Christian Faith Church, Thomson, GA
Article I: Preamble
We, the leadership and membership of Christian Faith Church in Thomson, GA, in order to fulfill our God-ordained purpose, and to protect our church’s structure and Statement of Faith, do declare and establish this Constitution and Bylaws. We also recognize that at best this written document is a fallible human instrument, but the Bible, God’s Word, is inspired, inerrant, and infallible. Therefore, if it is ever determined by the elders/pastors that this Constitution and Bylaws are at odds or in conflict with the Bible, this document is to be amended and brought into conformity with the Word of God. It is always to be remembered that the Bible is the sole, final authority for this church, and not denominational traditions, man-made rules or past experiences.
Article II: Name of Body
The name of this body of believers shall be Christian Faith Church of Thomson, Ga. Inc., a Georgia non-profit organization.
Article III: Purpose and Mission Statements
We are motivated in all facets by our faith in Jesus Christ, attempting to serve as a reflection of God’s mercy and grace. We seek to honor the Lord in all that we do by operating Christian Faith Church, Thomson, GA in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. Every activity and speech that Christian Faith Church, Thomson, GA (hereafter Christian Faith Church) or its employees, representatives, volunteers, or members engage in shall be consistent with, and in furtherance of, Christian Faith Church’s religious purposes, both publically and privately.
CALLING – We are called, by Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit, to challenge all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Our calling includes both introduction to and encouragement to remain in a life of full devotion to Jesus Christ. (Colossians 3:17). We are charged with encouraging, equipping, serving and sustaining Christians. We do this by directly instilling our Christian philosophies, values, missions and goals in church members. Liturgical religious activities (e.g. preaching, worship services, Bible instruction, communion, baptism), as well as non-liturgical religious activities (e.g. mentorship, service opportunities, events, community involvement) all serve as methods that Christian Faith Church utilizes to instill our religious values and beliefs, both expressly and by example. Guided by Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit, non-liturgical ministries are grounded in our church Membership Policies, teachings, doctrines, Bylaws, Constitution, Articles of Incorporation, Purpose Statement, Facility Use Policy and Statements of Faith, and other documents expressly written to further Christian Faith Church’s purpose in the community and world that do not replace or in any way go against the teachings of Scripture. Therefore, the Written Statements of Faith of Christian Faith Church are subject to all of its ministerial, membership, discipline, and excision policies.
COMMUNITY – We believe that our religious activity and religious worship derives meaning in large measure from participation in a larger religious community. For this reason, individual members of our body play a large role in furthering our mission and viewpoint as a church. We exist to foster a Christ-like environment of persons subscribing to our religious beliefs and faith. Christian Faith Church is dedicated to serving and providing for its community, not simply engaging in organized worship. (Galatians 6:10). Associating with likeminded Christians reinforces Christian Faith Church’s Christian purpose and is vital to our faith’s perpetuation (1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 John 1:9-11). We are committed to being and making disciples who understand what it means to follow Jesus Christ into a life of worship, fellowship, sacrifice, service, and being led by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; John 15:16 ; Acts 1:8). Therefore, we are also called to enable and equip the uncommitted and the opposed to be fully devoted followers of Christ (Psalm 96:3; Colossians 4:5-6). Our mission as the body of Christ is to participate, share, and encourage each other toward spiritual growth (Colossians 3:16; I Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:23-25). Membership in Christian Faith Church requires a tangible commitment to the beliefs, purposes, and mission as outlined in Christian Faith Church’s Membership Policies, teachings, doctrines, Bylaws, Constitution, Articles of Incorporation, Purpose Statement, Facility Use Policy and Statements of Faith – and are therefore subject to all of its ministerial, membership, discipline, and excision policies, which are incorporated herein by reference, as if fully set forth herein.
