Please Note: While all reasonable efforts have been made to match the official copy kept in the church office, there may be differences.
THE CONSTITUTION and THE STATEMENT OF FAITH
of GRACE BIBLE CHURCH of Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
September 17, 2023
ARTICLE I. THE NAME 1
ARTICLE II. THE PREAMBLE and PURPOSE 1
ARTICLE III. THE STATEMENT OF FAITH. 1
SECTION A. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. 1
SECTION B: THE TRUE GOD. 1
SECTION C. THE SATAN (THE DEVIL). 2
SECTION D. THE CREATION AND FALL OF MAN. 2
SECTION E. THE GRACE OF GOD. 3
SECTION F. THE CHURCH. 3
SECTION G. THE RAPTURE. 5
SECTION H. ISRAEL. 5
SECTION I. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED. 5
SECTION J. THE RESURRECTION. 5
ARTICLE IV. THE MEMBERSHIP. 6
SECTION A. QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP. 6
SECTION B. RECEPTION OF MEMBERS. 6
SECTION C. RESPONSIBILITY OF MEMBERS. 6
SECTION D. REMOVAL FROM MEMBERSHIP. 6
SECTION E. LETTERS OF TRANSFER. 7
SECTION F. CATEGORIES OF MEMBERSHIP. 7
ARTICLE V. DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS & ATTENDEES. 7
SECTION A. REASONS FOR DISCIPLINE 7
SECTION B. CAUSES FOR DISCIPLINE 8
SECTION C. THE MANNER OF DISCIPLINE 8
SECTION D. THE STEPS OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE 8
SECTION E. ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS 9
ARTICLE VI. THE OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES. 9
SECTION A. THE CHURCH GOVERNMENT. 9
SECTION B. THE PASTORS. 9
SECTION C. THE ELDERS. 12
SECTION D. THE DEACONS 14
SECTION E. THE WOMEN’S SERVANT COUNCIL 15
SECTION F. THE TRUSTEES 16
SECTION G. THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE. 16
SECTION H. THE PULPIT COMMITTEE. 17
SECTION I. THE TREASURER. 17
SECTION J. THE CHURCH CLERK. 17
SECTION K. CHRISTIAN EDUCATION DIRECTOR 18
SECTION L. THE DIRECTOR OF MUSIC. 18
SECTION M. THE MISSIONS COMMITTEE. 18
SECTION N. THE EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP COMMITTEE. 19
SECTION O. OTHER CHURCH OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES 19
ARTICLE VII. THE MEETINGS. 19
SECTION A. WORSHIP MEETINGS. 19
SECTION B. CHURCH AND CORPORATE BUSINESS MEETINGS. 19
SECTION C. SCHEDULE OF BUSINESS MEETINGS. 20
SECTION D. SPECIAL BUSINESS MEETINGS. 20
ARTICLE VIII. ORDINATION. 20
ARTICLE IX. THE FINANCIAL REGULATIONS. 20
SECTION A. THE CHURCH BUDGET. 20
SECTION B. RECEIPTS. 21
SECTION C. DISBURSEMENTS. 21
ARTICLE X. THE CHURCH COVENANT. 21
ARTICLE XI. THE REVISIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION. 22
ARTICLE XII. DISSOLUTION. 22
THE CONSTITUTION and THE STATEMENT OF FAITH
of GRACE BIBLE CHURCH of Wappinger N.Y.
ARTICLE I. THE NAME
Believing that we are justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24), and that salvation from sin is by God’s grace and not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that the believer in Jesus Christ is to grow in the Lord’s grace (2 Peter 3:18), stand firm in that grace (1 Peter 5:12), and extend that grace to others (2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:29), this body of believers shall be called Grace Bible Church of Wappingers Falls, New York
ARTICLE II. THE PREAMBLE and PURPOSE
The final authority of this church is the Bible. Any conflict in this document with the Bible must yield to the Bible. The government of Grace Bible Church is vested in its members, and the will of the members as expressed by vote is final. The members are responsible alone to the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to no outside ecclesiastical authority. In accordance with New Testament teaching, the local congregation is responsible for:
1. guarding the doctrines of the faith (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1; Revelation 2:2);
2. deciding the extent of its membership (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:13);
3. settling its own internal affairs (1 Corinthians 6:1-8);
4. disciplining its own members (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13);
5. electing its own officers (Acts 6:3,5);
6. conducting its own business (Acts 13:1-4; 20:28,32);
7. witnessing according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in recognition of Christ’s headship (1 Thessalonians 1:8).
As a means of cooperative ministry with other churches of like faith and practice, Grace Bible Church is a member of the IFCA International, a fellowship of churches committed to Biblical ministry; however, this association in no way limits or restricts this church in its independence or autonomy.
ARTICLE III. THE STATEMENT OF FAITH.
SECTION A. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
We believe the Holy Scriptures, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God, His only special revelation to man, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed (John 16:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:18).
SECTION B: THE TRUE GOD.
THE TRINITY: We believe there is one and only one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, co-equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. Among the attributes of the Triune God: He is infinite, immutable, all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere present, inexpressibly glorious in holiness. He is worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love (Genesis 1:26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:21-22; 48:16; 64:8; Psalm 90:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Romans 11:33-36; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Jeremiah 32:27; Matthew 19:26; Psalm 147:5; 1 John 3:20; Psalm 139:7-10; Psalm 29:2; Deuteronomy 6:5; Revelation 4:11).
1. GOD THE FATHER. We believe in God the Father, an infinite Spirit, the Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, and the Recipient of all our prayers (John 1:18; Colossians 1:15; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12; Matthew 6:6-13; Philippians 4:6).
2. GOD THE SON.
a. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (John 1:1-2,14; Luke 1:26-35).
b. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our eternal redemption through the shedding of His blood in death on the cross as our representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-25; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
c. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of representative, intercessor, and advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 9:24; 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2).
3. GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.
a. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with God the Father and God the Son, and of the same nature, who convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; that He is the supernatural Agent in the regeneration Who baptizes all believers into the body of Christ and indwells and seals them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8-11; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14).
b. We believe that He is the divine Teacher who guides believers into all truth; and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (John 16:13; 1 John 2:20,27; Ephesians 5:18).
SECTION C. THE SATAN (THE DEVIL).
We believe in the reality and personality of Satan (the Devil), who is the author of sin, and the cause of the fall; that he was created by God as an angel, but through pride and rebellion became the declared enemy of his Creator and man, the accuser of the brethren, the unholy god of this age, the ruler of all the powers of darkness; that he is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:7-12; 20:10).
SECTION D. THE CREATION AND FALL OF MAN.
1. We believe the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels, and man; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate, creative acts of God in six solar days without any evolutionary process; that man was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, the first parents of the entire human race (Genesis 1;2; Colossians 1:16-17; John 1:3).
2. We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God under the law of his Maker, but, by voluntary transgression, Adam fell from his innocent state and all men sinned in him. The consequences of this act are that all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam’s fallen nature, are sinners by nature and by conduct and, therefore, are under just condemnation without defense or excuse and are, of themselves, utterly unable to remedy their lost condition (Genesis 1:26-27; 3:1-6; Romans 1:18,32; 3:10-23; 5:12,19; Ephesians 2:1-3,12).
