Preamble

policyWe declare and establish this constitution for the purpose of preserving and making secure the principles of our faith that this local assembly may be governed in an orderly manner, consistent with the revealed will of God as taught in the Holy Scriptures.

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GCBC Bylaws – Constitution
GCBC Church Covenant

Article I: Name

Section 1. Official Name

The official name of this church is Grace Community Bible Church, Incorporated.

Section 2. Common Name

The name that will be used in public, publicity, and on written material is Grace Community Bible Church.

Article II: Affiliation

Paragraph 1.  Grace Community Bible Church maintains the right to govern its own affairs in accordance with Scripture and is independent of any denominational control.  Grace Community Bible Church will associate itself with any other groups of churches or mission endeavors, which we believe are doctrinally and practically sound.

Article III: Resolution, Vision, Commitments

Section 1.  Resolution

Grace Community Bible Church resolves, by God’s grace and providence, to be an Elder led local assembly holding to the Doctrines of Grace and the Five Solas of the Reformation, seeking to glorify God in all things by keeping Him in the center of our affections, life, ministries, and worship services. (Tit 1:5; 1 Pet 5:1-3;1 Cor 6:20; 10:31; Rom 11:36)

Section 2. Vision

Our vision consists of:

  1. Bringing glory to God and being well pleasing to Him who is the center of our worship. (Deut 6:13; Ps 66:1-4; Matt 4:10; John 4:23-24; 2 Cor 5:9; Rev 5:13)
  2. Building up the saints through expository preaching, discipleship classes and biblical counseling. (Neh 8:8; Eph 4:11-12; 2 Ti 2:2)
  3. Reaching out to the lost in, and those new to our area and surrounding communities. (Acts 1:8a)
  4. Supporting and planting new assemblies in Georgia and the United States. (Acts 1:8b)
  5. Supporting and sending out missionaries abroad. (Acts 1:8c)

Section 3. Commitments

Commitments that guide Grace Community Bible Church are The Five Solas of the Reformation and the Great Commission:

  1. We are committed to Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)- the truth that Scripture alone is our ultimate authority for worship, ministry, and life.  We are committed to an unwavering hope and confidence in God’s inerrant Word in our preaching, teaching, discipleship/counseling, and guide for ministry involvement. (Pss 19:7-8; 119:9 Prov 30:5; John 17:17; Rom 10:17; 2 Tit 3:16-17; Heb 4:12; 1 Pet 1:23)
  2. We are committed to Soli Deo Gloria (Glory of God alone)- the truth that we are to do all we do to the glory of God alone.  The pursuit of God’s glory is our passion and ambition.  We will strive to be faithful to glorify God as we keep Him at the center of all we do in corporate worship through God centered preaching, teaching, singing, giving, and in private living. (1 Cor 10:31; 1 Pet 4:11; John 4:23; Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 9:6-15; Eph 3:21; Rev 4:11; 5:9-14)
  3. We are committed to Solus Christus (Christ alone)- the truth that salvation is through Christ alone.  Christ is the sole mediator and peacemaker between God and man and there is no other.  (John 10:9; 14:6; Rom 5:1; 1Tim 2:5-6)
  4. We are committed to Sola Gratia (Grace alone)- the truth that salvation from sin and God’s wrath is by grace alone. The reason God saves any is on account of this gift of grace and rests with God alone to give and cannot be earned. (Acts 15:11; Rom 3:24; Eph 1:3-8; 2:5, 8-9;     2 Tim 1:9)
  5. We are committed to Sola Fide (Faith alone)- the truth that one is justified by faith alone.  Only through the gift of faith can one be declared innocent by God. (Rom 3:28; 5:1; Gal 3:6-11; Eph 2:8-9)
  6. We are committed to the truth that we are to participate in the Great Commission so we participate bodily and monetarily in Biblical evangelism and missions locally and abroad. (Matt 6:19-20; 28:19-20; Luke 8:1-3; 19:10; Acts 1:8; 1Cor 16:1-2; 2 Cor 9:1-15)

Section 4. Key Values

  1. A high view of God
  2. A high view of Scripture
  3. A necessity of biblical authority (Elder leadership)
  4. A necessity of sound doctrine
  5. An importance of holy living
  6. An importance of relationships
  7. An importance of outreach to non-believers

Article IV: Statement of Faith

We believe that the Holy Bible is closed and is the special written revelation of God to man.  It has dual authorship of the Holy Spirit who moved holy men of God to write the very words of God (1 Corinthians 2:7-14; 2 Peter 1:20-21).  The Bible in the original documents penned in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), infallible (Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; Romans 1:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12), and inerrant (Proverbs 30:5-6; John 17:17).  The Holy Bible, made up of 66 books, is our final authority and only rule of faith and practice (Sola Scriptura) as we interpret it under the literal, grammatical-historical method.  Because the Bible is totally sufficient for salvation, life, and godliness (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4) we reject the practice of Christian psychology and integration counseling.

We believe that there is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7) who is Sovereign over all (Psalm 33; 1 Timothy 6:15), creating all things in six literal days with each day consisting of 24 hours (Genesis 1-2; Job 33:4; Isaiah 40:28; l Colossians 1:16), infinitely perfect (Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 5:48; Revelation 4:8) and eternally existing in three distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 48:16; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).  God knows all things past, present and future. He knows all things which are possible and actual (Jeremiah 37:6-10; Matthew 11:21-24). He is at all places at all times, knowing all things continually (Psalm 139:7-10; Hebrews 4:13). He accomplishes all that He has decreed and none of His plans will be thwarted (Isaiah 46:9-10; Ephesians 1:11).  He is worthy of all praise and does all things for His glory (Psalm 106:8; Isaiah 48:11; Romans 11:36; Ephesians 1:14) and we are to do all things to His glory (1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31; Ephesians 3:21) (Soli Deo Gloria).

We believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-18).  We believe that Jesus is the eternal Word through Whom and for Whom all things were made.  He is the unique and solitary Savior in whom alone there is redemption and forgiveness of sin (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5) (Solus Christus).  From beginning to end the Bible proclaims salvation through Jesus Christ and no other.  In His incarnation–an event in historical space and time–Jesus Christ was the perfect union of the human and the divine. He was truly God and truly man (Philippians 2:6-8; Colossians 1:15-17; 2:9; Hebrews 1:2-3).  In His incarnation Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23) and without sin, remaining sinless throughout His earthly life (Hebrews 4:15; 9:14; 1 Peter 2:22).  He was crucified, died, and was buried.  On the third day, he rose from the dead, the first fruits of the redeemed (I Corinthians 15).  He ascended to the Father (Acts 1:9-10; Ephesians 1:20). He reigns as Head of the church (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18).  He will consummate the age by His physical return to earth as Lord and King (Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7; 22:20).

We believe that the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4; Hebrews 9:14), the third person of the Trinity. He convicts mankind of sin and regenerates a sinner to belief (John 3:5-6; 16:5-15; Titus 3:5-7). The Holy Spirit indwells, seals, guides, instructs and empowers the believer for godly living and service (John 14:26; I Corinthians 3:16-17; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 4:30). He guided the human writers of Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21).  He illuminates the written Word of God to a person so that he can believe and understand the Scriptures (I Corinthians 2:10-13). A believer receives all of the Holy Spirit at conversion and there is no second baptism. A believer is commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily, that is, to live under the authority of the living Word of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Hebrews 3:7-11).

We believe and teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints and that speaking in tongues (the miraculous ability to speak a foreign language without first learning that language by normal means) and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers in general through the ages (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).

We believe that God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7).  Man was created free of sin but by voluntary sin left that state and entered into a depraved condition of spiritual death (Genesis 3:1-19; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23); in consequence of which all mankind is now sinful by nature and by choice being totally depraved even from conception (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3). Man left to his own is lost in sin and unable to save himself and is under just condemnation to eternal ruin.

We believe that the salvation of sinners is all of grace through the person and work of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1-22; 2 Timothy 1:9) (Sola Gratia), who took upon Himself our nature (John 1:1, 14), yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15).  He honored the law by His personal obedience and made atonement for our sins by His death on the cross (Isaiah 53:6; Colossians 2:13-14).  Salvation is accomplished through the life, death, and glorious bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is now enthroned in heaven, where He serves as our sympathetic High Priest, the all-sufficient Savior (Hebrews 4:15; 10:11-12).

We believe that justification consists of the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life to those who believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 4:22-5:1).  We believe that justification is God declaring repentant sinners righteous, no longer condemned but innocent, based on the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1).  It is not based on any works of righteousness that man has done, but solely on the righteousness of Jesus Christ and faith alone in Him alone (Romans 3:26; 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-10) (Sola fide).  The Christian’s sin debt is paid by Christ, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the repentant believer by the grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We believe that salvation from sin to eternal life is offered freely and that it is the immediate duty of man to repent of his sin and place his faith and trust in Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:17; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19).  Repentance, like faith, is a gift from God (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25).

We believe that in order to be saved, we must be regenerated or born again.  Regeneration consists of the awakening of the heart and mind of the one that has been spiritually dead by the Holy Spirit on account of grace, so as to secure our voluntary repentance of sin and turning to Christ Jesus in faith (John 3:3-7). The evidence of regeneration is found in the changed life of the sinner who has been awakened to the grace of God and now walks in newness of life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10).

We believe that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:29-30; 9:15-18; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-3).  We believe that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; John 3:18-19).  All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44).  Election encourages humility, prayer, praise, and trust and is the foundation for Christian assurance.  As well, God’s election of sinners is compelling motivation to preach the gospel to all people (Romans 10:9-15).

We believe that true believers are eternally secure in Christ because they are preserved by the grace of God and kept from falling from a state of grace by God Himself.  Those whom God elects, He calls, justifies, and glorifies.  Not one of the saved will ever be lost from God.  Salvation is secure because salvation is a gift of the Lord (John 5:24; 6:37-50; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 28-29; Ephesians 2:8-9;Titus 3:4-7).  Being adopted as a child of God and sealed by the Holy Spirit grants security for the believer (Ephesians 1:5; 4:30).

We believe that Christians should separate themselves from sin.  Out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and not bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior.  We believe that God commands us to be separate from any association with sinful practices, or that, which is not consistent with scriptural truth.  Believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ seeking to be holy as He is holy (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 1:14-16).

We believe that all who place their faith in Christ Jesus are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one spiritual body, the Church, of which Christ is the head (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18).

We believe that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament, and that members of the one spiritual body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; 1 Corinthians 11:18-20;  Philippians 1:1; Hebrews 10:25).

We believe that Christ is the supreme authority for the church.  He is the head of the church, and church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through Christ (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18).

We believe that the biblically designated office serving under Christ and over the spiritual well being of the church assembly are Elders (men, who are also called bishops, overseers, and pastors). They are to lead with authority as servants of Christ, and the congregation is to be submissive to their biblical leadership (1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17).  Deacons (also men) serve under the authority of the Elders and minister to the physical needs of the church.  Both Elders and Deacons must meet the biblical qualifications (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9).

We believe in discipleship and mutual accountability to one another, as well as the need for discipline of sinning members (Matthew 18:15-20; 28:19-20).

We believe that the purpose of the church is to glorify God, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and to be a pillar and support of the Scriptures (Ephesians 3:21; 4:11-16; 1 Timothy 3:15).

