414 617-0347
8556 W National Ave
West Allis, Wi  53227
Constitution
 

THE CONSTITUTION OF RISEN SAVIOR BIBLE CHURCH

 

 

 

PREAMBLE

 

 

 

            We the members of Risen Savior Bible Church do recognize and declare this Constitution and By-Laws established upon sound biblical truth as the instrument by which we will govern our Body.

 

 

ARTICLE I - PURPOSE   

 

 

 

            Risen Savior Bible Church will proclaim the sinful state of un-regenerated mankind, confess the Gospel of Salvation by Grace through the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and declare this Gospel to the world until His imminent Pre-millennial coming.

We intend that the whole counsel of the Word of God, and nothing else, will be our absolute authority. The church will be dedicated to equipping the saints for sound daily living and to making disciples.  We believe that it is only through worshipping God, knowing the Holy Scriptures and the teaching of and obedience to pure biblical doctrine that the saints will be protected from false worldly teaching. 

 

 

ARTICLE II - STATEMENT OF FAITH

 

 

  1. We believe that "all" Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, is inspired by God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith, life, and practice.

 

 

  1. We believe in one God, creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three distinct persons:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

 

  1. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (God the Son), in His virgin birth, sinless life, and miracles; in His vicarious and atoning death on the cross, His bodily resurrection from the dead, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

 

 

  1. We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and during this age to convict men of their sin, regenerate the believing sinner, indwell, seal, comfort, guide, instruct, intercede for, and empower the believer for godly living and service.

 

 

  1. We believe in the bodily second coming of Jesus Christ to set up a literal kingdom on earth which will last for one thousand years and will be followed by the eternal state and the new heavens and earth.

 

 

  1. We believe in the personal, pre-tribulational, and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for his Church (the Rapture), and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.

 

 

  1. We believe that man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost and that only through regeneration by the Holy Spirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.  We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary, His burial, and His resurrection provide the only grounds for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit (regeneration) and, thus become the children of God.  We believe that this salvation has been provided by the grace of God, through faith in the person and work of Christ on the cross, apart from any works of man. 

 

 

  1. We believe that the Holy Bible clearly teaches that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are safe and secure in Christ forever.  Therefore, it is impossible for a born again child of God to lose his salvation.  On the other hand, the person whose life is devoid of Christian character ought to make certain of his calling and election and should examine himself to see whether he is in the faith.  The question therefore, is not whether a saved person can be lost (which is impossible) but whether one who professes belief is truly saved.

 

 

  1. We believe that the Church, which is the body and the bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again persons of this present age.  The Church Age began on the Day of Pentecost and will be concluded at the rapture of the Church at which time the spiritual building will be complete.  Jesus Christ is the Head of the universal Church and of our local church.  We believe that every local church has the right under Christ, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to decide and govern its own affairs.  We are members of Christ and members of each other therefore, we seek to exalt Christ in every ministry and activity of our church, and we are to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  False teaching and division are to be handled by church discipline, balancing truth and mercy.  As believers, we are to love (in truth) each other fervently.  We believe that only those who are members of the universal church shall be eligible for membership in this local church.

 

 

  1. We believe that water baptism and the Lord's Supper (Communion) are ordinances to be observed by the church during this present age.  They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation.

 

 

  1. We believe that at death, the believer goes immediately to be with Christ.  He is absent from the body but face to face with the Lord.  There, in conscious joy, the believer awaits the rapture of the church when he will be reunited with his resurrected body, to be glorified forever with the Lord.  At death, unbelievers go to be in conscious misery until the second resurrection when they shall be reunited with their resurrected bodies to appear before Christ at the Great White Throne Judgment.  They will not be annihilated but will suffer everlasting conscious punishment under the wrath of God.

 

 

  1. We believe that God has revealed His will to mankind in progressive stages through the different periods of history.  These historical periods are called dispensations.  In each dispensation God called upon mankind to believe in Him and to obey His Word.  In each dispensation people were saved by grace through faith in God's promises.  The content of God's revelation, however, has progressively expanded in each dispensation.  We further believe that the promises that God made to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament will be literally fulfilled to Israel in a future Kingdom.  We reject covenant theology, new covenant theology, and hyper-dispensationalism as valid theological systems.