SECTION E. THE GRACE OF GOD.
1. We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. Once a person is saved, he is a new creation in Christ Jesus: This new birth is instantaneous and not a process (Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
2. We believe that justification is that judicial act of God whereby He declares the believer righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ, and that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s shed blood (Romans 3:24; 4:5; 5:1,9; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9).
3. We believe that sanctification is the divine setting-apart of the believer unto God, accomplished in a threefold manner: first, an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Savior; second, a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life; and, third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord’s return (Hebrews 10:10-14; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23-24; 1 John 3:2; Jude 24-25).
4. We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural (Romans 6:13; 8:12-13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).
5. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-29; Romans 8:38-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; 1 Peter 1:5).
6. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word; however, Scripture clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
SECTION F. THE CHURCH.
1. We believe that the Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up entirely of born-again people of this present age. The Lord Jesus Christ, Who is glorified in Heaven, is its Head, and the Holy Spirit on earth is the active agent of the God-Head, Who seeks to bring about within the church obedience to the Word of God and the Will of God. This one body unites believers to each other, and all to Christ, and its chief purpose of existence is to glorify God through the evangelization of the world and the building up of its members into maturity and Christ-likeness (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Acts 2; 15:14; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-18; Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:23,27; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16).
2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17,28-32; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).
3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Romans 16:1,4; 1 Corinthians 3:9,16; 5:4-7,13; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
1. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our identification with the crucified, buried and risen Savior, through Whom we died to sin and rose to a new life; that baptism is to be performed under the authority of the local church; and that it is a prerequisite to church membership (Acts 8:36-39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:41-42).
2. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should always be preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:23-28).
MINISTRY AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS:
1. We believe members of the church should meet regularly for worship, exhortation, and fellowship (Hebrews 10:25).
2. We believe that the desire to give one’s time and material wealth to Christ is an attitude prompted by the Word and the Holy Spirit. One’s giving should be an expression of gratitude and thanksgiving to God. It is an external expression of an internal spiritual condition. Our giving should be personal, proportional as God has prospered, not grudgingly or of necessity. A Spirit-led believer will exhibit generosity, regularity, and cheerfulness in his giving, and in giving he will neither seek nor desire the acclaim of men or self. Examples of such Spirit-led giving include Abraham, who gave 10%, and the widow who gave all she had. Those who give sacrificially are commended by God (Genesis 14:18-20; Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 21:1-4; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-9; 9:7; Hebrews 7:1-2; 1 John 3:11-17).
3. We believe that we should carry out the great commission of the Lord in spreading the Gospel message and making disciples of the Lord to “the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20).
4. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowment of His gifts and that, today, evangelists, Pastors, and teachers are sufficient for the equipping of the saints, for the work of ministry, to the building up the body of Christ; that speaking in tongues and the working of sign-miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established (I Corinthians 12-14; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12).
5. We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer offered in faith, in accord with His own will for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14-15; James 5:13-16).
We believe that the Scriptures clearly teach non-conformity to the world for every believer; that born-again people should be separated from the world unto Christ; that it is clearly commanded by God that all believers should live separated from all religious apostasy, worldly and sinful practices; and should be holy as He is holy (John 17:9-20; Romans 6-8; 1 Corinthians 6:11,19-20; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 6:14-17; 7:1; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 1:13; 3:1-4; Titus 2:11-12,14; Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:14-16).
We believe that the Bible teaches that God established marriage as only between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4,5), and that all sexual conduct outside the bonds of marriage is sin (1 Corinthians 6:9,10) with fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality and bestiality all being described by God as abominations (Leviticus 18:6-30). We further believe that the physical condition in which a person is born, including their gender, is established by God (Exodus 4:11; John 9:3), therefore claims of innate sexual confusion are false and transvestism and its related perversions including sex change operations are abominations before God (Deuteronomy 22:5). We further believe that declaring God’s word and warning people of the temporal and eternal consequences of their sins, including sexual perversions, is an act of loving concern. God’s word remains true and His prohibitions, including those on sexual perversions and immoralities, cannot be satisfied or amended by any human government authority.
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society, and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except in those things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming King of Kings (Romans 13:1-7; Acts 23:5; Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:29; 4:19-20; Daniel 3:17-18).
SECTION G. THE RAPTURE.
1. We believe in the pre-millennial return of Christ, an event which can occur at any moment, and that at that moment, the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies, the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and all of them shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seven years of the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 Corinthians15:42-44, 51-54; Philippians 3:20-21).
2. We believe that the tribulation, which follows the rapture of the church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to sit upon the throne of David and to establish the millennial kingdom (Daniel 9:25-27; Matthew 24:5-31; Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1-9; Acts 2:29-30; Revelation 20:1-4,6).
SECTION H. ISRAEL.
We believe in the sovereign selection of Israel as God’s eternal covenant people, that she is now dispersed because of her disobedience and rejection of Christ, that she will be regathered in the Holy Land and, after the completion of the church, will be saved as a nation at the second advent of Christ (Genesis 13:14-17; Romans 11:1-32; Ezekiel 37).
SECTION I. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED.
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and wicked; that only such as are justified through faith in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem while all who continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse and, therefore, stand condemned before God. This distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting blessedness of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost (Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17-18; Proverbs 11:31; Romans 1:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Acts 10:34-35; 1 John 2:29; Romans 6:16; Galatians 3:10; Romans 6:23; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:25; Matthew 25:34,41; Matthew 7:13-14).
SECTION J. THE RESURRECTION.
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men: the saved to eternal life and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. The souls of the redeemed at death are absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul and body are reunited to be forever glorified with the Lord. The souls of the unbelievers, after death, remain in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when with spirit, soul and body reunited they shall appear before the Great White Throne Judgment and shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting, conscious punishment (Luke 16:19-26; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29; 11:25-26; Philippians 1:23; 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:8,10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4-6, 12-13).
ARTICLE IV. THE MEMBERSHIP.
SECTION A. QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP.
Persons who give testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord (Matthew 10:32-33), who have been baptized by immersion following their salvation (Romans 6:3-10), who give assurance of their willingness to follow and submit themselves to the Word of God as the final authority of faith and life (Luke 8:21; Matthew 7:21-27), and who indicate their agreement with the Constitution and Statement of Faith of this church (1 Corinthians 1:10), shall be eligible for membership.
SECTION B. RECEPTION OF MEMBERS.
1. Persons who desire to associate themselves with this church, and who fulfill the qualifications for membership, shall make application to the Pastor. They shall then meet with the Pastor and the Elders for examination and approval.
2. Approved applicants for membership shall give their testimony to the church in any church service. The names of those who apply for membership shall be posted. If no valid objections are received from anyone by the Elders during the following two weeks after posting, the right hand of fellowship shall be extended to them at a Sunday morning service
SECTION C. RESPONSIBILITY OF MEMBERS.