EXPRESSION OF FAITH – Christian Faith Church intends to transmit our system of religious beliefs, tradition, Christian morals, reverence, and values. We do so by engaging in the community and individuals’ lives, acts of worship, and through all activities in which we participate. Likewise, we believe that all behavior of members and representatives of the church is communicative in nature, exemplifying and expressing our faith, both publicly and privately (1 Peter 2:12). Any member or representative who propounds a point of view contrary to our beliefs as stated in our Purpose Statement, Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, Code of Conduct, Facility Use Policy and Statements of Faith, which are incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth herein, will impair Christian Faith Church’s integrity and ability to disseminate its religious views and message (1 Corinthians 5:11-12; James 4:4).
OUTREACH OF MINISTRIES – We take very seriously the Church’s charge to be a Christian presence in a secular world (Matthew 5:14-16). Therefore, all activities that Christian Faith Church engages in are intended to further its religious purpose, as stated in our Purpose Statement. As such, all of our ministries are considered an outgrowth of the mission of Christian Faith Church to preach, teach, evangelize, and instill the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Conveying Christian Faith Church’s Christian message is at the heart of all that we do, in life, deed, word, and expression. Christian Faith Church is dedicated to serving and providing for its community, not simply to engage in organized worship. Provision of charity and community services, including but not limited to care for children, widows, and those in need, as well as, evangelism, strengthening Christian leadership, discipleship and Biblical education, primary and secondary education and Christian counseling are means of fulfilling Christian duty and providing an example of the Christ-like way of life that Christian Faith Church seeks to foster (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Titus 1:7-9; James 1:27). Therefore, all behavior of members, representatives, and volunteers of the church is communicative in nature, exemplifying the faith. Associating with likeminded Christians reinforces Christian Faith Church’s Christian purpose and is vital to the faith’s perpetuation (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Finally, the primary, exclusive, and only purposes for which Christian Faith Church is organized are religious in nature, including but not limited to conducting missions and services. Likewise, Christian Faith Church intends to disseminate, teach, and preach the Gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ, to encourage and aid the growth, nurture, and spread of Christianity, and to render Christian service. The recital of these purposes is intended to be exclusive of any and all other purposes, this Christian Faith Church being formed for religious and charitable purposes only.
Article IV: Authority
The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible and sufficient Word of God, acting as the source of authority over morality, our Christian beliefs, lifestyle and conduct. The Elders/Pastors are charged with the ministerial responsibility of Biblical interpretation and promulgating religious policy. The Elders/Pastors will determine life application, as well as, all matters relating to church theology, philosophy, Christian practice, faith, divine truth, morality, financial issues, and theological and doctrinal resolutions in accordance to the Holy Scriptures of God.
Article V: Elders/Pastors
Section 1. Definition
We believe that the New Testament makes it clear that each local church is to be led in unanimity by a plurality of godly elders/pastors, who are biologically male in gender, equal in authority (which is given to them by God), and are called by Christ to be the under-shepherds of His church. They are to oversee the care and welfare of the church. In the Bible the words “elder” (presbuteros), “bishop” (episkopos), “overseer” (episkopos), “pastor” (poimen), “shepherd” (poimen) are used interchangeably to refer to the same position of church leadership (Acts 20:17-28; 1Tim 3:1; Titus 1:5-7; 1Peter 5:1-5). The term “elder” refers metaphorically to someone who is mature, “bishop” or “overseer” to someone who administratively manages the work of an organization, and “pastor” or “shepherd” to someone who nurtures and feeds a flock of sheep. Taken together these three Greek terms, presbuteros, episkopos, and poimen, give us a composite description of church leadership. The elders or bishops or overseers or pastors of a church are to be spiritually mature men (biologically male in gender) who lead and feed God’s flock. For the purposes of this church there will be no distinction between elders and pastors.
Section 2. Responsibilities
All the activities and affairs of this church will be carried out by or under the direction of the elders/pastors, who are responsible for shepherding and having oversight of the flock. The elders/pastors shall carry out or oversee the carrying out under their authority, of the following responsibilities, in addition to any other responsibilities enumerated by these by-laws. There may be times when the elders/pastors will involve the membership of the church in decisions by asking for their input and/or advice on particular matters.
