This website comes out of 25+ years of studying this subject of Discipleship and the Church.
All things working together to bring us to the current understanding from the Word of God about how to Make Disciples and what it means to be a part of the Church!
Ephesians 4: 11,12 says … and He gave some as Apostles, and some as Prophets, and some as Evangelists, and some as Pastors and Teachers for the equipping of the Saints for the work of service (ministry) …
Please know and realize that these truths and phrases come from many years of discernment, understanding and wisdom based on the Word of God the Bible. And, many years of wrestling with the Truths and Promises of God along with all our trials and tribulations (and despite our own sin).
One important thing to keep in mind: All these things brought us to grasp the seriousness of sin and our need for accountability and encouragement in our lives.
The Word of God provides one key warning to the Church: Apostasy will come: which means a “falling away”.
We believe this falling away means from “the Faith”: those who call upon the name of Jesus as Lord whom He saves! This does not mean a true or Authentic Christian will lose their salvation. Apostasy can only happen or take place from within the Church as a falling away must be from “something” which would be the Church as established and set down and in place by Jesus Christ as Lord and Head of His Church! The one and only Rock from which to build the foundations of the Church (Mathew 16:18). Note: the keys of the kingdom of heaven are given to the Church.
What is the importance and purpose of writing something down? Answer: provides a “living document” and daily reminder as to what the Lord has taught us in the Word of God and in our trials and tribulations. All these things working together in relationship to being a part of Jesus’ plan to Make Disciples. Disciples become the Church!
What is the importance and purpose of a Church Constitution or any Constitution? Answer: establishes order and accountability and provides a “living document” as to what the Lord has taught the Congregation in the Word of God and recognized what Jesus is doing as Lord, King and Head of His Church in their midst. Please see the Church Constitution at the end of this summary as a possible starting point for any sincere and Authentic Christian who desires to examine the Word of God about their role in the Church. How does Discipleship take place in the Church as a Way of Life? Answer: Examine what it means to be a Disciple. Who becomes the Church?
What is a Disciple?
Here are three pillars or convictions that have come into view over many years of trials and tribulations. And, we always need to reserve the right of the Holy Spirit to change our thinking, understanding and convictions if not built and set upon Jesus our Lord and King. Jesus remains Head of His Church today.
First, we are to follow and learn from Jesus. We are a Disciple. We are Saints who still “sometimes” sin (more or less). The Word of God tells us how to begin walking by Faith and no longer walking in the Flesh / following our emotions. We can know for sure that we have eternal life based on facts: the Word of God and evidence / fruit in our lives.
Second, as we follow Jesus Christ as Lord, who became our Savior and King: the Lord gets all the glory. Eternal Life in Jesus should become our “way of life” and becomes who we are in Jesus the Christ (Messiah). How could anyone not share this good news or gospel of Jesus? As we understand our new identity in Christ; and grasp Jesus as Lord, this takes us to our Freedom in Christ and Peace with God! Abide in Jesus, keep His commandments, and abide in His love so His Joy may be in you. Our walking by Faith in Jesus; results in the Glory going to God who becomes our Lord, Savior and King!
Finally, the truth of the King’s Way happening in us (God the Holy Spirit) and understanding God’s plan for mankind! Jesus in us! We are in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father. Our identity is in Jesus as we go and Make Disciples! And, serving others as we go. Jesus taught his Disciples to serve others! How can we not share this good news / gospel with others?
This gift of eternal life and truth given to us in the Word of God should set us on a Holy Spirit driven life for Jesus forever more! Eternal Life begins the moment we come to Jesus and realize Jesus paid our sin debt in full. We are to trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation! Romans 10:9-10 says: if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved: for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:13 says: whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Confession: I / “we” tend to fall down (sin) more often than not and get distracted from this main purpose and focus in life to Make Disciples and serve others.
The Word of God tells us we have a physical Birth and can have a spiritual Birth. Eternal Life begins the moment of our spiritual Birth! We are adopted into God’s family. Spiritual birth means I become a Disciple. I am a Disciple of Jesus. By spiritual Birth, I become a new creation or new person in Jesus.