Each member shall seek diligently to live in accordance with the pattern of the New Testament for believers. They shall seek to attend the services regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25), participate faithfully in giving of their means as the Lord may prosper (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), to pray for and support the leadership of the church (Hebrews 13:17-18), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the church by influence and example (Ephesians 4:15-16). Each member shall make themselves available for service in the church in accordance with their gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7).
SECTION D. REMOVAL FROM MEMBERSHIP.
Members may be removed from the membership for the following reasons:
1. by death;
2. by request of the member;
3. for joining another church;
4. for inactivity (a member who habitually absents themselves without sufficient cause or is absent for a period of a year will be removed from membership after an Elder(s) has made a personal visit or after all attempts to locate the member have been unsuccessful);
5. by discipline when disciplinary action fails to produce restoration to fellowship.
Members who have been removed because of inactivity or disciplinary action shall be notified by letter from the Church Clerk. The Pastor and Elders shall notify the church of those members who have been removed.
SECTION E. LETTERS OF TRANSFER.
Letters of recommendation or transfer to churches of like faith may be granted to those members in good standing requesting one. The request should be made in writing stating the name and address of the church with which it is desired to affiliate. The Elders will take action on the request.
SECTION F. CATEGORIES OF MEMBERSHIP.
For functional purposes, church memberships are categorized as follows:
ACTIVE MEMBER—An individual who has met the qualifications of membership in Section A, has been received as a member as in Section B, and is fulfilling the responsibilities of a member as in Section C. Such member is entitled to all privileges of the church. Those who are 18 years of age or older may also vote at corporate and church business meetings. The current active voting membership shall be used for determining a quorum at corporate or church business meetings. The Elders are responsible to review the active membership roll prior to business meetings and transfer unqualified active members to the non-active member category (or remove them from the membership roll) so that there is a true base for establishing a quorum.
NON-ACTIVE MEMBER—A former active or associate member who has not been in regular attendance during the three-month period prior to a business meeting. Non-active members are entitled to all privileges of this church except voting and right to the floor at Business Meetings. An active member may be transferred to the non-active member category by request or by action of the Elders prior to a business meeting. A non-active member may be restored to the active member category by a vote of the Elders. Such action shall take place only after the non-active member has been in regular attendance for a minimum of one month and has made a formal request to the Elders. Examples of non-active members are missionaries, military service personnel, college students, shut-ins and those who are temporarily displaced from the geographical location of this church, but expect to return in the future.
ASSOCIATE MEMBER—An individual who desires to serve in ministry with Grace Bible Church and meets the same requirements as stated for members in Sections A, B and C of Article IV, but is also a member of another church of like faith and practice and does not want to lose membership in that church. They shall have the same rights and privileges as Active Members except voting and church officer positions. This membership is held as either Active or Non-Active status as stated above.
ARTICLE V. DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS AND ATTENDEES.
The church is commanded by Scripture to discipline those within her who continue in open and/or habitual sin (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5).
SECTION A. REASONS FOR DISCIPLINE
The reasons for discipline include:
1. To bring about reconciliation and restoration of the one in sin to fellowship through conviction of sin leading to repentance (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; James 5:19-20; 2 Corinthians 7:8-13);
2. To teach the individual in sin about God and His commands of how He wants Christians to live (Hebrews 12:5-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Titus 1:13);
3. To keep the church from sin (1 Corinthians 5:2,6-7; Galatians 5:7-10; 2 Timothy 2:14-18);
4. To identify those who are disobedient (Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14);
5. To remove the unrepentant from the fellowship of the church (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14; Titus 3:10-11);
6. To promote the proper fear of God (Acts 5:13-14).
SECTION B. CAUSES FOR DISCIPLINE
The cause of church discipline is disobedience to God’s Word. Discipline that goes beyond private rebuke does so because of either unrepentance or the public nature of the sin (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Timothy 5:19-20; 1 John 2:18-19). Serious matters of sin include:
1. Doctrinal deviation or heresy (Titus 3:9; Romans 16:17-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 2 John 1:10; 2 Peter 2:1-2; 1 Timothy 6:3-5);
2. Immoral conduct – including all sexual perversions listed in Article III, Section F. (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17);
3. Sowing discord or causing division (Proverbs 6:19; Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10-11);
4. Living in a disorderly manner (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Jude).
SECTION C. THE MANNER OF DISCIPLINE
The manner of any disciplinary action that is deemed necessary shall be in the spirit of love and meekness (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; Galatians 6:1).
SECTION D. THE STEPS OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE
The Steps of Church Discipline (Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1-4) are as follows:
Step 1—The individual in sin is confronted/admonished by a fellow believer with the goal of correction, reconciliation and restoration. If the individual does not listen, then Step 2a (Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1).
Step 2a—The individual in sin is confronted/admonished again, with two or three witnesses present, with the goal of correction, reconciliation and restoration, and to establish the facts. If possible, one of the witnesses should be an Elder of the church. If the individual does not listen, then Step 2b (Matthew 18:16).
Step 2b—The matter is brought to the Elders. Charges are to be put in writing and placed in the hands of the accused, requesting a meeting with the Elders within two weeks. If reconciliation is not achieved and the Elders determine the accused is in sin, the individual shall be removed from active ministry, then Step 3 (Matthew 18:16; Galatians 6:1).
Step 3—The matter will be brought to the congregation at a regular worship service. The church will be instructed to seek after the individual to bring about repentance and reconciliation. If the individual does not listen to the church’s admonition to repent, then Step 4 (Matthew 18:17).
Step 4—If the individual does not repent within a one to two-month time of Step 3, the individual is to be disfellowshiped and the congregation instructed to treat the individual as a “gentile and tax-gatherer” (an unbeliever) who may no longer participate in the fellowship of the Christian community (Matthew 18:17).
SECTION E. ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
1. Future restoration of a disfellowshiped individual is possible upon repentance and reconciliation with those offended. Such an individual must meet with the Elders to determine what “fruit of repentance” they will require for restoration (Psalm 51; Matthew 3:8; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11).
2. Refusal of an individual to meet with those involved in Steps 1-4 above will not prevent the process from continuing and the Elders from rendering a decision based upon the testimony available.
3. Resignation of membership or no longer attending church services will not prevent the process of church discipline from continuing.
4. Churches/Pastors that inquire concerning an individual under church discipline will be informed.
5. Employees, members and those volunteering to assist in any ministry sponsored by Grace Bible Church that reach Step 2b in Section D above, are subject to immediate suspension of their employment or position at the discretion of the Elders of Grace Bible Church when the matter is brought to their attention. The accused is subject to termination of their employment or position once they have been given reasonable opportunity to meet with the Elders and the Elders have been able to establish the facts in the case.
ARTICLE VI. THE OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES.
SECTION A. THE CHURCH GOVERNMENT.