- To select, appoint, approve, hire or remove all agents, elders/pastors, worship leaders, employees, officers, small group leaders, staff, teachers, and trustees of the corporation. To prescribe such duties for them consistent with the scriptures, with law, with the Articles of Incorporation, or the by-laws. To fix the terms of their offices and their compensation, unless such compensation is for an elder/pastor who is being financially supported by the church. In such cases any person receiving compensation from the church will not be in a position to determine the nature or amount of such compensation. Under these circumstances the responsibility for fixing the nature and amount of such compensation would belong to a duly appointed committee of the elders/pastors.
- To open, utilize, and close checking and savings accounts and/or authorize others to do the same, as are required to fulfill the purposes and functions of the church as set forth in these by-laws. To borrow money and incur indebtedness, and to enter into lease or rental agreements, and/or authorize others to do the same, for the purpose and functions of the church as set forth in these by-laws, and to cause to be executed and delivered in the name of the church such vehicles of indebtedness.
- To conduct and manage the activities and affairs of the church and to make policies, procedures, rules and regulations for doing so as are consistent with the Scriptures, the articles of incorporation, civil law, these by-laws and the purpose and functions of the church.
- To carry out the ministerial functions of the church including but not limited to preaching and teaching the word, baptisms, communions, funerals, weddings and counseling.
- To grant licensure and/or ordination for ministry to biblically qualified individuals, and to revoke licensure and/or ordination in the case of biblical disqualification from ministry.
- To settle disputes arising between church members, elders/pastors, or church staff pertaining to any matter of spiritual teaching or practices, church finances, or title to property purchased with church contributions. These decisions will be reached in unanimity by the elders/pastors or the remaining elders/pastors of the church when such disputes are between members of the elders/pastors.
- To make decisions on behalf of the church. Decisions shall be reached in unanimity after prayerful consideration, and a spirit of humility, with each elder/pastor regarding one another before himself.
- To select and /or approve all curriculums for teaching, study or music used in any church related class, group, or setting.
- To give periodic reports concerning the life and activities of the church to the membership.
- The responsibilities for elders/pastors also include but are not limited to, shepherding the flock of God, leading by example, preaching, teaching, counseling, exhorting, refuting doctrinal error, confronting and dealing with unrepentant sin, caring for and managing Christ’s church, praying for the sick, appointing leadership, and appointing and approving ministries.(Acts 4:36-5:2, 20:28-35; 1Timothy 1:3-7; 1Timothy 3:1-7, 5:17; 2Timothy 4:1-3; Titus 1:5-9, 2:15; Hebrews 13:7,17; James 5:14; 1Peter 5:1-5)
Section 3. Qualifications
Each elder/pastor must be an active male member in good standing of Christian Faith Church and possess the qualifications described in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He shall be:
a) Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach (1Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7)
b) Husband of one wife; one woman man (1Timothy3:2,; Titus 1:6)
c) Temperate, sober , vigilant ( 1Timothy 3:2)
d) Sober-minded, prudent ( 1Timothy 3:2)
e) Of good behavior ; orderly, respectable (1Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
f) Given to hospitality(1Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
g) Apt to teach; able to teach; he can exhort believers and refute false teaching (1Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9)
h) Not given to wine ( 1Timothy3:3; Titus 1:7)
i) Not violent, not pugnacious (1Timothy 3:3; Titus1:7)
j) Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle (1Timothy 3:3)
k) Not a brawler; uncontentious; not soon angry or quick tempered ( 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
l) Not covetous; not a lover of money; not greedy of base gain(1Timothy3:3; Titus 1:7)
m) Rules well his own house; his children are faithful, not accused of rebellion to God (1Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:7)
n) Not a novice; not a new convert (1Timothy 3:6)
o) Has a good report or reputation with outsiders (1Timothy 3:7)
p) Not self-willed (Titus 1:7)
q) Loving what is good (Titus 1:8)
r) Just, fair (Titus 1:8)
s) Holy, devout ( Titus 1:8)
t) Self-controlled (Titus 1:8)
Section 4. Nomination, Selection and Tenure of office
The current elders/pastors may also choose to fill the office of elder/pastor by pursuing candidates who are not current members of the church. These candidates may or may not be under consideration to serve the church as a full time, financially supported minister. If such candidates are pursued they will be expected to meet the same qualifications as a member candidate, however the process for qualification will be modified as outlined in section 5. If such candidates are approved through the qualification process for service they will be presented to the church for recognition at an appointed church service, and if necessary will be presented with licensure and/or ordination.