What an amazing plan for mankind! We can begin living life out of a deep sense of gratitude for what the Lord has done for me / “us”! The Bible calls this the abundant life and entering into God’s rest which includes grasping God’s promises! Rest means an active life of walking by Faith in the Spirit! A Holy Spirit driven life!
The Lord desires all to grow in their Faith and realize their spiritual purpose: to Make Disciples and serve others and exercise their Faith and their spiritual gifts! True Faith in Jesus results in Eternal Life. One of the fruits and evidence of this spiritual birth will be Love. We can now love by making a choice to serve others in our Freedom in Christ! We can begin to love every person the Lord places in our path and help them see their need for Jesus.
The Bible tells us Love is a choice we make for the provision and protection of someone. We make a choice to love others and serve others. Love is not a feeling. Yes, feelings result when we make a choice to love. Yet, feelings will come and go and change based on life events and circumstances.
Billy Graham observed in all his travels talking with people: many who spoke to him had confusion about their Faith and Love. Billy Graham realized three things must be understood and kept in this order always: Facts, Faith and then Feelings. This means that the Facts: God and the Word of God must be understood correctly. In other words, rightly dividing the Word of God is foundational to our Faith in Jesus as Lord.
Praying this website will encourage those who made a choice for Jesus to become Lord of their lives: to keep moving forward in their Faith to go and Make Disciples.
This website is intended to be your website as you go and Make Disciples.
The foundations to Make Disciples must be the Bible: the Word of God. The Bible being God’s written testimony and foundation for our Faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit teaches us all these truths.
The King’s Way happening in us. The Kingdom of God beginning in us upon our spiritual birthday: Authentic Christianity. The birth of a Holy Spirit driven Life and Church!
The King’s Way! God’s plan for mankind!
John 14:6 says … I am the Way, the Truth and the LIFE. Jesus becomes our Life!
Galatians 2:20 says: I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ Lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved and gave Himself up for me.
Recommend: the Book of John, always as a good place to begin our journey with Jesus as Lord.
John 1:1 – 1:5 says it all: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:14 says: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Prayer: May the gratitude and love for what Jesus Christ has done on the cross for me / “you” continue to grow! May we embrace and receive the joy of the Lord and look forward to our new home with the Lord as shared with us in the Book of Revelation.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:1-9 says: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And, I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes: and there will no longer be any death; there will be no longer be any morning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.
And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. And He said, write, for these words are faithful and true. Then He said to me, it is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Then, one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.
The KingsWay Church … example
Constitution and By-Laws
(Adopted _________, _____, 20___)
Note: formulated over 30+ years and written over a period of 15+ years as the Lord provided understanding.
ARTICLE I – NAME, PURPOSE AND GOALS
SECTION 1 – Name
The name of this church shall be: KingsWay Church (John 14:6).
Source of Truth and Practice for the Church: The Word of God the Bible. Foundations: Ephesians 4:11-16. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Pastor-Teachers.
Importance and Purpose of a Constitution: Establishes Accountability and Order and provides a “living document” as to what the Congregation recognizes from the Head of the Church: Jesus the Christ (Messiah) and Lord who became our Savior and King forever.
This recognition and understanding God’s will for our life and Church can only happen as we individually call upon Jesus as Lord of our lives and trust in Jesus alone who becomes our Way, our Truth and our Life: A Holy Spirit driven life.
Trusting in Jesus (God the Son) by Faith alone and a Holy Spirit driven life begins immediately when we respond by Faith and receive Jesus into our lives. John 3:6 says that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of Spirit is spirit. Jesus is the gift of Eternal Life given to us by the finished and completed work of Jesus the Christ (Messiah) who died on the cross and was buried and rose again on the 3rd day (Sunday) as payment of our sin debt in full. That which is born of the Spirit results in righteousness given to us by God, the Father. God the Holy Spirit gives us a new spirit and we become a new creation.
Our new Life and new Identity is found only in Jesus Christ. A Holy Spirit driven life begins at this point of Faith in Jesus: Baptism symbolizes our identity with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus: the gospel or good news!
The Congregation becomes one Body together as the Bride of Christ and all shall have a voice recognizing the Holy Spirit in them called a vote in this Constitution.