The government of this church shall be vested in the membership and executed through duly elected officers and committees in accord with all the provisions of this Constitution. All positions, including the Pastor, requiring election by the church shall be considered officers. All officers shall have the qualifications set forth in Romans 12:11, Colossians 3:17,23, and Titus 3:8,14. Officers shall have a knowledge of and concern for their office, and shall administer the duties of the office in accordance with the instruction set forth in Matthew 20:25-28. All officers, except the Pastor and Elders, shall be chosen from those who have been full active members of the church for at least one year. No member shall serve as an Elder and Deacon simultaneously. In order to ensure a Christian example and a living testimony, all officers, members of committees, teachers of church- sponsored Bible studies and classes, Sunday School teachers and Sunday School officers shall be thoroughly examined by the Elders as to their spiritual and moral qualifications.
SECTION B. THE PASTORS.
1. Qualifications. A Pastor shall be an ordained minister having the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Throughout this Constitution, the term “Pastor” designates a man who functions in the Biblical role of bishop (overseer), elder, and pastor (shepherd). The Senior Pastor and Associate Pastors are “Elders” of the church as set forth in Section C. The only difference between a “Pastor” and an “Elder” is the specific responsibilities and authority assigned to a Pastor by this Constitution, and that a Pastor receives at least some compensation for his services (1 Timothy 5:17-18). (The term “Elders” includes “Pastors” throughout this Constitution, unless specifically stated otherwise.) A man not yet ordained may preach and minister in a pastoral role, but must complete the process of ordination as outlined in Article VIII before he can take on the title and authority of a Pastor.
2. Term of Office of a Pastor.
a. A Pastor shall serve for an indefinite period of time subject to annual review and reaffirmation, with a right to terminate his services upon at least thirty days notice.
b. A Pastor is subject to the same Reaffirmation, Review, Correction and Removal procedures for all Elders as detailed in Section C, Paragraph 4 below.
c. In case of serious error in conduct or doctrine, the Elders may suspend a Pastor’s ministry immediately by a 75% vote of the other Elders present in a special meeting about which all Elders have been notified as to the time, place and purpose thereof. Such action shall be followed by the normal procedure described in Section C, Paragraph 4 below.
d. If a Pastor is dismissed, he shall cease his ministries immediately (including vacating the pulpit if he is the Senior Pastor), and shall receive one-month’s pay. His salary may be extended by the Elders an additional one month if he continues unemployed.
e. If a Pastor dies while in office, his widow and dependent children shall receive any salary, reimbursements, etc., still owed to the Pastor, plus what would have been his severance pay. If the Pastor lived in a parsonage, his dependent family may continue to use the parsonage for a minimum of one month and a maximum of until a new Pastor is called.
f. A Pastor is subject to annual review by the other Elders. Those found negligent or incompetent to carry out their responsibilities (as detailed in paragraphs 5 & 6 below) may be subject to Correction and/or Removal as outlined in Section C, Paragraph 4, subparagraph d & e below.
g. A pastor who leaves the ministry of Grace Bible Church in good standing as determined by the Elders shall receive a minimum severance pay of three months and an additional amount of one week for each year of service, or an amount mutually agreed upon by the Pastor, Elders and Deacons. The Elders and Deacons may use their discretion in evaluating any additional financial need and if living in a parsonage, its use until a new pastor is called.
4. Vacancy of the Office of a Pastor.
a. When the church is without a Senior Pastor, the Elders shall:
i) decide whether or not to recommend to the church an interim Pastor. If such a person is recommended, his duties shall be specified in his call. They shall obtain men for the pulpit who are doctrinally and ecclesiastically in agreement with the church.
ii) recommend to the congregation (if an interim Pastor is not called) a member of the church qualified to coordinate pastoral ministries and be the chief administrator of the church until a new Pastor is called and serving.
iii) initiate a Pulpit Committee as described in Section H of this Article.
b. When the church is looking for an Associate Pastor from outside the church, the Elders shall:
i) write a general job description explaining the ministry objectives the Associate Pastor would be asked to meet;
ii) appoint a committee to gather a list of potential candidates; screen such candidates as to spiritual and moral qualifications, ability to fulfill the job description and agreement with the Statement of Faith and Constitution of this church; and recommend such candidates to the Elders—a candidate not yet ordained may be recommended, but such a candidate cannot receive the title of Associate Pastor until ordination is completed;
iii) meet with candidates recommended by the committee mentioned in ii) above, to interview and review their qualifications and abilities, including observation of the candidate performing the ministry skills required for the position;
iv) recommended a candidate to the congregation upon unanimous approval by the Elders;
v) present the recommended candidate to the congregation for questioning and observation;
vi) call a special church business meeting to vote on the candidate. A minimum of 75% approval by members present is needed before a call may be extended to the candidate.
vii) Upon assuming his duties, the Associate Pastor shall become a member of the church. If he is married, his wife must meet the eligibility qualifications for membership (Article IV, Section A), and it is expected that she shall complete the requirements for membership in this church (Article IV, Section B) within six weeks of her husband assuming his duties.
c. When a church member is being considered for a position as an Associate Pastor.
i) Ordained ministers, Elders and Deacons by virtue of their position are eligible for consideration in accordance with the conditions listed below. A Deacon must also be actively pursuing meeting the requirements of becoming an Elder and would be an “Associate Minister” until he becomes an Elder.
ii) Other church members may be considered only in extraordinary circumstances and in accordance with the conditions below and only after thorough evaluation and shown to meet at least the qualifications of being a deacon. He would then be treated as such as in i) above.
iii) The spiritual gifts and skills of the individual must meet identified and particular ministry needs of the church.
iv) A job description explaining responsibilities and expectations must be written that matches the individual with the identified ministry needs of the church.
v) Financial compensation will be considered based on the needs of the individual, the financial health of the church, and ministry experience and training.
vi) A candidate may be recommended to the congregation only upon unanimous approval by the Elders. (An Elder being considered would recuse himself from the discussion and vote of recommendation).
vii) The recommended candidate will be presented to the congregation for questioning and observation.
viii) A special church business meeting will be held to vote on the candidate. A minimum of 75% approval by members present is needed to extend a call to the candidate.
5. Duties of the Senior Pastor. The duties and functions of the Senior Pastor shall include the following:
a. he shall serve as an overseer and shepherd with ultimate responsibility for the leadership and spiritual ministry of the church, including the supervision of the pulpit;
b. he shall preach regularly at the church services; direct the administering of the ordinances, and act as moderator of church business meetings unless he chooses to appoint a moderator, but he shall not serve as moderator in relationship to any question dealing with his personal compensation or other matters of his personal status;
c. he shall officiate at Christian weddings, memorial services, funerals, and other occasions that usually fall to the Senior Pastor;
d. he shall work in conjunction and harmony with the other Elders in coordinating and conducting the entire church program;
e. he shall be the chairman of the Elders and an ex-officio member of all church committees with all rights thereof, including attendance and voting at all meetings, etc.;
f. he shall be responsible for all other duties common to the office of the Senior Pastor.
e. he shall actively seek to raise up and train other men to be Pastors / Elders.
