (or more as the need arises), and shall be elected at the annual business meeting by the Church for a term of three years and in such a manner that the terms of one-third of the total number will expire each year.
Clause 3. Duties. They shall act as legal deacons in behalf of the Church in the purchase, holding or disposing of any real or fixed property in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They shall not, however, purchase or dispose of real estate or fixed property or incur financial obligations exceeding ten percent of the Church’s annual budget unless so directed by vote of the Church, the budget or a designated gift.
Because its authority is delegated, this board shall be sensitive to the vision, goals, and principles of the Church and Board of Elders and shall make every effort to cooperate with such in its day to day discharge of these duties.
Other specific responsibilities of the deacons are as follows:
a. Meet regularly as needed to consider and respond to items of business charged to them.
b. Oversee the maintenance, alterations and additions to the buildings, grounds, and equipment.
c. Oversee the finances of the Church, including the receiving, counting, banking, recording, distribution and auditing of all church monies in a manner consistent with the Church Constitution, Scriptural principles and sound business methods.
d. The Chairman and Assistant Chairman of the Deacon Board and the Church treasurer shall be chosen by his peers at its first meeting after the annual business meeting for a one year term. He shall moderate the meetings of the Deacon Board. Another deacon shall likewise be chosen as clerk to keep all records of its meetings.
e. The Deacon Board shall make a report of its activities at each annual meeting or when requested by the corporate body.
D. CHURCH CLERK (AND ASSISTANT CHURCH CLERK)
The Church clerk shall make and preserve all records of the Church; keep a register of the names of members, with dates of baptism, admission, or change of status; notify all officers and members of committees of their appointment or election, issue letters of dismissal and recommendation voted by the Church, and keep a record of all Church business meetings. These records shall be filed in a safe, accessible place and kept up to date. The assistant clerk shall assist the clerk and perform his responsibilities in his absence.
E. TREASURER/FINANCIAL SECRETARY
It shall be the duty of the Church treasurer to disburse all Church funds as authorized by the Church. He shall keep a true and fair record of Church financial accounts and make a full report to the Church at the annual business meeting and at such times as requested by the Church or either Board. Beside these comprehensive reports he shall make summary reports available to the Boards at regular intervals requested by the Boards. He shall submit his books at any time for auditing and turn over to the deacons all monies, documents, and papers belonging to the Church as requested by the deacons or to his successor when his term of office ends. The financial secretary/treasurer shall assist the treasurer and perform his responsibilities in his absence. The treasurer shall be elected by the deacons from among its members.
F. FINANCIAL SECRETARY/TREASURER
The financial secretary shall generally assist the treasurers, but in particular is charged with keeping an accurate and confidential record of individual contributions made to the Church for the sole purpose of providing for each contributor a receipt of his giving during the calendar year. The treasurer/financial secretary shall assist the financial secretary and perform his responsibilities in his absence.
G. SUNDAY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT (AND ASSISTANT SUP’T)
Under the general oversight of the Elder Board the Sunday School superintendent is charged with the specific direction of the Sunday School. The assistant superintendent shall assist the superintendent and perform his responsibilities in his absence.
H. OTHER OFFICES
The Elder Board shall have authority to create and fill additional offices as the need arises. However, these offices shall not continue beyond one year unless extended by majority vote of the voting membership present at the annual business meeting.
Section 6. COMMITTEES
A. AUDITING COMMITTEE
An auditing committee of two or more members shall be appointed by the Deacon Board for three-year terms, not ending simultaneously, to audit all financial records of the Church for the past fiscal year. This committee shall present its annual report in the quarter following the annual meeting.
B. BUDGET COMMITTEE
A budget committee shall be formed annually and shall consist of one elder, one deacon, the church treasurer, and one member at large to be appointed by the Deacon Board. They shall prepare the annual budget and, with the approval of the elders and deacons, present it to the Church at least two weeks before the annual business meeting. When this budget is approved by the Church in its original or modified form, it should be considered the basis for its current liabilities. The budget may later be amended by Church vote at any properly convened business meeting.
C. NOMINATING COMMITTEE
A nominating committee shall be formed annually and shall consist of one elder and one deacon (whose terms are not expiring) and one member at large to be appointed by the Elder Board. They shall be guided in their nominations by a consideration of spiritual qualifications (see Section 1), spiritual gifts and abilities, and the good of the Church. The names of the committee members shall be announced upon its formation that Church members may present their recommendations for nominees to the committee for consideration. Nominees shall be posted two weeks in advance of the annual business meeting.
Note: This committee should not feel compelled to re-nominate each incumbent officer, and failure to do so does not, of itself, imply any lack of confidence or dissatisfaction with one’s performance.
D. LADIES AID COMMITTEE
This committee shall be chosen or approved by the Elder Board and shall assist them and the Church in certain matters delegated to them, such as (but not limited to) assistance in the observance of the ordinances, visitation, supervising the church social program and providing practical help where needed.
E. OTHER COMMITTEES
Other committees shall be appointed by the pastor, Elder Board, Deacon Board, or the Church, depending on the nature or extent of their responsibilities. In each case their authority shall not transcend the provisions and spirit of the Church constitution.
Section 7. APPOINTED POSITIONS
Other positions (e.g. ushers chairman, organist, pianist, song leader, etc.) shall be appointed by the senior pastor, Elder Board and/or Deacon Board as the need arises. In each case their authority shall not transcend the provisions and spirit of the Church constitution.
Section 8. INTERNAL ORGANIZATIONS
Each internal organization, such as Sunday School, youth groups, women’s and men’s organizations, shall be under the general supervision of the Church constitution and Elder Board and under the specific supervision of those persons properly elected or appointed.