We believe that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Christian baptism by immersion is the testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Lord and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life.  It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:38-42; Acts 8:36-39; Romans 6:1-11).  The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should always ensue serious self-examination.  We believe that, the elements of communion are representative of the flesh and blood of Christ (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:23-32).

We believe that members of a local assembly should be faithful in discipleship, worship, evangelism, missions, financial stewardship, and faithfully attend the services of that assembly (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:1-15; Hebrews 10:25).

We believe that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin.  He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator, by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Luke 10:18), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-15).  Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man, the prince of this world (Ephesians 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8) who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; Romans 16:20; Hebrews 2:14-15), and he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire  (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

We believe that at death the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23), that there is a separation of soul and body, and that for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6) when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (1 Corinthians 15:35-44; 50-54).  Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men; the saved to life eternal (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11; 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14) and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment in the lake of fire and hell (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; 2 Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:13-15).

We believe that the church will be lifted from the earth to meet the Lord in the air (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 5:9) before the seven years of tribulation described in Daniel as the one week (Daniel 9:24-27).  After the seven years of tribulation Jesus Christ will bodily and visibly return to the earth with His saints to rule for one-thousand years (Revelation 20:1-7) as King of kings and Lord of lords (Matthew 24:27, 37-39; Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-16).  Afterward will be the Great White Throne Judgment and when the saints will occupy the New Earth and New Jerusalem that will come down from the New Heaven (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-27).

We believe that the saved will ultimately enter the eternal state of glory with God and will dwell forever in the heavenly city, where they will enjoy fellowship with God and one another forever (John 17:3; Revelation 21, 22).  Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father, that in all spheres the triune God will reign and be praised (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

As an assembly committed to the Doctrines of Grace, this is a general Statement of Faith for Grace Community Bible Church.  This statement expresses our key doctrines, which all members must submit to, and which all Elders and Deacons must affirm and teach.  All teaching ministries at Grace Community Bible Church will support this Statement of Faith.

Article V: Church Covenant

Having, as we trust, been brought by Divine Grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other to bring Him glory.  We will strive to

  • work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Psalms 133:1; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 2:2-3)
  • walk together in brotherly love, as becomes the members of Grace Community Bible Church; exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require. (Romans 12:10; 15:14)
  • be consistent and faithful to attend worship services and not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 6:18)
  • endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends. (Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 1:28-29; Titus 2:7)
  • rejoice at each other’s happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows. (Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2)
  • seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life. (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:4; Philippians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; Titus 2:11-12; 1 Peter 1:14-16)
  • work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in Grace Community Bible Church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-3; 9:6-7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 5:17-18)
  • if we move from this place, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. (Hebrews 10:25)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.

Article VI: Membership

Section 1. Becoming a Member

Paragraph 1. Believing that church membership is important to the health of the local church and the individual believer, Grace Community Bible Church will maintain an active membership roll.

Paragraph 2. Membership in this local church shall be open to anyone who professes personal faith in Christ for his/her eternal salvation and who signifies this by a commitment to holy living and water baptism (by immersion) after conversion. No one shall automatically become a member of this local church by mere transfer of letter or statement.

Paragraph 3. The person desiring membership in Grace Community Bible Church should make request to the Pastor or other designated church leader. Upon making such request the person shall be given pertinent written information concerning the doctrine and policies of Grace Community Bible Church. Each person requesting membership shall agree to complete a new members training class, subscribe to the Statement of Faith of Grace Community Bible Church, complete a membership application, be willing to have their previous church and pastor contacted by a leader of Grace Community Bible Church, and indicate support for the doctrine, policy, and general direction of the church. Each candidate for membership will share his/her personal testimony of faith in Christ with an Elder or designated leader. After fulfillment of the above requirements, and with the support of the Elders, this person will be presented to the whole congregation for affirmation and membership. The applicant shall publicly affirm his/her membership commitment by signing the Church Covenant and be publicly acknowledged as a member of Grace Community Bible Church.

Section 2. Responsibilities of Members

Paragraph 1. Members shall seek to exercise their spiritual gifts for the mutual benefit of all the church body and shall submit to the loving leadership of the Elders.

Paragraph 2. Members of Grace Community Bible Church must be willing to live and serve according to the Bible. No member of Grace Community Bible Church may have a teaching ministry contrary to the doctrinal positions of the church.

Paragraph 3. Members are responsible to be diligent in the study of Scripture, prayer, faithful in worship, active in evangelism, faithful in giving, diligent in keeping the spirit of the Church Covenant and submissive to spiritual leadership. Each member will be responsible to do his/her part in the “work of service” (Ephesians 4:12; 1 Peter 4:10-11). This calls for regular attendance and participation in the life and services of the church, including contribution of financial support and willing use of spiritual gifts in the work of the ministry (Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Corinthians 8; 1 Corinthians 9).

Section 3. Meetings of the Membership

Meetings of the membership shall be called by the Elders to share pertinent information about various needs in the church body and to overview the status of the various ministries of the church. This could include matters pertaining to the Constitution and Bylaws, the call and dismissal of full time staff, the acquisition or disposition of church property, the annual budget, and other such matters. The Elders will use wisdom and discretion in determining when such meetings will be called, and which items should be discussed if any at such meetings. The Elders will give at least one-week notice of such meetings. In meetings where the Elders determine that a congregational vote would be wise and helpful or for subject matters described in Article X: Property Rights and Article XI: Bylaws and Amendments, those eligible to vote will be at least 18 years of age, active in church attendance, not be under disciplinary action, and be in general good standing with Grace Community Bible Church.

Section 4. Removal from Active Membership (Non-Disciplinary)

Dismissal from membership of Grace Community Bible Church shall be made after the Elders give due counsel and consideration. Such a dismissal or removal from the membership roll shall be made for the following:

A. Transfer of Letter

Any member in good standing may request that a letter of membership be transferred to another fellowship of like faith. No letter will be granted to a member who is under the corrective discipline of this church, or to a member who seeks to transfer to a church which, based on the judgment of the Elders, is not loyal to Christ and His Word.