6. Duties of An Associate Pastor. The duties and functions of an Associate Pastor will be in keeping with his individual spiritual gifts and be specified at the time he is hired.
a. If an Associate Pastor is ordained he is also an Elder.
b. If he is not ordained, he is not an Elder and will be given the title of “Associate Minister.” He may attend meetings of the Elders as an observer and respondent only, except in those areas pertaining to his specific ministries.
c. He is an ex-officio member of all committees pertaining to his specific areas of ministry with all rights thereof including attendance and voting.
d. He will work in association and harmony with the Senior Pastor and Elders.
7. The Pastoral Intern.
a. The Pastoral Intern position is for the purpose of helping men gain pastoral skills and experience under the mentoring of Pastors while assisting in the ministries of this church. Those in this position must be actively preparing for ordination and have long term plans to be a Senior or Associate Pastor or Missionary. They must be members of this church or become members within six weeks of being called as a Pastoral Intern.
b. A Pastoral Intern will work under the general direction of the Senior Pastor. He may also work with the Associate Pastors and Elders for experience in their specific areas of ministry.
c. A Pastoral Intern may attend meetings of the Elders and all committees as an observer. He may serve as a church officer or on committees as appointed or elected to such positions.
d. A Pastoral Intern is hired by the Elders and may be reviewed every three months. A Pastoral Intern shall not continue in that position longer than three years.
e. A Pastoral Intern may be terminated by the Elders at any time and will receive one month’s severance pay.
SECTION C. THE ELDERS.
1. Qualifications. EldElders shall be males who have been full active members of this church for at least two years and shall reflect in their lives the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. (The term “Elders” includes “Pastors” throughout this Constitution unless specifically stated otherwise. The qualifications set forth in this paragraph are specifically for Elders) An Elder must complete the Elder Qualification and Approval Process as set forth in a separate policy including but not limited to approval by the current Elders to enter the process; written and oral examination as to Bible and theological knowledge, confirmation of moral qualifications for eldership, confirmation of spiritual giftedness to teach, completion of an internship period, and confirmation of the call of God to eldership by the current Elders and church congregation. If married, their wives shall also be members of this church.
2. Duties. The Elders shall serve together with the “Pastors” according to individual giftedness in the shepherding, teaching, leading, direction and administration of all matters pertaining to the ministries of the church. Some of these duties are as follow:
a. to minister to the spiritual needs of the congregation;
b. to maintain an evangelistic outreach;
c. to establish and administer the Elders’ Fund;
d. to minister to the sick and needy;
e. to assist in conducting the ordinances;
f. to interview and approve candidates for church membership as described in ARTICLE IV, Section B;
g. to exercise church discipline as described in ARTICLE V, and grant Letters of Transfer as described in ARTICLE IV, Section E;
h. to recommend for church action any changes to either the Statement of Faith or the Church Covenant as described in ARTICLE XI;
i. to establish and maintain a long-range plan for the church’s ministry vision and its implementation.
j. to maintain close liaison and cooperation with the Deacons and the various church Committees whether standing or ad hoc;
k. to approve any committees or organizations that may be established to support the ministry of the church;
l. to approve absences of the Pastor(s), ensuring that financial arrangements are clearly specified;
m. to arrange for Pastoral ministries to be provided if a vacancy occurs in a pastoral office.
n. to assist, when appealed to, in the resolution of differences concerning intra-church relationships;
o. to evaluate the effectiveness of the work and worship of the church, and, when necessary, take action to improve it;
p. to appoint the members of the various church Committees whether standing or ad hoc;
q. to direct the Deacons and Women’s Servant Council in their ministries.
r. to actively seek to raise up and train additional Elders.
3. Term of Office.
a. An Elder serves for an indefinite term subject to annual review and reaffirmation. His term begins after completion of the Elder Qualification and Approval Process as set forth in a separate policy and he has been affirmed by at least 75% of the Active Members and installed to office by the laying-on of hands by the existing Elders. As he desires or believes is necessary, he may resign and cease being an Elder, or take a leave of absence and be an inactive Elder. Elders who resign may not be Elders again without completing the GBC Elder Qualification and Approval Process again. Elders who take a leave of absence may be reinstated upon approval of the rest of the Elders and congregational reaffirmation.
b. An Elder is terminated from office by death, disfellowship or disqualification for office as set forth in Paragraph 4 below.
4. Reaffirmation, Review, Correction and Removal (Matt. 18:15-20; Gal. 6-14; 1 Tim. 5:19-20).
a. Reaffirmation: Elders are to be reaffirmed as to their qualifications each year by the membership at the Annual Business Meeting. If an Elder receives less than a 95% vote of reaffirmation, he is to be reinvestigated as to his qualifications. A reinvestigation of qualification begins with asking those who gave a no confidence vote to: 1) talk with the Elder about the reason(s); 2) bring the matter before the Elders, with the accused Elder present, to either affirm the accusation of lack of qualification or affirm that the concern has been resolved; and 3) if less than two people come forward to meet with the Elders to bring formal charges, then the matter will be dropped.
b. Accusations: Elders may be subject to accusations at any time of the year. 1) The accusations must be made by at least two people. 2) Those making the accusations should meet first with the Elder in question to express their concerns. 3) If there is no resolution in private or the matter would disqualify the man from continuing as an Elder, the matter is to be brought before all the Elders for investigation.
c. Annual Review. Each Elder is subject to annual review by the other Elders. Those found negligent or incompetent to carry out their responsibilities may be subject to Correction and/or Removal as outlined in paragraphs d & e below.
d. Correction: If an Elder is accused as in a. or b. above, the matter is to be investigated by the other Elders, searching for all relevant facts to determine the truth or falsity of the accusations. If the accusations are determined to be false, those making the false accusations are to be rebuked, with church discipline carried out if there is no repentance. If the accusations are determined to be true, the Elders are to determine if it is a matter of disqualification from being an Elder or a matter of correction. Disqualification would be for no longer meeting the character qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:6-9, or serious negligence of responsibilities, or no longer holding to the church’s Statement of Faith, or any of the causes for discipline listed in article V, Section B. Correction would be for misunderstandings, errors of judgement, minor doctrinal aberrations, and minor matters that do not demonstrate a failed character, etc. An Elder that is corrected is to receive it with all humility and demonstrate the fruit of repentance.
e. Removal: An Elder that is found to be disqualified is to be removed from being an Elder. An Elder that in humility recognizes his failure may resign by publicly stating that he is no longer qualified and wishes to work on the areas of failure. An Elder who continues in sin or refuses the correction given to him is to be rebuked before the congregation and removed from being an Elder. An Elder may be removed by unanimous consensus of all the Elders and/or by failure to receive a 75% vote of affirmation of the members present at a regular or special church business meeting. If the sin continues, the former Elder is to be disfellowshiped according to Article V.
5. Meetings. The Elders shall hold at least one meeting every month. Two-thirds of the Elders shall constitute a quorum. A record of all meetings is to be maintained. Copies of the minutes of the meetings shall be supplied to all the Elders. At the first meeting after the annual church business meeting, the Elders shall elect a vice-chairman and a secretary.