SECTION 2 – Guiding Principles
The Centrality of the Word- Under the Godhead, the Bible is the authority for the faith and practice of the church. The teaching and precedents laid in Scripture should underlie all the church is and does. All members have a responsibility to study God’s Word for themselves and participate in ensuring that the church follows its teachings. No church can do the will of God that does not know the Word of God. (John 1:1, 2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12).
Congregational Authority- Under the Godhead and His Word, the congregation is the principal authority of the church. No one leader or group of leaders should supplant the will of the congregation. The Congregation recognizes and follows the voice and seeks the will of the Lord and expresses their recognition with a vote. (Mathew 18:7, Acts 6.5, Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2:19).
A Plurality of Elders- There is no such thing in the Bible as a Senior Pastor. From the very beginning of the establishment of elders in the local churches of the New Testament era, they were always in the plural (Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23). The people should never focus their hope on any one person but Jesus. He is the Chief Shepherd of the church (1 Peter 5:4).
The Gifting and Training of all Believers- Every believer has a spiritual gift, and many have speaking gifts. Those gifts need to be cultivated and developed. 1 Corinthians 14 provides for 2 or 3 different men to address the body at any one meeting, and there is no reason that they have to be the same 2 or 3 every week. How does the body know who can be a good Elder if they have never heard them speak? Every believer should seek to understand and fulfill their ministry. (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Anybody Can Start a Ministry- Members are encouraged to initiate ministries whenever they see a need and feel a call to meet it. The body is not dependent upon the elders to allow, begin, and run a ministry. Any member can get together with any other member to begin a ministry. However, Elders should be allowed access to the ministry to help insure its consistency with the constitution and by-laws. (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Fellowship is Ministry within the Body- The biblical basis for ministry within the body is found in Ephesians 4:16. “from whom (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV) “Joints” are the connections between individual parts of the body. These parts all work together to help the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. The church cannot be the church without fellowship. The church should be very intentional about helping its members connect with one another.
Deliberate and Intentional Evangelism- All evangelism is relationship evangelism, but within that relationship the gospel must be shared verbally. All Christians need to be trained to share the gospel within their network of relationships. (Mathew 28:18-20).
A Church Small Enough to be Family and to Develop People- In order to reflect theChurch’s commitment to the importance of ministry within the body, the church should be small enough to retain a family spirit and the ability to train its members. “Megachurches” do not sufficiently provide for this need for a broad cross section of fellowship and the development of new leadership. When the church grows beyond that point, it shall seek to form an additional church. Mathew 13:30-32, 49 a concept or thought of being more pure.
ARTICLE II – STATEMENT OF FAITH
GOD – There is one living and true God (Deut 4:35), eternally existing in three persons- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). These are one in nature and essence (Rev 4:8). However, they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, preservation, and redemption.
GOD THE FATHER – God the Father is an infinite and personal spirit (John 4:24), perfect in power (Ex 9:16), holiness (Is 6:3), wisdom (Psalm 104:24) and love (1 John 4:8). He is actively involved in the affairs of men (Prov 20:24). God answers prayer (James 5:16). He works out the events of history according to His own sovereign plan (Eph 1:11).
GOD THE SON – God the Son is Jesus Christ who has eternally existed with the Father (John 1:1). He came to earth in the flesh as the Living Word of God (John 1:14). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18) and born of a virgin (Is 7:14). He was fully God (Titus 2:13) and fully man (Heb 2:14). He was tempted in all points as we are, but never sinned (Heb 4:15). He offered Himself voluntarily to die on the cross for our sins as our substitute (Rom 5:8; Phil 2:5-8). He rose from the dead bodily and ascended to the right hand of the Father. From there He continually makes intercession for believers (Rom 8:34). He will one day return to earth in power and glory (Mark 13:26).