B. Non-Letter Transfer

Any member who states they will be attending elsewhere or unites with another church without request for a letter of recommendation will be removed from the membership.

C. Personal Request

Any member who requests that his/her name be removed from the membership roll shall be dismissed after counsel from the Elders.

D. Physical Death

When a member dies, his/her name will be removed from the membership roll.

Section 5. Disciplinary Removal from Membership

A person may be removed from the membership for any of the following reasons:

A. Inactivity/Inappropriate Absenteeism

Paragraph 1. In being part of a local body of believers, it is the responsibility of each member to be faithful in attendance and participation in the meetings and ministries of the congregation unless hindered by illness or other providential circumstances. To be lax or indifferent toward faithful participation will indicate a need for admonition. (Hebrews 10:25)

Paragraph 2. It is the responsibility of the Elders to oversee the regularity of participation and to examine the possible reasons for inactivity. If inactivity is consistent without adequate reason, the Elders or designated persons shall exercise every reasonable effort to reclaim to this fellowship those who have absented themselves. Every reasonable effort toward redeeming restoration as well should be exercised by the church. If there is not an appropriate response from the individual, then the Elders will ultimately remove that person from official membership. (See Article VIII: Church Discipline, Section 2)

Paragraph 3. A member of Grace Community Bible Church who shall willfully and without plausible reason demonstrate a lack of commitment to the attendance of the services of this church for a period of three months shall be moved to an inactive membership roll. If there is a renewed commitment to faithful church attendance then, after counsel, the inactive member shall be returned to an active membership roll. If there is no consistent, renewed commitment to faithful church attendance then, after a period of three months on the inactive membership roll, they shall be removed from membership at Grace Community Bible Church. Notice will be given to the individual and to the church of such action. The Elders will give oversight to this process and determine what constitutes lack of faithfulness regarding church membership.  No person on the inactive membership roll may participate in any church voting procedure.

B. Continuous Sinful Conduct and/or Erroneous Teaching

When a member continues to knowingly ignore the commands or prohibitions of Scripture in daily walk or teaching, so that his/her life or erroneous teaching continue to hinder the peace of the church or its testimony, the Elders may recommend the withdrawal of fellowship and/or termination of membership of the offending member. This shall be done following the guidelines in Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Corinthians 5:3-5, 12-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15. When a member’s actions lead to the regrettable obligation of removal from membership, this action will be based on the agreement of the Elders. The Elders will exercise their judgment and communicate this to the congregation. (See Article VIII: Church Discipline)

Section 6. Re-application for Membership

If a former member chooses to apply for membership, he/she may do so according to the general requirements for membership. If he/she previously left the church in good standing he/she will not be required to enroll in the new members class. The person will, however, be required to meet with a designated leader in order to be updated and instructed as to the doctrine, policy, and direction of the church. In cases of corrective discipline, it is recognized that the goal of all discipline is a holy walk under the lordship of Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word. The right to withdraw a member from fellowship is in harmony with the teachings of the Bible and is balanced with a call to restore such persons who have given satisfactory evidence of repentance (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11). When a person gives such evidence, the Elders shall communicate to the entire church that the person has been restored to full membership.

Section 7. Non-Resident Membership

Paragraph 1. There will be no status of non-resident membership in Grace Community Bible Church except in rare cases of being confined to a personal care facility or being homebound. Students, military personnel, etc. are still considered resident members of Grace Community Bible Church subject to general membership guidelines, yet should be active in worship services where they attend school or serve.

Paragraph 2. When a member of Grace Community Bible Church relocates to another area and can no longer actively participate in the attendance and ministry of Grace Community Bible Church it is expected that they will join a fellowship of like faith and practice in the area to which they have moved. It is the responsibility of the member who has relocated to inform Grace Community Bible Church of their new church membership. After a period of six months, the non-resident member will be removed from the membership roll of Grace Community Bible Church.

Article VII: Church Government, Leadership, and Officers

Section 1. The Chief Shepherd

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd of this congregation. It is before Him that all other leadership must bow (Matthew 23:8-11; Ephesians 1:22-23; 1 Peter 5:4, Colossians 1:18). He communicates His will for the church to His people through the Bible. He shepherds the flock through the leaders of the church to whom He has given specific gifts.

Section 2. Elders

A. General Statement

Paragraph 1.  In its operation, godly men called Elders will govern the church.  These shall be men in whose lives the working of the Holy Spirit is evident, who have given a worthy witness of the authority of Christ in their lives and who have met the qualifications given in the Scriptures.

Paragraph 2.  Authority for the day-to-day ministry will reside in the hands of the Elders whether in full-time compensated service or otherwise. The work of Grace Community Bible Church will then be conducted under the oversight of the Elders. The Elders will be responsible for the oversight and government of the church as examples to the flock of God, as those who must give an account to God. (Acts 20:28-37; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17-22; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-5) The Elders are to act in a manner well pleasing to God as examples worth following in Christ Jesus, recognizing that Christ is the head of the Church.

Paragraph 3.  The Bible does not specify how many Elders a local congregation should have.  The Scriptures do give qualifications that must be met before one can be an Elder.  The best situation is a group of godly men serving as Elders.  However, as with Titus on Crete, there may not be a plurality of elders until there are qualified men who aspire leaving perhaps only one to give oversight (Titus 1:5-9).  We believe that worse than not having a plurality of Elders is having a plurality of unqualified Elders.