Section 1. WORSHIP SERVICES
Public services for worship shall be held each Lord’s Day at a time (or times) as the leadership determines. These services shall be given primarily to the purpose of strengthening the faith, knowledge, or commitment of the believers in some Biblically approved manner. Though evangelism may be the central emphasis at times, it must not on a continuing basis take precedence over the ministry to the saints.
The ordinances of the Lord’s Supper shall normally be held on the first Sunday of each quarter or as determined by circumstances (weather, special services) or the Board of Elders.
It should be remembered that the Church is not the building, thus exists the possibility that these services may on occasion be conducted other than in the Church building.
Section 2. BUSINESS MEETINGS
Clause 1. The annual business meeting, at which time officers are elected and the budget is voted upon, shall normally be held on or near the first Tuesday of October. These meetings, especially when the dates vary from the norm, shall be announced at least two Sundays in advance.
Clause 2. Special business meetings may be called by the pastor, Boards of Elders or Deacons, or at the written request of twenty per cent of the voting membership. In all cases the particular object(s) of the meeting must be clearly stated and announced at least two Sundays in advance. No other business shall be transacted at such meetings.
Clause 3.Moderator. The pastor shall be moderator of all business meetings except when the business directly involves him. In his absence the chairman of the Elder Board or someone appointed by this Board shall moderate.
Clause 4. Quorum. A quorum, necessary to transact any Church business, shall consist of twenty- five percent of the voting membership except where stated otherwise. Except where stated elsewhere, all matters of business shall be decided by a simple majority vote of those present and voting. Voting for officers shall be by secret ballot and for other items of business when requested.
Clause 5. Voting Membership. Voting membership are all active members of the Church who are eighteen years of age and over.
Clause 6. Suggested order for regular business meetings: Brief devotional message, reading of minutes of preceding meeting(s), financial reports, reports of officers and committee heads, unfinished business, new business, adjournment.
Clause 7. Business meetings shall be conducted in the spirit of Phil. 2:3 and 1 Cor. 14:40. Christian charity shall be the primary rule and method. When procedural questions arise Roberts Rules-of Order shall prevail.
Section 1. FINANCES
Clause 1. The Church fiscal year shall begin October 1.
Clause 2. The primary means of support of this Church shall be through the freewill gifts and offerings of its members and believing friends. Fund raising programs such as sales, paid suppers, etc. shall not be permitted.
Section 2. PROPERTY
Clause 1. As long as the property is under the control of the Church it shall be used only for purposes that do not conflict with the stated purposes in Article II and the principles of God’s Word. In questionable cases the pastor and/or elders shall decide.
Clause 2. In shall be the duty of the deacons to hold title to the Church property and keep same in good repair. They shall not, however, purchase or dispose of real estate or fixed property without first securing Church approval.
Clause 3. In the event of dissolution of the Church all material assets should be distributed by majority vote of its remaining members to other non-profit churches, missions, schools or other organizations of like faith and practice.
Clause 4. No equipment may be installed or alterations made to the Church property without the consent of the Board of Deacons.
Clause 5. No profit shall ever accrue to the benefit of any person or persons from the assets, holdings, or other transactions in which the corporation may become involved.
Clause 6. In the event of the prophesied rapture of the church (1Thess. 4:16-18) resulting in the disappearance of all born again members and friends of this church along with countless other believers in Christ, all Church properties and assets shall be left to those who shall subsequently believe on Jesus Christ and actively preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God and the soon coming King.
ARTICLE X – MISCELLANEOUS
Section 1. MISSIONS
The Church shall promote an active program of worldwide missions and shall actively support only those missionaries who agree with this Church’s Articles of Faith and those missions and Christian organizations in agreement with at least all but the first sentence of Article IV, Section 8; the third paragraph of Article IV, Section 6; and the second sentence of Article IV, Section 9,5
Section 2. ORDINATION
Candidates for ordination by this church are to be recommended to the Church for public recognition only after careful examination by the Elder Board and by a council of pastors and messengers from churches of like faith and practice.
Section 3. SPEAKERS
None shall knowingly be invited or permitted to address the Church or any of its organizations as a spiritual instructor who is not in agreement with at least all but the first sentence of Article IV, Section 8; the third paragraph of Article IV, Section 6; and the second sentence of Article IV, Section 9.5
Section 4. REMUNERATED POSITIONS
Certain positions in the Church may receive remuneration for services rendered. Those serving in such positions shall agree without reservation to the Church’s articles of Faith. The amount of remuneration for such positions shall be determined jointly by the elders and deacons and included in the annual budget. The creation of and method of filling any new position receiving remuneration, along with a written job description, shall follow the guidelines and spirit of this Constitution and shall be implemented only with approval of the Church.
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Church membership at any properly convened business meeting.
This Constitution, with the Church Covenant and Articles of Faith, having been adopted by order of the Church, supersedes all previous by-laws and statements of faith and shall govern the Church, within the boundaries of Holy Scripture, from the time of its adoption until amended by its congregation.
1 A person who holds another view of the time of Christ’s return for the church (Article IV, Section 9) or holds a different position on the security of the believer (Article IV, section 8), may be qualified for membership as long as he agrees not to disrupt the harmony of the church by propagating his view.
2 For consistency and better readability we are using the masculine pronoun in a generic sense to include both genders throughout this document unless the context shows otherwise.
3 Staff refers to all positions of responsibility – salaried or otherwise.
4 Elders serving at the time this document was approved by the Church shall continue to serve as such until they resign or are no longer able to discharge the required duties. As vacancies occur they shall be filled by vote of the Church to one, two or three year terms until all are on a three year cycle.
5 These exceptions relate to eternal security, believers baptism and the timing of the rapture.