Provided the elder/pastor meets all biblical requirements for service in that capacity, there are no required, or defined limits on an elder’s/pastor’s term of office.
Section 5. Elders/Pastors qualification process
All men being considered for elder/pastor will be evaluated for a period of not less than six months by the current elders/pastors and the congregation to determine if they meet the qualifications given in Article V, Section 3 of these by-laws.
During this time period the current elders/pastors will expect the candidate to attend all regular, special or called elders/pastors meetings at which the candidate will be evaluated on his doctrinal positions and beliefs by participating in discussion of meeting topics. There may also be time set aside at these meetings to establish further his belief in and adherence to the Bible as the final authority in all matters of life and faith, doctrinal positions, dedication to his faith, devotion to God, devotion to his family, and service and devotion to the church by direct questioning by the elders/pastors, and topical discussion among the elders/pastors. He would also be evaluated on how he meets the biblical qualifications as he is closely observed in his interaction with the membership of the church. There may also be time arranged to interview members of his family, especially his wife and children, and coworkers to further determine his ability to become a church leader in this capacity.
There would also need to be time set aside for the candidate to actively participate in teaching from the Word of God, in a group setting to evaluate his ability to teach.
If at any time during the qualification process the elders/pastors realize that the candidate is disqualified or otherwise unqualified for service to the church in this capacity, the candidate, as well as the church membership will be notified.
At the end of the evaluation period, for an additional period of 30 days, active church members in good standing will have a chance to bring any biblical reason they may have for disqualification of the candidate to the attention of the candidate and the other members of the elders/pastors. They can bring the concern to any current member of the elders/pastors at which time there will be a meeting of the member, candidate and one or more current elders/pastors to discuss the potentially disqualifying concern. If there is legitimate, biblical reason to disqualify the candidate he, as well as the church membership will be informed.
Disqualification of a candidate does not necessarily mean that he can never be reconsidered in the future by the church or the current elders/pastors for the same position. In fact the goal of the whole process would be to encourage the candidate to continue to grow in his faith and Christian walk so that any future consideration would result in qualification.
Section 5(b) Elder/Pastor qualification process for a non-member
All men being considered for elder/pastor who are currently not a member of Christian Faith Church will be evaluated for a period of not less than six months to reasonably assure he meets all qualifications as set forth in Article V, Section 3 of these bylaws.
The process will consist of the at least the following:
An intensive interview process on multiple occasions during which he will be expected to provide his views on the essential doctrinal issues and beliefs as listed in Christian Faith Church’s doctrinal statements and these bylaws.
An interview process with the church membership and elders/pastors where he is currently serving if applicable. An interview process with seminary professors and fellow students for a candidate who may still be engaged in obtaining an education or recently graduated.
An interview process with his family e.g. wife and children.
An evaluation of his teaching and preaching ability either in person or by video recorded observation.
An evaluation of any types of media usage such as blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and any published works.
At the end of this evaluation period the candidate will be brought in to meet the church membership and will be subject to a formal evaluation session at which the congregation will be able to ask questions of the candidate. At such time if any apparent biblical reason for disqualification is brought forward, the current elders/pastors will be responsible for determining if the concern merits disqualification and if so the candidate and the church will be notified.
Section 6. Removal of Elders/Pastors
Any elder/pastor may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the elders/pastors if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified(according to pertinent Scripture, including 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9), after thorough corroborating investigation by the elders/pastors (or a duly appointed committee of the elders/pastors) in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-17 and 1Timothy 5:19 and in accord with the church discipline section of these by-laws. When an elder/pastor is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from shepherding, and if he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal shall be accompanied by a public rebuke, and notice shall be made before the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service as prescribed by 1Timothy 5:20.