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT – God the Holy Spirit has eternally existed with the Father and the Son (Gen 1:2). He is a personal being with a mind and thoughts (Rom 8:27) and who both speaks with (1 Cor 2:13) and beyond words (Rom 8:26). He was active in creation (Ps 104:30). The Holy Spirit reveals and glorifies Christ (John 16:14) and applies His saving work to men (Titus 3:5). He convicts them of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) and draws them to Christ. Through Him believers are regenerated (John 3:6) and baptized into Christ’s body (1 Cor 12:13). They are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:22) from the moment of their conversion (Rom 8:9). He comforts (Acts 9:31), guides (John 16:13), teaches (John 14:26), and seals them until the day of redemption (Eph 4:30). The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to men as He wills (1 Cor 12:4-13) for the building up of the body of Christ (Eph 4:12). He is the ultimate author of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21).
THE BIBLE – The Bible is the written revelation of God to man (1 Cor 2:13; Rev 1:1). Its books were divinely inspired and without error in the original manuscripts (2 Tim 3:16). It is the final authority on all matters about which it speaks (2 Peter 1:20,21). It contains the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament (2 Pet 3:14-16).
MAN – Man was originally created in the image of God (Gen 1:26), but through his own deliberate choice sinned and brought upon himself the consequences of separation from God. This historic fall brought upon all men death and condemnation (Rom 5:12). They inherit a sinful nature and are sinners by birth, choice, and practice (Ps 51:5; Rome 3:23; Rom 2:1). As such, they are unable to please God in their natural state (Romans 6:8; 1 Cor 2:14). They are responsible for their choices and actions (Romans 14:12).
SALVATION – Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace (Eph 2:8, 9) and is not based upon any human merit (Titus 3:5) or the performance of any religious observance (Gal 5:6). It is a free gift (Rom 6:23). Christ Himself with all that He is and does is that free gift (1 John 5:11, 12). He purchased our salvation by dying on the cross for our sins (1 Cor 15:3) and rising from the dead (2 Cor 5:15). All who repent of their sins and turn to Him in faith as Lord and Savior (Mark 1:15) trusting in His finished work alone for their salvation thus receive Him and His salvation as that free gift (John 1:12). They are born again (1 Peter 1:3) and sealed until the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30). Since eternal life is a present possession (John 6:47), it is unbroken (John 10:28). Thus, true believers are eternally secure (1 Peter 1:5).
ASSURANCE OF SALVATION – All who are born again of the Spirit can be assured of their salvation from the very moment at which they trust Christ as their Savior and Lord (John 5:24). They may receive continued assurance throughout their Christian life (Heb 6:11). The Word of God (1 John 5:13), the witness of the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13), love of the brethren (1 John 3:14), and the general practice of ongoing righteousness (1 John 2:5, 6) all contribute to give the Christian this assurance.
THE CHURCH – Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, which is His body (Eph 5:23; Col 1:18). It is composed of all true believers everywhere (1 Cor 12:13). Believers are to unite together in local expressions of that body (Acts 11:22). The local church assembles regularly for worship, prayer, teaching, fellowship and the celebration of the ordinances (Acts 2:42). Christ commanded His church to proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (Mark 16:15), and then to disciple the believers by baptizing them, and teaching them to obey His commands (Matt 28:19-20).
THE ORDINANCES – Christ gave two observances to the church as ordinances to be practiced until His return. The Lord’s Supper pictures the Christian’s personal appropriation of the death of Christ for their sins (1 Cor 11:24). Water baptism pictures the identification of the believer with His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom 6:3-5). Neither are a means to salvation (1 Cor 1:17). As testimonial pictures (1 Cor 11:26; 1 Peter 3:21), they are for believers only (1 Cor 11:29).
LAST THINGS – Christ will one day return to the earth visibly and bodily (Acts 1:11). Eventually, there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked (Acts 24:15). The righteous will inherit eternal bliss, and the wicked will inherit eternal punishment (Matt 25:46).
ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
SECTION – 1 Membership Requirements
Although local church membership is not specifically mentioned in the New Testament, it is implied from its mention of accountability (Matt 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5:1-5) and organization (Phil 1:1). Those who feel called to adult membership must give their salvation testimony to the Board of Elders. All prospective members 18 years of age or older are then required to attend a class on church membership (John 5:39). They then make a profession of faith at a public meeting of the church (Matt 10:32) and are presented by the elders as candidates for membership. If they have not ever received believer’s baptism as a form of obedience, they should be baptized at this time as part of their membership covenant (Matthew 10:32, 33; 28:19, 20).