 

 

ARTICLE III - MEMBERSHIP

 

 

 

            To be a member, one must be at least 18 years of age and must provide a personal, public profession to having been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial and bodily resurrection.  All members must be willing to agree to and abide by every part of the Statement of Faith (Article II) and all of this Constitution and By-Laws.  Application for membership must be made in accordance with the procedures stated in the By-Laws.

 

 

ARTICLE IV - AMENDMENTS

 

 

 

            Articles I and II of this Constitution cannot be repealed or their essential meaning revised in any way.

 

 

            If and when any change to the remainder of this Constitution and/ or these By-Laws is deemed advisable by all the elders and/or the congregation, it may be amended or revised by a 2/3 vote of all active members.  Prior to a vote, any proposed modifications shall be thoroughly researched within scripture, prayed upon and fully revealed to and discussed with the congregation.

 

 

ARTICLE V - PROPERTY

 

 

 

            To carry out the church purpose (Article I) will require ownership and maintenance of buildings and equipment.  These will be administered in accordance with the appended By-Laws.

           

If a division occurs among the membership, the Church Name and all property shall be retained by those adhering to this Constitution and appended By-Laws, even if they are in the minority.

 

 

            If the church ceases to function as God intends, and its organization is dissolved, all property will be given to a like-minded 501(c) (3) qualified organization that stands in agreement with this Constitution and appended By-Laws; or failing that; a 501(c) (3) qualified organization that stands in agreement with our Statement of Faith (Article II); or failing that a 501(c) (3) qualified organization.

 

 

ARTICLE VI - PROVISION FOR BY-LAWS

 

 

 

A supplement to this Constitution known as the By-Laws, hereafter referred to as "Articles of Practice," will embody the guide lines for operation of this church.


ARTICLES OF PRACTICE

 

 

 

ARTICLE I - SERVANT LEADERSHIP OVERVIEW

 

 

 

(Matt. 20:25-28; Acts 6:1-7; Acts 14:21-23; Acts 15:1-34; Phil. 1:1; 1Ths. 5:12-13) (1Tim. 3:5; 1Tim. 5:1-4; Heb. 13:7-8, 17)

 

 

 

            Our governing structure will be biblical elder rule and biblical deacon/deaconess service with congregational consent.  This shall be accomplished by adhering to the biblical qualification requirements and responsibilities listed in the Articles of Practice. Elders and deacons/deaconesses may be removed from office by congregational action.

 

 

            Elders shall lead as servants, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, according to the Holy Bible, and as they are bathed in prayer by the congregation.  The character of these men must be well known within the congregation before they are considered for service and are selected by the congregation. They are accountable to God and the members for abiding by biblical standards.  Elders will oversee the spiritual needs of the church body.

 

 

            Deacons/deaconesses will serve under the direction of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Holy Bible, under the supervision of the elders, and as they are bathed in prayer by the congregation. The character and conduct of these people must be well known within the congregation before they are considered for service. They shall be selected by the congregation and presented to the elders for assignment to the ministries of the church. Deacons/deaconesses are accountable to God, the elders, and the members for abiding by biblical standards.  Deacons/deaconesses will see to the functional/physical needs of the church body and will be the trustees of the church.

 

 

SECTION I - ELDERS

 

 

 

(Acts 15:2; 1Tim. 3:1-7; 1Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5- 9; James 5:14-16; 1Peter 5:1-4)

 

 

 

            This congregation will have Jesus Christ as the Head of this church.  Next in authority will be the elders. (I Tim. 5:17, Titus 1:5-14, 1 Peter 5:1-4)

 

 

            Elders shall be men who are active members, called by God, and acknowledged by the congregation. Ordination of one or more elders may occur as God leads the congregation to do so. Elders shall be men who have been walking with the Lord, as part of this congregation for an adequate amount of time, in order for us to know them to be men of godly character who live in  obedience to the Lord. (Col. 1:10). These men will be responsible for the spiritual oversight of the church therefore, elders must embrace and embody the character traits laid out in the scriptures found in 1Tim. 3:1-7. If a man has been divorced and/or remarried, he is not automatically disqualified from being an elder. Beliefs and/or behavior of adult children, as defined by the congregation, will also not automatically disqualify him from the office. Elders are accountable to God and the members.