Section 7. Resignation
Any elder/pastor may resign effective upon giving written notice to the remaining elders/pastors, unless the notice specifies a later time for the effectiveness of such resignation. If the resignation is to take place at some future time, a successor may be selected before that time.
Section 8. Meeting of the Elders/Pastors
(a) Place of meetings:
Any meeting (whether regular or special) of the elders/pastors can be held at any place within or without the State of Georgia.
(b) Regular meetings:
Regular meetings of the elders/pastors shall be held without call or notice on the first and third Sunday of each month unless otherwise indicated by the elders/pastors. Regular meetings may be open to church members upon prior notification, unless the elders/pastors designate any meeting or portion of any meeting as elders/pastors only.
(c) Special meetings:
Special meetings of the elders/pastors may be called at any time by any member of the elders/pastors. These meetings or portions of these meetings may be designated as elders/pastors only.
Section 9. Decisions of the Elders/Pastors
Decisions by the elders/pastors shall be reached after prayerful consideration by unanimous vote in a spirit of humility, with each elder/pastor regarding one another before himself. Voting procedure is as follows:
- Vote can be cast in person at any regular or special meeting of the elders/pastors.
- Decisions concerned with calling or dismissing an elder/pastor, buying or selling real estate, or amending the constitution and by-laws, will be considered settled only after all elders/pastors agree and the vote is unanimous.
- All matters to be voted on not concerned with calling or dismissing an elder/pastor, buying or selling real estate, or amending the constitution and by-laws, can be voted on by a majority of the elders/pastors and that decision will be considered to be final by unanimous vote.
Section 10. Committees of the elders/pastors
Committees of the elders/pastors may be appointed by resolution of the elders/pastors. Committees shall consist of two or more members of the elders/pastors and have such powers as may be expressly delegated to it by the elders/pastors except in matters requiring approval of all the elders/pastors.
Article VI. Church Membership
Section 1. Purpose of the Fellowship
The congregation of Christian believers who have applied for membership and have been duly accepted shall constitute a spiritual body, united for the purposes set forth in the Articles of Incorporation and Article III of these bylaws. Membership is a covenant relationship between one professing believer and a group of other professing believers. In the fellowship each believer should seek to apply his or her spiritual gift or gifts for the building up of the other believers. (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4:1-6)
Section 2. Active Membership
Active church membership in Christian Faith Church shall be open to all persons who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior and who have been baptized. (Acts 2:37-42)
Section 3. Applications for Membership
All requests for membership shall be made to an elder/pastor. Upon request the person shall be given an application for membership, along with a copy of these bylaws and a copy of “Doctrines that We Teach”. An elder/pastor shall meet with the applicant following receipt of the application to address any questions or concerns there might be on the part of the church or the applicant. Each applicant shall affirm the bylaws of Christian Faith Church and give testimony to that fact at a meeting for prospective church members. Each application shall be reviewed by the elders/pastors or an appointed committee of the elders/pastors.
Section 4. Denial of Membership
If upon review of application for membership or after meeting with a prospective church member, the elders/pastors determine that the applicant does not confess Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, or there is lack of evidence of a godly lifestyle, membership shall be denied. This decision shall be final and there shall be no appeal to any court of that decision. A membership application may be reconsidered at a later time.
Section 5. Admission of Applicants
Applicants admitted to membership shall, if possible, present themselves at a previously designated worship service at which service applicants shall publicly affirm their membership commitment and be publicly acknowledged as church members by the congregation.
Section 6. Request for Removal of Membership
Members can request that they be removed from membership by a written request for the withdrawal of their membership or for transfer of their membership to another Bible believing church, as long as the member is not under church discipline.
Section 7. Responsibilities of Church Members
It is the responsibility of all church members to be active in the use of their spiritual gifts in the building up of the body of Christ. These responsibilities apply in particular to the congregation of Christian Faith Church in regular participation in the following areas: worship services, prayer, meeting the needs of fellow members, giving materially, nominating candidates for Deacon and elder/pastor, giving and receiving accountability, sharing the gospel with others and submitting to the Godly, loving, biblical leadership of the elders/pastors.(Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11-16, 1Timothy 1:3-5, 1 Timothy 4:13-16, 2 Timothy 2:2, 2 Timothy 2:14, 2 Timothy 4:1-2, Titus 1:9-11, Titus 3:1-2, Hebrews 13:17)
Section 8. Congregational Affirmation Process
When it is necessary to present to the church matters that the Pastors/Elders deem appropriate for congregational input, the process will be as follows:
- The church will be notified of such matters at least 7 days in advance; however the time frame for decision making can be extended by the elders/pastors.