Children under the age of 18 are encouraged to make a profession of faith as soon as they have trusted Christ (Matt 19:14) and follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. When they reach the age of 18, they must take the church membership class, and will be presented to the church as new members.
SECTION – 2 Privileges of Members
All members 18 or over shall be able to vote on the business of the church. While the church may bring in those from outside its membership to minister to the body on a temporary basis, only members of the church shall be allowed to become part of the regular teaching or music ministry of the church (Eph 2:21,22; 1 Cor. 3:9-17).
SECTION 3 Responsibilities of Members
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 it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; to give faithfully of time and talent in its activities;
To contribute cheerfully and regularly, as God has prospered them, to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations; to maintain family and private devotions;
To train their children according to the Word of God;
To seek the salvation of their kindred and acquaintances;
To walk circumspectly in the world;
To be just in their dealings, faithful in their engagements, and exemplary in their conduct; to avoid all gossip, backbiting and unrighteous anger;
To abstain from all forms of activity which dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, or cause stumbling to a fellow believer or hinder the winning of a soul to Christ;
To be zealous in their efforts to advance the cause of Christ, our Savior; and
To give to Him preeminence in all things,
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 mindful of the rules of our Savior, to seek it without delay,
Upon moving, to unite with a church of like faith as soon as possible.
SECTION 4 Termination of Membership
Personal Request – A person may remove themselves from membership by their own request.
Membership in Another Church– No person shall be a member of this church and another at the same time. The church will mail a letter of membership standing if requested in order to aid in the transfer of membership to another church (1 Cor 16:3).
Prolonged Absence – A member may be removed from church membership by an unexplained absence from its regular meetings for a period of 6 month (Hebrews 10:24,25)
Church Discipline – Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit ( 5:22-23). Preventative self-discipline is the goal of church’s ministry. Restoring such self-discipline is the aim of the corrective discipline exercised by the body.
Corrective discipline should be practiced only for those offenses that are clear violations of biblical absolutes. Such practices listed in Scripture include sexual immorality, greed, idolatry, drunkenness or substance abuse, verbal abuse, swindling, idleness, gossip, and intentional divisiveness (1 Cor 5:11; 2 Thess 3:10-12; Titus 3:9-11). Church discipline is not to be practiced for differences of opinion on doctrinal or practical matters not spelled out in this constitution and by-laws. Nor is it to be carried out for differences of opinion and practice involving the personal stewardship of time and resources (Rom 14:5; 2 Cor 9:7).
Church discipline should follow the steps outlined in Matthew 18:15-17, dealing with the problem at the level at which it presents itself, making every effort to involve no one other than those already involved. Private sins are best handled privately, while those that, by their nature, have become common knowledge should be handled before the body (“actually reported” 1 Cor 5:1).
If a member of the body refuses to repent of their sin when confronted by an individual and then one or two others (Matt 18:15-16), the matter shall be brought before the elders as representatives of the church (Matt 18:17). If the offending party refuses to listen to the elders, the congregation is informed in a closed meeting of its membership. In this meeting, the congregation is instructed as to the basic facts of the situation and of the elders’ recommendation to withdraw fellowship from the offender for a specified period. This is defined by Paul as “punishment inflicted by the majority” (2 Cor. 2:6). A two-thirds vote by secret ballot is required for such action.
Though normal fellowship is withdrawn, individual members are encouraged to seek out the disciplined member with attempts to admonish, counsel, and restore them (2 Thess 3:14-15;1 Cor 5:9,11). The offender is still allowed to attend services, but not to partake of the Lord’s Supper since the Lord’s Supper is a picture of fellowship (1 Cor 10:16-17; 1 Cor 11:27). Nevertheless, the offending party is still considered to be a brother or sister (2 Thess 3:15). The goal of such discipline should be the restoration of the offending brother or sister.If, after the specified period of time, the offending party still refuses to listen to the church regarding their sin, another closed meeting of the congregation (“when you are gathered together” 1 Cor 5:4) shall be called. The congregation shall be informed that the elders recommend that the individual is to be considered as a lost person and is being removed from the membership of the church (Matt 8:17; 1 Cor 5:2, 5, 7, 13; 1 Tim 1:20). A two-thirds vote by secret ballot is required for such action. The offending party would then become a candidate for the church’s evangelistic efforts.