 

 

Any elder may attend any committee meeting he deems necessary, giving notice to the chairperson of that committee prior to attending.     

 

 

The elders shall be elected by a 2/3 majority vote of all active members of the congregation to a LIFE TIME commitment.  Due to possible unforeseen situations an elder may submit his resignation to the remaining elders for consideration.  Elders may submit a request for sabbatical to the congregation for approval by a 2/3 majority vote at an official, quorum established business meeting. They may be removed from office by a 2/3 majority vote of all active members for failure to execute their biblical function and/or failure to adhere to the church Constitution and Articles of Practice. In accordance with 1 Tim. 5:19-20 or Matt. Chapter 18, the discipline process will be initiated by 2 or 3 witnesses going to the elders.  When necessary, the elders will rebuke and/or remove the transgressing elder in the presence of the congregation. 

 

 

            There must always be at least THREE (3) elders actively engaged in office unless a removal action or sabbatical is in effect that would reduce this number.

 

 

            Elders, under the supervision of the Holy Spirit, are called to establish, safeguard and implement Jesus Christ’s plan for His church as clearly revealed in the Holy Bible. Each one is to demonstrate a shepherd’s heart (as in Psalm 23), after the heart of God Himself, and they, as a ruling body must shepherd the congregation in the following ways:

 

 

·                    Devoting themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4)

·                    Leading the flock to the Living Water, which is Christ Jesus (John 4:14)

·                    Comforting the sorrowful (Phil. 4:7)

·                    Walking the path and leading the flock to the narrow gate (Matt. 7:13-14)

·                    Seeking to rescue those who would stray from that path (Luke 15:4-7)

·                    Standing against Satan and his schemes (Matt. 16:23; Luke 4:8)

·                    Proclaiming the protection and power of God (Eph. 1:17-23; Phil. 4:13)

·                    Feeding the flock the Bread of Life (John 6:35; John 21:15-17)

·                    Keeping the wolves (false teachers) out (Matt. 7:15-23; Acts 20:28-31)

·                    Treating every member of the flock equally without preference (James 1:9)

·                    Exhibiting the goodness and mercy of the Lord(Psalms 31:19; Luke 6:36-37)

·                    Teaching the flock to build on the Solid Rock (Matt. 7:24-27)

 

 

PASTOR/TEACHER

 

 

 

            The pastor/teacher(s) shall be elected from and by the elder board and confirmed by a 2/3 majority vote of all active members of the church at a scheduled meeting.  In addition to their regular elder responsibilities, pastor/teacher(s) will be responsible for the pulpit ministry.

 

 

            He/They shall remain in this position for an indefinite period of time.  The elder board reserves the right to dismiss a pastor/teacher for just cause per the discipline section of the Articles of Practice. A pastor/teacher has the right to resign the position upon one month’s written notice, or at an earlier date as may be agreed to by the elders.

 

 


Prospective elder qualification requirements:

 


Above reproach - (1Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6,7)--anepilempton: unaccusable; anegkleton: unreprovable

·         This is the summation of all other characteristics

·         Not only the absence of disqualifying factors is in view, but that positive things are evident.

·         A good reputation spiritually (Acts 16:2)

Husband of one wife - (1Tim. 3:2)--mais gunaikos andros: "one-woman man"

·         Marriage is preferred, but not required.  An unmarried person should be courting only one woman and cannot be involved in a physical intimate relationship.

·         This probably does not refer to polygamy (which was not common in the Roman Empire), but rather that sexual morality is an established life-style.

·         This qualification does not automatically exclude divorcees; present life-style only is in view (as with all of the qualifications.)

·         An elder must not be involved in flirting, pornography, inappropriate "counseling" of the opposite sex, etc.