6. Plurality of Leaders. In recognition that the Scriptures present a general principle that it is best to have a plurality of men leading the church (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; Acts 14:23; 15:2; Titus 1:5, etc.), if there are less than three Elders, an Advisory Council to the Elders will be formed to assist the remaining Elders in their responsibilities as able, and join with them in carrying out Church Discipline and the procedures of Reaffirmation, Correction & Removal of Elders as set forth in Paragraph 4 above. The Advisory Council will be selected by the Elders and Deacons from among the Deacons and male Church Officers so that the total number of men serving as either an Elder or on the Advisory Council is at least three, though more may serve at the discretion of the Elders and Deacons.
SECTION D. THE DEACONS
1. Qualifications. Deacons shall be males who have been full active members of this church for at least one year and have the qualifications set forth in Acts 6:3 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13. A Deacon must complete the Deacon Qualification and Approval Process as set forth in a separate policy including but not limited to: approval by the current Elders to enter the process; examination as to Biblical and theological knowledge; confirmation of moral qualifications for Deaconship; completion of an internship period; and confirmation of the call of God to Deaconship by the Elders and the church congregation. If married, their wives shall also be members of this church.
2. Duties. The Scriptures indicate the office of Deacon is that of a servant of the Church and helper to the Elders (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3; Acts 6:1-6) and they are, therefore, directly responsible to the Elders. Specific duties of the Deacons shall be defined by the Elders according to the needs of the church. Some of the duties which the Deacons will assist the Elders with include:
a. supervision of all financial operations within the church, establishment of a businesslike method of bookkeeping and auditing, and providing oversight of the Treasurer;
b. establishment and maintenance of a purchasing procedure;
c. establishment and maintenance of a long-range plan for that portion of the church operation for which they are responsible;
d. recommendations concerning salaries, benefits, and vacation allowances for all employees and Pastors;
e. under the direction of the Elders, the preparation of the General Expense and Pastor’s Compensation portion of the annual budget, and the compilation of the total annual budget in cooperation with church Committees and Ministries that have budget line items for congregational approval at the annual corporate business meeting;
f. they will regularly monitor church financial accounts and budget expenditures for financial health and fiscal discipline, and in conjunction with the Treasurer, provide the congregation at least quarterly financial reports. They will inform the Elders of line items that are or may go over budget for their action and will recommend when expenses will require an amended budget approved at a corporate business meeting;
g. assisting the Treasurer in counting, recording, and depositing all offerings and contributions collected at any church meeting;
h. maintaining close liaison and cooperation with the Pastors, Elders and church committees;
i. supervising the care and maintenance of the church grounds and property;
j. forming subcommittees as needed to fulfill their responsibilities;
k. help form an Advisory Council to the Elders, should there be less than three Elders, as explained in Section C, Paragraph 6 above.
3. Term of Office.
a. A Deacon serves for an indefinite term subject to annual review by the Elders and other Deacons and reaffirmation by the congregation. His term begins after completion of the Deacon Qualification and Approval Process as set forth in a separate policy, and he has been affirmed by at least 75% of the Active Members and installed to office by the laying-on of hands by the Elders. He may resign or take leaves of absence as he desires or believes necessary.
b. A Deacon is terminated from office by death, disfellowship or disqualification for office in the same manner as set forth for Elders in Section C, Paragraph 4 above.
4. Meetings. The Deacons shall hold at least one meeting every month. Two-thirds of the Deacons shall constitute a quorum. A record of all meetings is to be maintained. Copies of the minutes of the meetings shall be supplied to the Senior Pastor, the Elders and all the Deacons. At the first meeting after the annual corporate business meeting, the Deacons shall elect a chairman and a secretary.
SECTION E. THE WOMEN’S SERVANT COUNCIL
1. Qualifications. A member of the Woman’s Servant Council (WSC) shall be a female who has been a full active member of this church for at least one year that meets the specific qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:11, and the general qualifications of godliness and servanthood found in Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Timothy 2:9-15, Titus 2:3-5, 1 Peter 3:1-6 and Philippians 2:3-4. A member of the WSC must complete the WSC Qualification and Approval Process as set forth in a separate policy including but not limited to: approval by the Elders to enter the process; confirmation of moral qualification; completion of an internship period; and confirmation of the call of God by the Elders and church congregation.
2. Duties. The Scriptures indicate a woman who ministers in this capacity is a servant of the church and helper to the Elders (1 Timothy 3; Romans 16:1-2). Specific duties of the WSC shall be defined by the Elders according to the needs of the church. The members of the WSC assist the Elders in ministering to the congregation, especially the females in the church. Some of their duties include:
a. helping to shepherd the women in the church;
b. promoting opportunities for other women to serve in the ministries of the church;
c. organizing and coordinating women’s ministries in the church.
3. Term of Office.
a. A member of the WSC serves for an indefinite term subject to annual review by the Elders and other members of the WSC and reaffirmation by the congregation. Her term begins after completion of the WSC Qualification and Approval Process as set forth in a separate policy and she has been affirmed by at least 75% of the Active Members and installed to office by the laying on of hands by the Elders. She may resign or take leaves of absence as she desires or believes necessary
b. A member of the WSC is terminated from office by death, disfellowship or disqualification for office in the same manner as set forth for Elders in Section C, Paragraph 4 above.
4. Meetings. The WSC shall meet as needed to carry out their responsibilities. After the annual corporate business meeting, they shall elect a chairwoman, vice-chairwoman and secretary. Two thirds of the WSC shall constitute a quorum. Copies of the minutes of their meetings shall be supplied to the Senior Pastor, the Elders and the Deacons.
SECTION F. THE TRUSTEES
The Elders and Deacons shall serve as the Board of Trustees of the Corporation. These men shall abide by the laws of the State of New York. They shall administer the church finances and care for the church property. They shall be responsible for the acquisition, care (including insurance), and disposition of all church property, and shall keep a record of all church property. The vice-chairman of the Elders is the chairman of the Trustees and the secretary of the Elders is the secretary of the Trustees. If there is not a secretary of the Elders, the secretary of the Deacons will be the secretary of the Trustees. If there is not a vice-chairman of the Elders, the chairman of the Deacons will be the chairman of the Trustees.
SECTION G. THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE.
The Elders may appoint from among themselves or from the membership a Nominating Committee. The committee shall begin to function four months before the annual Church Business Meeting and shall cease after the annual meeting. Any member who wishes to suggest a candidate for consideration should provide the name to any member of the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee will assist the Elders in the selection of church officers by compiling a list of potential candidates, doing a preliminary screening of such candidates for qualification and desire for service, and making recommendations to the Elders at least two months before the annual corporate business meeting. The Elders shall post their approved list of church officers for confirmation and reconfirmation in an obvious place two Sundays before the annual church business meeting.
SECTION H. THE PULPIT COMMITTEE.
1. Within one week after the pulpit has been vacated or the Senior Pastor has resigned, the Elders shall appoint from among themselves or from the membership a Pulpit Committee. The Pulpit Committee shall have the responsibility of assembling a list of prospective candidates for the office of Senior Pastor, and of recommending to the Elders the person whom they feel should be the candidate.
2. Before a person shall be considered as a candidate, he shall advise the Elders that he accepts the Constitution and the Statement of Faith.