B. Qualifications of Elders

Each Elder must be an active member of Grace Community Bible Church and possess the qualifications given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

C. Responsibilities of Elders

The Elders shall be responsible for:

  1. Exercising a general oversight of the church, the flock of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-2; 1 Peter 5:2-3).
  2. Showing forth a consistent study of and ability to teach the Word of God (1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9).
  3. Be effective stewards over their entrusted ministry (Titus 1:7).
  4. Give authoritative leadership to the church (1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17).
  5. Shepherd the church of God by giving diligent labor, caring leadership, and guided counsel in the Word (Acts 20:28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
  6. Exercise pastoral care (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15; James 5:14), and hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).

In general, the responsibilities of the Elders include teaching, shepherding, overseeing, ruling, setting a godly example, and in humility, demonstrating love for Christ and love for each member of the church. The primary concern for the elders in the church is spiritual leading, feeding and protection. Among the Elders will be the Pastor-Teacher who serves as the primary preaching elder.

D. Selection and Ordination of Elders

1. Selection of Elders

Paragraph 1.  Determination of a man’s call to the office of Elder by the Holy Spirit will be made on the basis of the scriptural qualifications, prayer and godly counsel. The Elders will determine and submit to the congregation names of members of the congregation for the office of Elders. The congregation will be given a period of twenty-one days to respond in writing to the Elders if there is any biblical basis for any nominee not to be ordained as an Elder.

Paragraph 2.  Prior to presentation to the congregation, the nominees will have been interviewed by the Pastor-Teacher and Elders to discuss desire (1 Timothy 3:1) and if they are qualified (1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:22).  In the event of a response from a member of the congregation that a nominee is not qualified, the Elders shall review the response with the nominee and the writer of the response in order to determine the facts and possible reason for disqualification raised by the writer of the response.

Paragraph 3.  All Elders and those in consideration to become Elders must be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith and Constitution of Grace Community Bible Church (Philippians 2:1-2).

Paragraph 4.  After the passage of the twenty-one days and the satisfactory resolution of any issues as determined by the Elders, the Elders shall proceed with the ordination of the nominee.

2. General Considerations

Paragraph 1. This is to be a prayerful process based on biblical principles trusting the Lord to rise up biblically qualified men.  Elders will be added as the Lord provides them (1 Corinthians 12:11, 18).

Paragraph 2. In no way is this system of church government designed to act in a dictatorial manner (1 Peter 5:1-4).  If there is ever a question or a disagreement with the direction that the Elders are leading the church, any person with a question or objection should submit such in writing and, if need be, in person to the Elders. The question or objection is to be carefully discussed, prayed over and handled with the utmost sensitivity to the working of the Holy Spirit in every believer within the body of Christ. After prayer, counsel, and with sensitivity, the Elders will then answer said question and/or objection and make any needed decisions. The process should always be handled in love with concern for the will of God, the glory of God, the work of the Holy Spirit and the unity of the body.

Paragraph 3.  Elders will strive to effectively communicate with the church body.  Before major decisions, the Elders will give the church a period of time to respond and/or appeal. This period of time will be determined on a case-by-case basis by prayer and consideration of the circumstances at hand before the Elders decide.

3. Initial Ordination of Elders

Those selected and approved shall be ordained as Elders to serve in Grace Community Bible Church. The ordination shall follow the teaching of Scripture concerning the visible “laying on of the hands of the Elders.”

E. General Council of Elders

Paragraph 1. The totality of Elders shall constitute the General Council of Elders who are commissioned to oversee the church under the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:4). The General Council of Elders shall prayerfully have unanimous agreement of all in attendance in all matters since we believe the Holy Spirit guides with oneness of mind (Acts 15:1-29; Philippians 2:1-2). A majority of Elders currently serving shall constitute a quorum. In matters of compensation or discipline of an Elder, the Elder in question shall abstain.

  1. The Pastor-Teacher (in some local churches called the Senior Pastor or the Preaching Pastor) acts as the Chairman of the General Council of Elders. In case of his inability to attend or to execute his duty as Chairman, he will appoint a substitute from among the General Council of Elders.
  2. The Pastor-Teacher is given the option, if he chooses, to appoint a Chairman of the General Council of Elders so that he may be relieved of duties that might hinder the careful attention of his preaching responsibilities.
  3. In the case of a need for new Elders or for the substitution of existing Elders, the Chairman of the General Council of Elders shall appoint other Elders to serve with the Chairman as an Elder Nominations Council. The Council shall compile a list of qualified nominees for the office of Elder. Members of the church are free to submit the names of recommendations for consideration for the office of Elder. The Elders Nominations Council will determine which names if any shall be placed on the nominations list to be sent to General Council of Elders. The Council shall review and interview nominees regarding their desire to serve and their qualifications (as previously mentioned in D. Selection and Ordination of Elders 2. General Considerations). The Elder Nominations Council shall receive completed questionnaires and testimonies from each nominee as part of the review process. This Council will then submit the names of those deemed qualified to the General Council of Elders, who, on approval, will inform the congregation of such nominations and allow the congregation a period of twenty-one days to respond in writing to the General Councilof Elders if there is any biblical basis for any nominee not to be ordained as an Elder. In the event of suchresponse from a member of the congregation, the procedure in D. Selection and Ordination of Elders:General Considerations paragraph 2. will be followed. If the slate of nominees (or nominee) is affirmed by the Elders, the newly elected Elder(s) shall assume office following ordination.
  4. Any Elder may be disciplined by a decision of the General Council of Elders. This shall be done within the confines of 1Timothy 5:19-20. Any Elder may be removed from office if he becomes physically incapacitated, spiritually unqualified, is no longer doing the work of an Elder or if his inability to serve is established in the minds of the remainder of the General Council of Elders.
  5. The staff of the church may or may not be Elders of the church. Being paid staff does not automatically render a person as an Elder. All who serve as Elders must be qualified according to Scriptural qualifications. Paid staff, if appointed as Elders, will be of equal authority with non-paid Elders and employment will be a matter of separate and distinct consideration. A paid member of the staff may cease to be an employee of the church but potentially remain as an Elder and an unpaid Elder may become a member of the staff and receive commensurate compensation for specific services rendered.