Temperate - (1Tim. 3:2)--nephalion: sober

·         This is the opposite of being mentally and spiritually dense. It is linked with being spiritually alert. (1Ths. 5:6; 1 Peter 4:7; 1Peter 5:8)

·         An elder has a clear perspective on life, and a correct spiritual orientation.

Prudent - (1Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8)--sophrona: thoughtful, self-controlled, sane

·         An elder must be mentally healthy (2 Cor. 5:13).

·         He has an honest evaluation of himself which involves neither arrogance nor self-hate. (Rom. 12:3).

·         An elder evidences the ability to be reasonable, sensible, having the ability to keep his head.  (Titus 2:6-8).

Respectable - (1Tim. 3:2)--kosmion: well-ordered

·         A habit of orderliness and stability has been established.

Hospitable - (1Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8)--philoxenon: "lover of strangers"

·         An elder takes a genuine interest in new people. This would include both an outreach orientation and the willingness to open his home to others.

Able to Teach - (1Tim. 3:2)--didaktikon: skilled at teaching

·         An elder must understand Scripture well enough to be able to effectively exhort others in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9).

·         This does not necessitate being a gifted large-group teacher, but having the ability to correctly relate biblical truth to individuals for application to their lives.

·         "Grounded in the Word" means that an elder understands and can explain and apply biblical concepts, and that he has the ability to discern error when he hears it.

Not Addicted to Wine - (1Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7)--me paroinon: "not lingering over wine"

·         An elder has a demonstrated freedom from drunkenness, or substance abuse. There is no dependence on alcohol or other drugs.

·         He is able to give up freedom to prevent a weaker brother from stumbling. (1Cor. 8; Romans 14)

Not self-willed - (Titus 1:7)--me authade: not a usurper

·         This is linked with rebelliousness and with usurpation of rightful authority (2Pet 2:9-14).

·         There should be a proven ability to defer to others.

·         An elder avoids a "my way or the highway" attitude

·         To "defer" means that you actively get behind another’s way and help it to succeed.

·         Implies he is able to apologize for his wrong doing after seeing his error

Not quick-tempered - (Titus 1:7)--me orgilon: not inclined to anger

·         The elder is not vengeful or violent, brooding or bitter, especially when he doesn't get his own way. (Eph. 4:26-31)

·         An elder should be slow to anger rather than having a short fuse. (James 1:19-20)

·         An elder must be under control, avoiding violent outbursts.

·         Elders must be able to drop offenses, not holding on to them.

Not pugnacious - (Titus 1:7; 1Tim. 3:3)--me plekten: not a striker

·         An elder is not prone to physical or verbal abuse (i.e. slander, put-downs, etc.)

·         He is not a fighter.

Gentle - (1Tim. 3:3)--epieike: gracious, forbearing

·         An elder is not unduly rigorous or legalistic in his treatment of people.

·         He is kind, empathetic and patient with all people.

·         He is the opposite of quick-tempered, or pugnacious.

·         People are made in the image of God and are to be treated with kindness and respect.  Therefore, an elder needs to consider how his words and actions will affect them.  (2Tim. 2:24,25; 1Ths. 2:7; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 4:1-3; Col. 3:12-13; 1Tim. 6:11; Gal. 5:22-23; James 3:8-10).

Uncontentious - (1Tim. 3:3)--amachon: peaceable

·         This means not looking for ways to disagree or oppose; not loving to fight or quarrel.

·         An elder possesses a positive and constructive point of view.

·         This is the opposite of being self-willed.

Free From the Love of Money - (1Tim. 3:3)--aphilagruron: not greedy

·         This means the ability to be content with what one has materially (1Tim. 6:6-8).

·         Not motivated by financial considerations in ministry goals (Acts 20:32-35)

·         True love for Christ and His work must not become eclipsed by greed (Matt. 6:24).

Manages own household well - (1Tim. 3:4, 5; Titus 1:6)--prohistemenon: to stand before; manage; to lead, used of an army commander standing before his men

·         This is a demonstrated ability to lead spiritually and effectively in marriage and family. The elder’s family should respect him and voluntarily follow his leadership.