Those involved in church discipline should attempt to correct those overtaken in a spiritual fault with gentleness and humility (Gal 6:1; 2 Tim 2:25). Those not involved in the original sin should listen with an open mind to all sides before passing judgment (1 Cor 6:2).
ARTICLE IV – CHURCH GOVERNMENT
The church belongs to Christ (2 Cor 10:7) and He is Lord of both the visible and invisible church (Eph 1:22). The church shall therefore always endeavor to determine His will (Col 1:19). When Christ left the earth, He communicated His will for the church to the apostles through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2). Under the inspiration of the Spirit, the apostles wrote their portion of the scripture (2 Pet 1:21). Therefore, the Bible is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice for the church (Acts 20:27; 2 Tim 3:16).
Section 1- Governing Bodies and Officers
THE CHURCH CONSTITUTION
This church constitution contains the principles upon which the church is organized and shall be governed. It represents the current interpretation of the church about what the Bible says about church government. In addition to being a legal document, it is also the basis upon which individuals agree to become members of the church. All members of the church shall be bound by its provisions.
Under God, His Word and His Spirit, the congregation is the authority of the church. Each member of the body has a direct connection to Jesus, the Head of the church, and participates in its growth (Eph 4:16;Col 2:19).
The congregation of __________________ Church is an autonomous unit governing its own affairs and is not accountable to any ecclesiastical authority. The New Testament says nothing about abiding officers for the church except at the local level (Phil 1:1).
Such officers serve and lead at the direction of the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28), but the qualifications, gifting, and ability to serve and lead are recognized by the congregation (Acts 6:3, 5). Ordination represents the authority of God as it is expressed through the local congregation. Even the apostle Paul was ordained for special mission work through a local congregation (Acts 13:1-3). As such, the congregation is the authority responsible for the election, retention, discipline, and dismissal of all Elders and Deacons. They are also the final authority in admitting, disciplining, and dismissing its members (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Cor 5: 1-4).
They shall also elect the Church Moderator, its Secretary and Treasurer, and certain members of the Church Committee (1 Cor 6:4; 16:3; 1 Tim 5:20). (See the section on the Church Committee below.)
The congregation shall approve, at the annual meeting, a line item budget for the year. It shall also approve any building programs proposed by the leadership. No indebtedness shall be incurred by the church without the express approval of the congregation in a business meeting. (1 Cor 16:3).
The Board of Elders shall be responsible for the spiritual oversight of the church (Acts 20:28). Their ministry is to oversee the work of God by insuring its doctrinal and moral purity (Acts 20:28-31). Their job is not necessarily to lead or direct all the work, just to oversee it. They shall empower each member to fulfill their ministry and be good examples in fulfilling their own (2 Tim 4:5). Any junior ministerial staff shall be directly accountable to the Board of Elders.
They shall make recommendations to the Church Committee for any budgetary concern having to do with the body’s need for spiritual growth. In addition, they shall present to the congregation any proposed changes to the membership of the church either by addition, discipline, or removal.
To insure that one man doesn’t “run” the church, no one shall be an officially elected Elder until there are at least 25 members and 2 men willing to take that role. Thereafter there shall be no more than one additional Elder recognized for every 25 additional members.
Elders shall be members of the church and meet the qualifications set forth in 1Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
The office of Elder is an office and a work and not a perpetual title (1 Tim 3:1). Elders shall retain their office for a three-year term unless they are prevented from fulfilling their obligations through moving, job or family responsibilities, sickness, death, or church discipline. Elders begin their term with their election at the annual meeting.
At the conclusion of their term, if they so desire, they shall come before the congregation at the first annual meeting following their current three-year term to be reaffirmed by secret ballot. They may be reaffirmed through an affirmative vote of two thirds of the membership present at that meeting.
Any Elder who is elected in the middle of a term begins his three years at the next annual meeting.
The church may elect men from outside the church to fulfill certain roles in the church and be on the Elder Board. They shall be subject to the same rules as elders elected from within the body. The church may also elect to hire staff who will not be members of the Elder Board.