Paragraph 2. A full-time staff Elder will be held accountable to the General Council of Elders just as are all unpaid Elders, without distinction.

F. Meetings

The Elders will meet as often as necessary to carry on particular duties and training.

G. Accountability

Paragraph 1. The General Council of Elders is a self-disciplining body with members accountable to one another. (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Timothy 5:19-20). Each Elder is under the oversight of the General Council of Elders and subject to both formative and corrective discipline as are all members of the church.

Paragraph 2. The General Council of Elders will report to the congregation on the ministries of the church at least once a year.

H. Tenure of Service

No limit is placed upon the time that an Elder may serve. Each member of the General Council of Elders is encouraged, however, to take a sabbatical for study, rest, travel, etc. as the General Council of Elders so establishes. Each Elder must serve and not just attend meetings. Each must be active in ministry to remain an Elder.

Section 3. Deacons

A. General Statement

The New Testament teaches the ministry of both Elders and Deacons in the local church. Deacons are those who render service in the local church. As distinct officers in the local church they are mentioned in addition to the Elders (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). The government of the church rests upon the Elders (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4) while the Deacons give needed assistance in the various ministries of the local body of believers (Acts 6:1-3).

B. Qualifications of Deacons

The qualifications of Deacons are detailed in 1Timothy 3:8-13.

C. Responsibilities of Deacons

The Deacons shall assist the Elders so the Elders are able to shepherd the saints.  The Deacons will give aid in the general needs of the church, and perform other duties as assigned by the Elders.

D. Tenure of Service

No limit is placed upon the time that a Deacon may serve.

E. Nomination of Deacons

Paragraph 1.  The Elders will determine and submit to the congregation names of members of the congregation for the office of Deacon. The congregation will be given a period of twenty-one days to respond in writing to the Elders if there is any biblical basis for any nominee not to be ordained as a Deacon.

Paragraph 2.  The nominees will be interviewed by the Elders to discuss their qualifications (1 Timothy 3:8-13) prior to their presentation to the church. In the event of a response from a member of the congregation that a nominee is not qualified, the Elders shall review the response with the nominee and the writer of the response in order to determine the facts and possible reason for disqualification raised by the writer of the response.

Paragraph 3.  All Deacons and those in consideration to become Deacons must be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith and Constitution of Grace Community Bible Church (Philippians 2:1-2).

Paragraph 4.  After the passage of twenty-one days and the satisfactory resolution of any issues as determined by the Elders, the Elders shall proceed with the ordination and affirmation of the nominees.

E. Meetings

The Deacons will meet as often as necessary to carry on particular duties and training.  These meetings may or may not include the Elders.

Section 4. The Role of Women in the Local Church

Paragraph 1. The place and service of women in the New Testament is evident as one reviews the Gospel records (Luke 1:26-56; 2:36-38; 8:2-3; Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40-41), the account of the early church (Acts 1:14; 5:14; 9:36; 12:12; 16:14; 17:34; 18:2) and the epistles (Romans 16:1, 3, 6, 13, 15; 1 Corinthians 1:11; Philippians 4:2-3). The Scriptures show that women played an active part in the life of each congregation.

Paragraph 2. In Galatians 3:28, Paul points out that “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” There is a spiritual equality before the Lord. Balanced with that is a distinction in the roles of men and women in the ministries of the local church. We believe that women have a tremendously important responsibility within the context of the church and that her primary ministry and work is in her home. (1Timothy 5:9-10; Titus 2:3-5; Proverbs 31:10-31)

Paragraph 3. The Bible places a high and holy calling on Christian women (1 Timothy 2:15; Proverbs 31:10-31). Women are made in the image of God and are created by God to glorify Him by being a helpmate to her husband if married (Genesis 1:27; 2:20-24; 1 Corinthians 11:8-9). The Scripture reveals to us as well that women are to order their appearance with proper fitting clothing being modest and discreet without flaunting wealth (1 Timothy 2:9-10).  In the context of the church, it is not permissible for women to teach men or have authority over men. This testifies of God’s order in creation. Therefore, the mandate is not based on culture, but creation as well as the Word of God (1 Timothy 2:9-15; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:22). We believe, therefore, that godly women who are members of Grace Community Bible Church can serve in a variety of very important ministries including teaching other women, teaching children, serving on ministry teams, ministering to Christians in a variety of ways, evangelizing the world as all Christians are called to do, being examples of hospitality, etc. We do not believe that it is the role of women to teach or have authority over men in the church. Therefore, at Grace Community Bible Church we respect and appreciate the tremendous contribution of godly women, but do not permit women to teach in a setting where they would have authority over men or serve as Elders or Deacons.

Paragraph 4.  Any staff position will be in keeping with 1 Timothy 2:12-15 and not hinder her ministry to her family.  The staff member will be accountable to an Elder in charge of that particular area of ministry and the Pastor-Teacher.

Paragraph 5. In the Pastoral Epistles, we find the characteristics of widows who have provision made for them by the church.  This reveals the importance of these widows in the local church and serves as an example of the kind of care and concern widows and others in need are to receive in this church (1 Timothy 5:3-16).

Section 5. Church Staff

A. Pastor-Teacher

1. The qualifications of the pastor are those given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The Pastor-Teacher (Preaching Pastor) must be spiritually and intellectually qualified to lead the church as an under-shepherd of God, to preach, train, and provide leadership to Grace Community Bible Church. The Pastor-Teacher must be a member of this church on the acceptance of his call.