·         An elder must exhibit that he treats members of his own household with the same respect, gentleness and sobriety with which he would treat the family of God.

·         Any Christian leader’s first responsibility is to his own family.  Prioritizing and practicing biblical principles with family and home is crucial in cooperating with God.

Not a new convert - (1Tim. 3:6)--me neophuton: "newly planted"

·         An elder should be a man who has been walking with Christ long to enough to have a demonstrated understanding of the scriptures in applications to life.

·         An elder should be a man who has matured spiritually so that he is not easily puffed up.

Having a good reputation with those outside - (1Tim. 3:7)--exothen: used by Paul for non-Christians (Col. 4:5)

·         Non-Christians are unable to discredit the person and accusations are easily exposed as false

·         Spoken well of (1Peter 3:16).

·         An elder is spiritually genuine and not two-faced.

·         The elder must be constantly aware that the unsaved world is watching his lifestyle and behavior.

Loving what is good - (Titus 1:8)--philagathon:  loving good

·         And elder’s lifestyle demonstrates that God's way is enjoyed

·         There should be no questionable dichotomy between an elder’s recreational, private life and in his public ministry.

 

Just - (Titus 1:8)--dikiaon:

·         An elder must be fair and impartial in his dealings with people (1Tim. 5:21).

Devout - (Titus 1:8)--hosion: Practical seriousness and zeal for God's will

·         A single minded devotion for God and His work.

           

           With the exception of a disciplinary action against an elder, all decisions of the elders shall be reached unanimously through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  If there is not unanimity, they will continue to pursue God’s direction until all are in agreement.  Elders, as a group, must be able to teach and preach biblical truth and doctrine. They must be willing to shepherd the flock, must be prayer warriors and must attend to the spiritual needs of the sick. (James 5:13-14) Elders must submit to the Holy Spirit, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

 

 

            Elders shall insure that decisions made at congregational business meetings are implemented, and shall act promptly on matters entrusted to them which may arise between those meetings. Any significant decisions by the elders shall be reported to the congregation as soon as practicable no later than at the next church business meeting.

 

 

            The elders shall review and approve applicants for membership and carry out the responsibilities described in the Articles of Practice.

 

 

            Elders shall hold the Benevolent Fund in trust and shall provide for disbursements to those members most in need. Elders shall receive an annual written financial report from an auditing entity for review. Elders shall then disclose the results of the audit to the congregation.

 

 

            Elders shall appoint ministry leaders from the deacon/deaconess group. 

 

 

            We expect as the norm that elders will rise from the deacon (male) population.

 

 

            Elder meetings shall be conducted according to biblical truth, being led by the Holy Spirit. Any active member may observe any elder meeting at any time, save meetings having to do with discipline or those specific meetings personally called by a member. Elders will meet at least once weekly for group prayer, at least once monthly for spiritual  oversight/teaching plans of the church and as often as required to address issues/needs. Each elder shall be fully committed to Jesus Christ, the Holy Bible and to prayer for the congregation.

 

 

            The elder chairman will be unanimously appointed by the elders for a ONE (1) year term. The chairman will preside at all elder meetings and congregational business meetings.

The elders shall have the authority to establish ad hoc committees and approve members as the needs arise.

           

SECTION II - DEACONS AND DEACONESSES

 

 

 

            The trustees of this church will hence forth be referred to as deacons (men) and deaconesses (women) (Rom. 16:1-2, 27 1Tim. 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6).  These are offices of ministerial leadership and not offices of church rule. These servants will perform the function of shepherding the needs of those attending the church to include the day-to-day operations and the financial/functional/physical oversight thereof.

 

 

Deacons/deaconesses will be active members called by God, elected by the congregation and appointed by the elders (Acts 6:3). Deacons/deaconesses will be members who have been walking with the Lord as part of this congregation for an adequate amount of time, in order for the members of the congregation to know them to be people of godly character, in obedience to the Lord and in service to the congregation. (Titus 1:10-16; Acts 6:1-7). They must embrace and embody the character traits laid out in the scriptures found in 1Tim. 3:8-13.