The Board of Deacons is responsible for the temporal affairs of the church (Acts 6:1-6). They shall be responsible for the decisions and administration of benevolence (Acts 6:1-2), and they shall oversee the care of the building and grounds. They shall make recommendations to the Church Committee regarding any budgetary concerns, such as building projects, to help them fulfill their ministry.
At least 1 rotating member of the Board of Deacons shall assist the Treasurer in counting the money received from all church offerings.
Deacons shall be members of the church and meet the qualifications set forth in 1Timothy 3.
Deacons shall likewise serve for three-year terms unless prevented from doing so by moving, job and/or family responsibilities, sickness, death or church discipline. Deacons begin their term with their election at the annual meeting. Any Deacon who is elected in the middle of a term begins his three years at the next annual meeting.
The Moderator shall moderate all the business meetings of the church. He shall assist all members of the congregation in bringing their concerns before the body in a decent and orderly manner (1 Corinthians 14:40). He shall vote only when his vote is needed to determine the outcome of an election.
The Moderator shall be a member of the church who is familiar with Roberts Rules of Order. Ideally, he shall not be a member of any church board or the Church committee. In the absence of such a person, someone else may serve in this capacity.
The Moderator shall be elected at the annual business meeting for a three-year term unless prevented from doing so by moving, job and/or family responsibilities, sickness, death or church discipline. A moderator who is elected in the middle of a term begins their three years at the next annual meeting.
The Treasurer shall be the custodian of the church’s funds. They shall supervise receipts and expenditures; shall render an annual statement to the membership on the financial condition of the church; and shall prepare and submit any reports required by law. They shall make the books available to any member at their request within a reasonable time period.
The Treasurer shall be a member of the church and one who can be trusted to be honest and faithful (Prov 16:11; 1 Cor 4:2). Ideally, they shall not be a member of any church board or the Church committee. In the absence of such a person, the role may be filled by someone other than a paid staff member.
The Treasurer shall be elected at the annual business meeting (1 Cor 16:3) for a three-year term unless prevented from doing so by moving, job and/or family responsibilities, sickness, death or church discipline. A Treasurer who is elected in the middle of a term begins their three years at the next annual meeting.
The Secretary is the record keeper of the church. They shall issue notice to the membership of all congregational business meetings and maintain the minutes of those meetings. They shall have charge of all papers, archives, and records; maintain an up-to-date membership roster; and shall provide reasonable access to any such records to any member in good standing.
The Secretary shall be a member of the church and ideally not a member of any board or the Church committee. In the absence of such a person, the role may be filled by someone other than a paid staff member.
The Secretary shall be elected at the annual business meeting for a three- year term unless prevented from doing so by moving, job and/or family responsibilities, sickness, death or church discipline. A Secretary who is elected in the middle of a term begins their three years at the next annual meeting.
The Church Committee represents the entire congregation in the handling of its affairs. For legal purposes, the Church Committee shall be the directors and officers of the corporation. They are responsible for the screening and nomination of its officers to the body and the proposal of its annual budget. They shall also be responsible to determine whether a quorum is present in each business meeting.
At least two months prior to the annual meeting in January, the Church Committee shall solicit names from the congregation for potential Elders and Deacons. They shall then evaluate the biblical qualifications of those individuals. They shall place in nomination at the annual meeting all the qualified names for each office from within the membership. However, only one name shall be placed in nomination for any position to be filled from outside the church membership. The Church Committee shall make recommendations to the congregation regarding any proposed change in the membership of all church boards, including its own.
Members of the congregation shall present to the Church Committee these names to be considered for nomination no later than November 30th in each election year for the following annual meeting in January. A simple majority of this board is required to put a name in nomination for election at the annual meeting.
The Church Committee shall also make recommendations to the congregation regarding the status of any paid staff. Any changes in pastoral role, hours, or compensation shall be recommended to the congregation by the Church Committee. The Church Committee shall also determine the number of Deacons needed to serve the church properly.
The Church Committee shall not dictate vision or attempt to settle disputes among the Elder or Deacon boards except to clarify the roles of the paid staff. Non-ministerial staff shall be directly accountable to the Church Committee.