- Each member in good standing will have an opportunity in the specified time prior to a decision being made to bring a biblical concern or objection to the attention of the elders/pastors or deacons as to why such a matter should not be approved.
- The objection or concern will be reviewed by the elders/pastors to determine the merit of the objection or concern.
- If adequate biblical objections or concerns are brought forward the matter will be rejected. Otherwise the matter will be presented to the church as approved by the church at a regularly scheduled worship service.
- Members who have not attended a worship service, bible study session, or church fellowship in two months will not be able to participate in this process. The privilege of participating in this process will not be assignable to anyone else in any manner.
Section 9. Church Discipline
(a) The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin (1Timothy 5:20), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1).
(b) Members of Christian Faith Church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with Christian Faith Church who err in doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates scripture as determined by the elders/pastors, shall be subject to church discipline, up to and including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18. Before such dismissal, however, (1) it shall be the duty of any member of Christian Faith Church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then (2) the warning church member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. The first and second warnings may occur with no specified time interval. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then (3) it shall be brought to the attention of the elders/pastors(or a duly appointed committee of the elders/pastors). If the elders/pastors( or a duly appointed committee of the elders/pastors) determine after thorough investigation in accord with all relevant scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19, that there is corroborating evidence that the erring individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the elders/pastors shall inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regularly scheduled worship service. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then (4) he or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and/or membership of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the elders/pastors (or a duly appointed committee of the elders/pastors) then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership.
(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the elders/pastors in the exercise of their discretion may proceed directly to the third stage of church discipline (informing the church so that they can collectively call the erring individual to repentance) or to the fourth stage of church discipline, (the dismissal from the fellowship and/or membership of the church) when one or more of the following have occurred:
- (i) Where the transgression and the refusal to repent have been public, i.e. openly and to the offense of the whole church (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)
- (ii) Where the disciplined party has taught or otherwise disseminated doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the elders/pastors, then chosen to disregard the direction and reproof of the elders/pastors (Romans 16:17); or
- (iii) Where the disciplined party has been warned twice to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard the warning (Titus 3;10-11)
(d) The members of Christian Faith Church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members of this church, who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraphs, forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.
(e) Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders/pastors (or a duly appointed committee of the elders/pastors), a church member, non-member regular attender, or other individual may be notified that he or she is not to be present on church premises for such a period of time as is deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of others on church premises. Such required absence may, but need not be concurrent with church discipline of that person.
(f) Separate and apart from church discipline as described in the previous paragraphs and at the discretion and approval of the elders/pastors (or a duly appointed committee of the elders/pastors), the names of any church members who have not attended a worship service, Bible study/Sunday school class session or small group meeting of Christian Faith Church for a period of six months or longer may be removed from the membership rolls.
Article VII. Other Councils and Committees
To promote efficient handling of church matters, the elders/pastors may as needed appoint various councils and committees from within its own membership, the staff, the deacons and deaconesses and from the church at large. These councils and committees shall perform tasks solely in accordance with the duties and with the powers specifically delegated to them by the elders/pastors, and remain in effect only as long as necessary to accomplish the assigned task. The general functions of the councils and committees are:
a) To bring considered recommendations to the elders/pastors concerning ministries.
b) To provide a wider base of counsel to the elders/pastors having the oversight of specific ministries.