3. He shall be interviewed by the Elders.
4. Upon a unanimous vote of the Elders, the Pulpit Committee shall arrange for the candidate to speak at two Sunday services.
5. At this time the members of this church shall be given an opportunity to question the candidate.
6. If, by a unanimous vote, the Elders indicate their approval of the candidate, a special church business meeting shall be announced at which time the church shall vote on the matter. Only one candidate at a time shall be considered. Voting shall be by written ballot. A minimum of 75% of the marked ballots cast is required to extend a call. If the vote is insufficient to extend a call, the Pulpit Committee shall remain in operation until such time as God’s choice for the Pastor has been found and called.
7. The Elders shall be responsible to notify the candidate of the vote, and, if accepted, make arrangements for his moving.
8. Upon assuming his duties, the Pastor shall become a members of the church. If he is married, his wife must meet the eligibility qualifications for membership (Article IV, Section A), and it is expected that she shall complete the requirements for membership in this church (Article IV, Section B) within six weeks of her husband assuming his duties.
9. If a non-ordained candidate is called, he shall have supervision of the pulpit and will be given the title of “Preacher,” but will not be an Elder or be given the title of “Pastor” until his ordination is completed.
SECTION I. THE TREASURER.
A Treasurer will be appointed by the Elders subject to congregational confirmation. The Treasurer will serve a one-year term, starting upon confirmation at the annual corporate business meeting, and may serve multiple terms. The Treasurer shall meet the moral qualifications of being of “good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3), and “free from the love of money” (1 Timothy 3:3). The Treasurer shall keep records of all monies, disburse by check all claims authorized, report the financial status at regular church business meetings, and, at the annual church business meeting, make a detailed year-end report of the financial status. The Treasurer shall conduct the affairs of the office in a businesslike manner, promptly pay all salaries and, insofar as the funds in the accounts permit, shall promptly pay all claims that have been approved. The Church Treasurer shall be responsible to the Trustees for the care of the financial records and for the dispersal of all the church’s monies. The Treasurer shall be available to attend meetings in which the church budget is discussed. The Treasurer may be removed from office at any time by majority vote of the Trustees and replaced with a temporary Treasurer, subject to congregational approval at a corporate business meeting.
SECTION J. THE CHURCH CLERK.
A Church Clerk will be appointed by the Elders subject to congregational confirmation. The Church Clerk will serve a one-year term, starting upon confirmation at the annual corporate business meeting, and may serve multiple terms. The Church Clerk shall have charge of church membership records and be responsible for correspondence pertaining to church membership. The Church Clerk shall keep accurate minutes of all corporate and church business meetings, and be prepared to read the minutes before the church as occasion demands. When, in a business meeting, the Church Clerk is absent, a temporary clerk shall be appointed by the moderator. The Church Clerk can be removed from office at any time by majority vote of the Elders and replaced with a temporary Clerk, subject to congregational approval at a corporate business meeting.
SECTION K. CHRISTIAN EDUCATION DIRECTOR
A Christian Education Director (CED) may be appointed by the Elders subject to congregational confirmation. The CED will serve a one-year term, starting upon confirmation at the annual corporate business meeting and may serve multiple terms. He shall be responsible to the Senior Pastor and the Elders. The CED shall have charge of and direct the activities of the Sunday morning educational programs and other educational programs according to the job description and policies established by the Elders. He shall organize the Christian Education Committee and meet regularly with it for business and consultation, and with teachers for training. The Christian Education Committee members and teachers shall be either members or associate members of the church. The CED shall make a report to the church at the annual church business meeting. He is an ex-officio member of the Evangelism and Discipleship Committee. The CED can be removed from office at any time by majority vote of the Elders and replaced with a temporary CED, subject to congregational approval at a corporate business meeting. This position may be replaced by an Associate Pastor.
SECTION L. THE DIRECTOR OF MUSIC.
A Director of Music may be appointed by the Elders subject to congregational confirmation. The Director will serve a one-year term, starting upon confirmation at the annual corporate business meeting, and may serve multiple terms. The Director shall appoint a Music Committee consisting of members or associate members of the church, and meet regularly with them for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the music program, including selection of music, musicians and song leaders for church worship services. The Director shall work in harmony with the Senior Pastor and will be responsible to the Elders. He may be removed from office at any time by majority vote of the Elders and replaced with a temporary Director, subject to congregational approval at a corporate business meeting. This position may be replaced by an Associate Pastor.
SECTION M. THE MISSIONS COMMITTEE.
The Elders shall appoint from among themselves or from the membership a Missions Committee. Some of the duties of the Committee are:
1. to establish and maintain a policy for selecting and supporting mission programs or missionaries, subject to the approval of the Senior Pastor, the Elders, and the church;
2. to educate the church about missions, missionaries, mission programs, and mission needs;
3. to recommend for church action changes in the missionaries or mission programs supported and the amount of support;
4. to prepare, under the direction of the Elders, the Missionary and General Missions Expense portion of the annual budget, in cooperation with the Deacons and the Evangelism and Discipleship Committee, for approval by the church at the annual church business meeting— however, the committee may spend up to $300 from undesignated funds without the prior approval of the church;
5. to communicate with the missionaries supported by the church to encourage them and to learn of their problems and needs;
6. to plan and supervise mission conferences and individual visits by missionaries, in cooperation with the Senior Pastor and the Elders;
7. to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the ongoing program.
The Missions Committee shall hold meetings throughout the year consistent with the need to accomplish the work of the committee. A record of all meetings shall be maintained. Copies of the minutes of the meetings shall be supplied to the Senior Pastor and the Elders.
SECTION N. THE EVANGELISM DIRECTOR AND COMMITTEE.
A Director of Evangelism will be appointed by the Elders subject to congregational confirmation. The Director will serve a one-year term, starting upon confirmation at the annual corporate business meeting and may serve multiple terms. The Director shall organize an Evangelism Committee consisting of members of this church and meet regularly with them for the purpose of carrying out its functions as listed below. The Director shall work in harmony with the Senior Pastor and will be responsible to the Elders. He may be removed from office at any time by majority vote of the Elders and replaced with a temporary Director, subject to congregational approval at a corporate business meeting. This position may be replaced by an Associate Pastor. Some of the duties of the Committee are as follows:
1. to strategize means and carry out plans to effectively evangelize our community;
2. to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the ongoing efforts to evangelize the community:
3. to educate the church about evangelism and train Christians in evangelism methods and techniques;
4. to prepare and submit the budget line items related to evangelism to the Elders, in cooperation with the Deacons, church Committees and Ministries that have budget line items for approval by the church at the annual church business meeting.
SECTION O. OTHER CHURCH OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
The Elders may appoint other church officers and committees as needed, subject to congregational approval.
ARTICLE VII. THE MEETINGS.
SECTION A. WORSHIP MEETINGS.
Meetings for praise, adoration, fellowship, edification, and other spiritual ministries shall be held each Sunday. Meetings for prayer, Bible Study, discipleship, etc. will be held during the week. A Sunday School shall be held each Sunday. Other meetings may be held at the discretion of the Pastor and the Elders.