The Church Committee shall also present to the congregation the annual budget for its approval. When the church reaches 100 members, it shall be responsible to secure an independent audit of the business records of the church once every 5 years, and at other times it deems necessary.
Church Committee members shall be members of the church in good standing. It shall normally consist of 7 church members, 4 from the general congregation elected by the congregation, and 1 member of the Elder Board chosen by the Elder Board and 2 members of the Deacon Board chosen by the Deacon Board. If the church shall have under 25 members, the congregation itself will serve as the Church Committee and vote together on all its concerns.
The 4 members of the Church Committee chosen from the congregation shall be elected at the annual meeting to serve a three-year term unless prevented from doing so by moving, job and/or family responsibilities, sickness, death or church discipline. A member of the Church Committee who is elected in the middle of a term begins his three years at the next annual meeting.
Section 2- Conducting the Business of the Church
A majority of the church membership constitutes a Quorum for business meetings.
THE ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
The annual business meeting of the congregation shall be held each year in the month of January. Its purpose shall be to elect the officers of the church, to approve the annual budget, and to officially remove names from the membership of the church. Other church business may also be transacted at this time. The exact date and time of the meeting is to be determined by the Church Committee and they shall so notify the congregation at least one month in advance. At that time, the Church Committee shall publish the proposed budget for the year as well as its lists of nominees for church officers. The Elder Board shall publish the names to be deleted from the church membership and the reasons for their removal.
Voting for the election of all church officers shall be by secret ballot.
Paid staff members and their relatives shall excuse themselves from the discussion of their compensation during the annual meeting.
The congregation shall vote on the candidacy for each officer nominated. Each candidate must receive a two-thirds affirmative vote of the members present to be elected to office. The number of elders elected must not exceed the ratio permitted by the constitution (see the section on Elders). Elder vacancies will be filled by those receiving the highest number of affirmative votes.
The latest revised edition or Robert’s Rules of Order shall prevail at all business meetings, except when those rules are directly contrary to this Constitution and Bylaws.
SPECIAL BUSINESS MEETINGS
Special business meetings may be called from time to time for purposes not expressly provided for in the annual meeting. Examples of such purposes include votes for the addition, hiring, and removal of paid staff, the election of elders and deacons to fill partial terms; church discipline; the initiation of building programs or other expenses not covered in the annual budget, reception of new members, and amendments to the church constitution.
Special business meetings may be called at any time by either the Elder Board or the Church Committee, provided that the congregation is notified in writing at least one month in advance of the meeting date. A written request that the Elder Board or Church Committee convene a special business meeting may be made by any of the membership that present such a request accompanied by the signatures of a majority of the membership.
ARTICLE V – AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
These by-laws may not be amended when the church membership is under 50 people. This insures a measure of stability for the original vision and the protection of any property the church has acquired.
When the church has a membership of 50 and over, any member of the church in good standing may propose an amendment to this constitution and by-laws. The member proposing the amendment is required to submit a copy of the amendment to the Board of Elders and to the Church Committee. The Church Committee shall then call a special business meeting with the required one month notice. The proposed amendment shall then be distributed to all the members for their review.
Voting on the amendment will be by secret ballot. If two-thirds of the membership approve the amendment, then the constitution and by-laws shall be revised to reflect the new changes.
ARTICLE VI – DISSOLUTION
In order to dissolve this organization, the Church Committee must present a resolution recommending that the organization be dissolved to the active membership. A proposal for dissolution may be considered at an annual or special business meeting of the active membership only after thirty-days-notice in writing is given to each member in good standing. The resolution to dissolve shall only be adopted upon receiving at least 80% of the votes by members present at such a meeting. This organization shall not be dissolved if over 20% of the members in good standing dissent.
No part of the net earnings or assets of the church shall ever incur to the benefit of any donor, member, director, or officer of the church, nor shall any private individual be entitled to share in the distribution of these assets. Upon dissolution, these assets must be distributed to one or more evangelical Christian organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as being organized exclusively for religious purposes. These organizations shall be recommended by the Church Committee to the congregation and decided upon by a majority vote during a special meeting of the church’s remaining members.