Section 2. Deacons
Deacons shall consist of male church members in good standing possessing the qualifications described in 1Timothy 3:8-13 and shall be nominated annually by members of the church. The elders/pastors will compile, review and, at their sole discretion, confirm or disapprove each of the nominations. The elders/pastors shall post written notice on January of each year of the deacons serving that year. The men who agree to serve as deacon, will serve for a term of (1) year. The deacons shall assist the elders/pastors in caring for the physical needs of the church body, including communion and baptismal services, in the general spiritual care of the church and perform other duties as assigned by the elders/pastors. Any assigned duties of the deacons can be changed or ended at the discretion of the elders/pastors. A deacon can resign effective upon giving written notice to the elders/pastors. In keeping with I Timothy 3:8-13, a deacon shall be a man of dignity, not double- tongued, not addicted to much wine, not fond of sordid gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, first tested and found above reproach.
Section 3. Deaconesses
Deaconesses shall consist of female church members in good standing possessing the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3-5 and shall be nominated annually by members of the church. The elders/pastors will compile, review and, at their sole discretion confirm or disapprove each of the nominations. The elders/pastors shall post written notice in January of each year of the deaconesses serving that year. The women who agree to serve as deaconesses will serve for a term of (1) one year. The deaconesses shall assist the elders/pastors in caring for the physical needs of the church body, including communion and baptismal services, in the general spiritual care of the church and perform other duties as assigned by the elders/pastors. Any assigned duties of the deaconesses
can be changed or ended at the discretion of the elders/pastors. A deaconess can resign effective upon giving written notice to the elders/pastors. In keeping with I Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3-5, a deaconess shall be dignified, not a malicious gossip, temperate and faithful in all things.
Article VII: Ordination of Elder/Pastor
Section 1. Ordination
Ordination refers to the unanimous recognition by the elders/pastors of a man’s call to the ministry, preparation as a shepherd, and qualification to serve. Ordination shall be conferred for life, so long as the man continues to manifest the qualifications of the office.
Article VIII: Marriages and Weddings
We teach that a biblical marriage is between one man and one woman, and is intended for life(Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:1-12) We further acknowledge that it is God’s will for believers to enter into marriage only with other believers( 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 6:14), therefore, the elders/pastors will only conduct marriage ceremonies when they are in agreement that both individuals are professing Christians, and that there is no other scriptural reason why the marriage would be unbiblical. Since each couple is unique, each couple will undergo pre-marital counseling to the satisfaction of the elder/pastor conducting the marriage ceremony. Christian Faith Church members also have the responsibility of helping people to be successful in their marriages.
Article VIII. Other Provisions
Section 1. Records
The church shall maintain adequate and correct accounts, books, and records of its business and properties.
Section 2. Inspection of Books and Records
Every elder/pastor shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect all books and records, documents of every kind, and the physical properties of the church.
Section 3. Fiscal Year of the Church
The fiscal year of the church shall begin on the first day of January and end on the last day of December in each year.
Section 4. Dissolution
Upon dissolution of the Christian Faith Church, the elders/pastors shall cause the assets of the church to be distributed to another corporation with purposes similar to that defined in these bylaws and the articles of incorporation as amended.
Article IX. Amendments
The Bylaws of Christian Faith Church may be repealed, amended or otherwise modified, either in part or in whole, by the unanimous decision of the elders/pastors. To facilitate notice and discussion of proposed amendment(s), amendments may not be brought to a vote at the same meeting in which they are introduced. The elders/pastors shall keep a record of the amendment(s), including the date made, substance, and content, and shall announce and explain the amendment(s) to the church at a regularly scheduled worship service.
Article X: Autonomy
We believe the New Testament is consistent in its teaching on the church and that no reference is made of any of the apostles setting up ruling bodies that would govern the various churches. Instead each church is consistently referred to as individual bodies of Christ. Just as the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 saw no need to burden the gentile churches with regulations beyond those things that would not have been accepted practice in any Christian church, we take our instruction that we as a local body should govern ourselves. Therefore, Christian Faith Church is not subordinate to any other ecclesiastical body, and as long as it shall exist, it will insist on its sovereign right to control all its affairs, both spiritual and material, independently of the control of any other organization. Any affiliation it may have with any individual or group shall be deemed purely voluntary. The continuance of any such affiliation shall be subject to the unanimous decision of the elders/pastors.