2. Responsibilities

Paragraph 1. The responsibilities of the pastor shall be:

A. to earnestly carry on a preaching, teaching, and training ministry, with the aim of bringing each member to a place of spiritual maturity and fruitfulness, and to a place of spiritual harmony with the rest of the church body;

B. to be an example in Christian living and dedication;

C. to oversee the administering of the ordinances;

D. to serve as Chairman or Chairman Ex Officio of the Elders as desired, and by virtue of his office to serve as Ex Officio member of all the church boards, ministry councils, task forces, committees, groups. The Pastor will not serve on ministry councils in times related to discussion and decisions regarding the Pastor’s compensation;

E. to endeavor to fill the pulpit on a regular and consistent basis. In times of absence, the Pastor-Teacher will determine who will fill the pulpit unless he delegates that responsibility to the General Council of Elders.

Paragraph 2. All members, Deacons, and Elders shall encourage, respect, and support the office of the Pastor-Teacher (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13; 1Timothy 5:17-18; Hebrews 13:17).  In order to aid him in carrying out his ministry, the church will encourage him to make as a priority of his time the ministry of the Word and prayer. He is to be faithful in preparation that he may accurately teach the Scripture. The church is to serve alongside of the Pastor-Teacher doing the work of the ministry that he may give himself wholly to the ministry of the Word.

Paragraph 3. The Pastor-Teacher shall serve for an undesignated period of time. He shall give three months notice to the church through the General Council of Elders if he decides to resign. The General Council of Elders shall give the Pastor-Teacher three months notice in case the church determines for biblical reasons that his ministry at Grace Community Bible Church should be terminated.

Paragraph 4. In either case, both the church and the Pastor-Teacher should handle the matter humbly, prayerfully, and in love. Both the Pastor-Teacher and the church should be sensitive to the needs of the other. By mutual consent, the three month period may be lengthened or shortened.

3. Calling a Senior Pastor

Paragraph 1.  In the pursuit of a new Senior Pastor, the decision to call is made by the unanimous decision of the Elders. The candidate should be carefully examined and a full background check as to his character, integrity and academic credentials should be made. He should be questioned in depth regarding his biblical knowledge, theology and questions related to practical situations regarding issues in the church, counseling, etc. He must affirm and be willing to submit to the Statement of Faith and Constitution of Grace Community Bible Church. The congregation will be given a period of twenty-one days to respond in writing to the Elders if there is any biblical basis for any nominee not to be called as Pastor-Teacher. In the event of such a response from a member of the congregation, the Elders shall review the response with the nominee, and, if necessary with the writer of the response in order to determine proper ruling of the issues raised by the writer. After the passage of the twenty-one days and the satisfactory resolution of any issues as determined by the Elders, the Elders shall proceed with the call of the Senior Pastor.

Paragraph 2.  If there is not a General Council of Elders when the previous Pastor-Teacher leaves, a Pastoral Search Committee from the active members of Grace Community Bible Church will be created to carry out the pursuit and examination of a candidate.  If no Elders exist and a Pastoral Search Committee is created, the candidate must receive three-fourths a yes vote from the active members of Grace Community Bible Church.  Upon his call and acceptance to serve as the Pastor-Teacher of Grace Community Bible Church, the church will move back into Elder rule and the Pastoral Search Committee disbanded.

B. Staff Elders, Ministerial Staff and Support Staff

1. Qualifications of Staff Members

Paragraph 1. A staff Elder must meet the qualifications of an Elder given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. In addition there must be evidence of a call to a specific ministry with the significant spiritual gifts and adequate training needed to fulfill the task to which he has been called.

Paragraph 2. Staff Members, having acknowledged and exhibited a call and desire for the ministry, must meet the spiritual qualifications of a Deacon listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 since those qualifications relate to service in the local church body.

Paragraph 3. Secretarial/Administrative and other support staff must be faithful to Christ and the church (including regular attendance) and be growing in their knowledge of and application of Scripture. There must be nothing in their lives that would bring reproach on the cause of Christ and this local church.

2. Responsibilities of a Staff Member

Each Staff Member will be responsible to fulfill their calling to specific ministry as given by the Pastor-Teacher and in conjunction with both the particular Ministry Council with which he or she serves and the General Council of Elders. All staff members are directly responsible to the Pastor-Teacher.

3. Calling a Staff Member

Under the leadership of the Pastor-Teacher the church may call additional ministerial staff and support staff as needed to serve in the ministries of the church. Support staff, including secretarial/administrative staff may be added as deemed necessary by the Pastor-Teacher with the approval of the General Council of Elders. Ministerial staff positions are selected by the

Pastor-Teacher in conjunction with the General Council of Elders and presented to the entire congregation. The congregation will be given a period of twenty-one days to respond in writing to the General Council of Elders if there is any Biblical basis for the nominee not to be called. After the passage of the twenty-one days and the satisfactory resolution of any issues as determined by the General Council of Elders, the said person will be part of the church staff.

4. Compensation

The General Council of Elders will determine the compensation of any staff member. This will be done prayerfully with an attitude towards generosity, with utmost sensitivity towards the one to be compensated (Luke10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:14; 1 Timothy 5:17).

Article VIII: Church Discipline

Section 1. Formative Discipline

Every Christian and church member is to walk under the discipline of the Lord Jesus and His Word (His instruction, direction, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Mutual submission to one another in the reverence of Christ (Ephesians 5:21) is a part of that discipline. Along with that, God has called the church to submission and obedience (1 Corinthians 16:16; Hebrews 13:17) to the elders He has placed over His church. This formative discipline is part of the holy walk He has commanded for each true believer and for the church as a whole. God readily supplies His grace to those who are submissive and obedient to Him and His Word and He resists those who proudly resist His leadership (1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6). Part of His work is both formative and corrective discipline within His church.