SECTION B. CHURCH AND CORPORATE BUSINESS MEETINGS.
1. A corporate business meeting will be held to transact business associated with the corporation. A corporate business meeting shall be called for the confirmation and/or reaffirmation of Elders and Deacons; for the establishment or changing of the budget; for the sale, transfer, or purchase of real estate; for the authorization of the sale of bonds; for the encumbrance of a loan; or for any other business that requires action by the Trustees of the Corporation.
2. A church business meeting will be held for the transaction of business not associated with the corporation.
3. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary guide for the conduct of all business meetings.
4. One-third of the active voting membership shall constitute a quorum for any business meeting. The Elders shall provide the Church Clerk with a roster of active church members prior to business meetings. The Church Clerk shall be responsible for determining whether a quorum exists for any business meeting. Except where otherwise specified in this Constitution, a decision made in any business meeting shall be based on a majority vote of those present and voting. Blank ballots, blank lines on a ballot, and abstains do not count as a vote. Only members 18 years of age or older may vote.
5. Active members shall have the right to fully participate in any church meeting including but not limited to the making of motions from the floor. Motions from the floor must adhere to the rest of provisions of this constitution including but not limited to qualifications for church officers, budget line item expenditures, missions / missionary recommendations, and Constitutional changes.
SECTION C. SCHEDULE OF BUSINESS MEETINGS.
The annual corporate and church business meeting will be held after the second Sunday in September at a time and date determined by the Elders, and posted, and announced a minimum of two Sundays prior to the meeting. Quarterly business meetings will be held after the second Sundays in the months of December, March, and June at a time and date determined by the Elders and posted and announced a minimum of two Sundays prior to the meeting. The purpose of the quarterly business meetings are to keep the membership informed, to give them an opportunity to be heard, and to conduct any necessary business.
SECTION D. SPECIAL BUSINESS MEETINGS.
A special corporate business meeting may be called by the Trustees. A special church business meeting may be called by the Senior Pastor or the Elders. Special business meetings and their purpose must be announced from the pulpit two Sundays before the meeting. No other business may be transacted at a special business meeting except as stated in the call for the meeting.
ARTICLE VIII. ORDINATION.
1. When, in the judgment of the Elders, a male member of this church evidences a divine call to Christian ministry, they shall call and conduct a Council of Ordination. This council shall consist of both selected, ordained Christian ministers and Elders or Deacons of their respective churches.
2. The Council of Ordination shall thoroughly examine the candidate regarding his personal Christian experience, call to the ministry, educational training, doctrinal belief, reputation, and demonstrated service in Christian work. The level of examination shall be at least equivalent to that for Elders under the “Elder Qualification and Approval Process” policy.
3. Upon completion of the examination of the candidate, a two thirds majority vote by the Council of Ordination shall be required to recommend his ordination to the Elders. When so recommended and accepted, a public ordination service shall be arranged by the Elders. The minutes of the Council of Ordination shall be incorporated into the record of church minutes, and a Certificate of Ordination shall be issued.
4. The Elders shall have the power to discipline, even to the revoking of the Certificate of Ordination, any minister ordained under this Constitution, if the minister is found guilty of doctrinal or moral defection after an impartial trial conducted in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 13.
5. The minister under discipline shall have the privilege of appealing his case to the membership of this church within sixty days after the decision of the Elders.
ARTICLE IX. THE FINANCIAL REGULATIONS.
SECTION A. THE CHURCH BUDGET.
Under the direction of the Elders, the Deacons are responsible for preparing the church budget in cooperation with church Committees and Ministries that have budget line items and presenting it at the annual corporate business meeting for church approval. The church budget is in effect from September 1 through August 31 upon approval at the Annual Business Meeting. The Approved Budget rates will remain in effect until a new budget is approved. The church budget shall include the following:
1. the amount of money to be allocated for each budget item;
2. the committee or individual(s) to administer each budget item;
SECTION B. RECEIPTS.
The Treasurer is responsible for counting and depositing all monies received. The Deacons will supervise and assist the Treasurer in this responsibility. The Treasurer shall provide the Trustees with a written report of the money received, and shall ensure the confidentiality of all receipts. The Treasurer shall be responsible for providing to each individual, upon request, a year-end report of that individual’s record of giving. The Treasurer shall provide church envelopes for collection of funds to those requesting them.
SECTION C. DISBURSEMENTS.
The Treasurer shall make all disbursements by check. Disbursements shall be made only as authorized by the budget or, when required, by a Trustee-approved voucher.
ARTICLE X. THE CHURCH COVENANT.
1. Having been led by the Holy spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior; and upon public confession of our faith, having been immersed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
2. We purpose, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to attend its services regularly; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to give faithfully of time and talent in its activities; to contribute cheerfully and regularly, as God has prospered us, to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the needy, and the spread of the gospel throughout all nations.
3. We also purpose to maintain family and private devotions; to train our children according to the Word of God; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our conduct; to avoid all gossip, backbiting, and unrighteous anger; to be filled with the Spirit and not mastered by anything else, including non-medicinal use of alcohol or other drugs, worldly philosophies, and bodily appetites; to abstain from all forms of activity which dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, cause stumbling to a fellow believer or hinder the winning of a soul to Christ, our Savior; and to give Him preeminence in all things.
4. We further purpose to encourage one another in the blessed hope of our Lord’s return, to watch over one another in brotherly love, to remember each other in prayer, to aid each other in sickness and distress, to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech, to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and to seek it without delay. We moreover purpose that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other church of like faith and practice, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. In the event there is no such church, we shall seek, with the Lord’s help, to establish one.
ARTICLE XI. THE REVISIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION.
1. This Constitution may be amended at any regular or special business meeting of the church by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the voting members present and voting, provided that the nature of the proposed amendment has been stated in the notice, and that a copy of the proposed amendment has been made available at the church at least two weeks prior to the meeting, and that such a meeting has been announced in a regular service on both of the two consecutive Sundays preceding its scheduled time.
2. Amendments to the Statement of Faith or the Church Covenant can be recommended only by the Elders, requiring unanimous agreement of the Elders. These changes would then require acceptance by the church as described in paragraph 1 above.
3. ARTICLE XI.2 and ARTICLE XI. 3 may not be amended.
4. Method of Suspension. This Constitution was made to assist in conducting the affairs of this church and not to hinder them. If found hindering, a portion of this Constitution may be temporarily suspended (except Articles II & III) for a business meeting by a majority vote of the members present, but any decisions made during such a suspension must be confirmed later at a called business meeting unless the proposal to be considered included the request for suspension and was posted at least two consecutive Sundays prior to the business meeting..
ARTICLE XII. DISSOLUTION.
The church shall be dissolved when its active membership shall have been reduced to less than ten (10). In the event of such dissolution, the property of the church, real and personal, and its other assets shall be given by three fourths (3/4) majority vote of the remaining membership to some other church, missionary agency or benevolent agency that holds the same doctrinal position as the church, provided such organization is a bona fide nonprofit organization qualifying as a tax exempt organization under the provisions of Section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code as may be amended from time to time or any replacement provision of a subsequently enacted law.