Section 2. Corrective Discipline

Paragraph 1. When a member of this church fails in an area of formative discipline it may be necessary for the elders and this church body to apply corrective discipline as instructed by God in His Word.

Paragraph 2. All corrective discipline will be considered and exercised within the General Council of Elders and this Council will determine whether a matter is to be brought before the church body for action.

Paragraph 3. Members in the early churches were subject to confrontation for reasons such as, but not limited to: unwillingness to engage in work (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15), divisiveness in the church (Romans 16:17-18; Hebrews 12:15; Titus 3:9-11), sexual immorality, malice, wickedness, swindling, covetousness, idolatry, reviling, drunkenness (1 Corinthians 5:1-13), false teaching (Acts 20:28-30; 1 Timothy 1:3, 20), and general sinful conduct (Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1).

Paragraph 4. Members of Grace Community Bible Church are expected to conduct their lives in accordance with biblical standards of holiness as they grow to become more like Christ. When a member knowingly ignores the direct commands and prohibitions of Scripture, he shall be dealt with according to the principles of discipline and restoration found in such passages as Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Matthew 7:1-5; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8.

Paragraph 5. Inactivity/Inappropriate Absenteeism. In being part of a local body of believers, it is the responsibility of each member to be faithful in attendance and participation in the meetings and ministries of the congregation unless hindered by illness or other providential circumstances (Hebrews 10:24-25). To be lax or indifferent toward faithful participation may indicate the need for admonition concerning one’s faithfulness to the local church. (See Article VI, Section 5.A)

Paragraph 6. It is the responsibility of the Elders to oversee the regularity of participation and to examine the possible reasons for inactivity. If inactivity is consistent without adequate reason, the Elders shall exercise every reasonable effort to reclaim to this fellowship those who, for one reason or another, have absented themselves from the fellowship of the congregation. Every reasonable and biblical effort toward redeeming restoration must be exercised by the Elders and church members. If there is not appropriate response from the individual, then the Elders may remove such a person from membership. Such a person removed will not have membership privileges.

Paragraph 7. Withdrawal of Fellowship. When a member continues to knowingly ignore the commands or prohibitions of Scripture in daily walk or teaching so that his/her life and/or erroneous teaching continue to hinder the peace of the church or its testimony, the Elders may recommend the withdrawal of fellowship and/or termination of membership of the offending member. This shall be done following the guidelines given in Matthew 18:15-20. One so cut off from the fellowship of the church shall be treated as a non-believer until he/she gives evidence of true repentance (2 Corinthians 2:6-8). This response to the offending member includes loving admonition, prayer, and a call to repentance and obedience.

Paragraph 8. When a member’s actions lead to the regrettable obligation of terminating that person from membership, there will be a unanimous agreement of the Elders as stipulated in Article VII, Section 2 E paragraph 1. The Elders will exercise their judgment and so communicate their decision to the congregation.

Section 3. Restoration to Church Membership

The goal of all discipline is a holy walk under the lordship of Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word. The right to exclude persons or the withdrawal of fellowship and membership is in harmony with the teachings of the Word of God (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6) and is balanced by the call to restore such persons who have given satisfactory evidence of repentance (1 Corinthians 2:6-11). When a person gives such evidence, the Elders shall notify the congregation that the person has been restored to full fellowship.

Article IX: Financial Accountability

The Elders will appoint a Finance Committee for financial accountability.  The Finance Committee will seek to set up safeguards to be sure the church finances are protected.  The Pastor-Teacher (also called the Preaching Pastor), and anyone of his immediate family, will not be permitted to sign checks or other financial documents related to the church.

Article X: Fiscal Year

The fiscal year will be January 1 through December 31.

Article XI: Property Rights

No Elder, Pastor, Deacon, or any other church or staff member, has any individual right to any part of the property of the church. On the other hand, no member of the church or any administrative committee may be held responsible for the corporate obligations of the church.  The sale or purchase of land or a building with a foundation must be based upon the unanimous recommendation of the Elders and the affirmation of the voting membership. This affirmation will be voted on by active members and will require two-thirds of those in attendance of the meeting affirming the recommendation.

Article XII: Bylaws and Amendments

The Elders shall draft and seek to amend this Constitution and Bylaws as necessary.

  1. No bylaw in violation of Scripture shall be valid.
  2. Notice of any proposed Bylaw or Amendment change must be made in writing at least twenty-one days prior to the date of the affirmation of the voting membership. During that period any member may express his/her conviction concerning the proposed amendment by submitting a written statement to the Elders for consideration.
  3. Any amendments to this Constitution must be based upon the unanimous recommendation of the Elders and the affirmation of the voting membership. Any amendment will be voted on by active members and will require two-thirds of those in attendance of the meeting affirming the amendments.

Adopted February 3, 2013

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Church Covenant of Grace Community Bible Church

I (print) _____________________________ covenant with other members of Grace Community Bible Church, having as we trust, been brought by Divine Grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other to bring Him glory.  We will strive to

  • work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Psalms 133:1; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 2:2-3)
  • walk together in brotherly love, as becomes the members of Grace Community Bible Church; exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require. (Romans 12:10; 15:14)
  • be consistent and faithful to attend worship services and not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others. (Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 6:18)
  • endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends. (Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 1:28-29; Titus 2:7)
  • rejoice at each other’s happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows. (Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2)
  • seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life. (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:4; Philippians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; Titus 2:11-12; 1 Peter 1:14-16)
  • work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in Grace Community Bible Church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations. (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-3; 9:6-7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 5:17-18)
  • if we move from this place, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. (Hebrews 10:25)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.

Along with this Church Covenant, I voluntarily and willingly submit to the Statement of Faith and Constitution of Grace Community Bible Church.

 

Signature  _________________________________________

Date  ____________________

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