 

 

 

            If a prospective deacon/deaconess has been divorced and/or remarried, this does not automatically disqualify him/her from holding this office. Beliefs and/or behavior of adult children as defined by the congregation will also not automatically disqualify him/her from consideration. Deacons/deaconesses are accountable to God, the elders and the members.

 

 

            The congregation will elect deacons/deaconesses to a TWO (2) year commitment by a 2/3 majority vote of all active members. The term of service may be renewed with elder recommendation and a 2/3 majority active member approval.  They may be removed from office for failure to execute their biblical function and/or failure to adhere to the Constitution and Articles of Practice, by a simple majority vote of all active members. There must always be at least SEVEN (7) deacons/deaconesses actively engaged in office unless a removal action is in effect that would reduce this number.

 

 

Differences in Qualifications of elders and deacons/deaconesses

 


           
The qualifications for deacons/deaconesses are similar to those for elders, however deacons/deaconesses may be “young in the faith” (there is no "not a new-convert" requirement.) However, they are still to be “tested” to ascertain that their character and service are genuine and consistent.  They do not seem to need as much scriptural knowledge as the elders. They are not required to be able to "refute those who contradict" as are elders.

Qualifications for deacons

 

 

 

(1Tim. 3:8-13)

 

 

 

  1. Dignity. "Likewise" means the foregoing description regarding elders applies in principle. Dignity speaks of a respectable reputation, especially in spiritual matters.
  2. Not double tongued means not insincere--not saying one thing to one and something different to another. Not a liar, straightforward
  3. Not addicted to much wine means no abuse of or dependence on any drug, including alcohol.  There should be a demonstrated freedom not to drink or use drugs.
  4. Not fond of sordid gain. Not willing to manipulate or pursue illegitimate means for personal profit, either for money or recognition, especially in the area of ministry. The person demonstrates a proper value system, placing the gospel ahead of financial gain or personal glory.  This also implies that the deacon should be giving consistently and sacrificially of his money.
  5. Holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. "Holding fast" speaks of knowing the Word, and "clear conscience" speaks of doing the Word.  This includes having a clear conscience with regard to the quality of the service being rendered to the church. Serve as unto the Lord  
  6. Tested first and beyond reproach. Deacons must have a confirmed ability to do the work of shepherding and service effectively without reproof.  The congregational selection of a deacon to the office simply recognizes the obedient servant’s heart.
  7. Not malicious gossips. They demonstrate care not to exaggerate or to disrespectfully speak of others. This implies the ability to maintain a confidence when appropriate. If the trials of others are shared, it should be only with those in a responsible position and for biblical reasons.
  8. Temperate comes from a word meaning serious, not given to excess, self-controlled and emotionally stable.
  9. Faithful in all things indicates reliability. It implies that we don't have to worry when this person is given a job to do--the deacon will do his best.
  10. Husband of one wife. Literally a "one-woman man." - Marriage is preferred, but not required.  An unmarried person should be courting only one woman and cannot be involved in a physical intimate relationship.
  11. One who manages his own household well.  The primary application is to married men meaning that their family life is under control according to biblical standards. In the case of the unmarried, it means that they have close relationships and that those relationships are generally healthy and stable. A pattern of broken relationships suggests an inability to get along with others (especially your own family and friends).  This could potentially disqualify a would-be deacon/deaconess.

Qualifications for deaconesses

 

 

 

(1Tim. 3:11 in particular and 3:8-13 as applies to women)

 

1.   Grave comes from a word meaning serious, self-controlled and emotionally stable; not given to excess.

2.   Not Slanderers indicates a kind, long-suffering spirit, not apt to secretly malign or insult.

3.             Faithful in all things indicates reliability. It implies that we don't have to worry when this person is given a job to do--the deaconess will do her best.

ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP

 

SECTION I - ACCEPTANCE AND STATUS

 

            Applicants must be born again Christians of at least 18 years of age. Application for membership shall be made to an elder upon the recommendation of at least one active member, who shall assist the applicant throughout the membership process.

            Each applicant shall be required to successfully complete a membership class to include study of the church Constitution and appended Articles of Practice, and be in full agreement with them. This church will not allow any signed covenants. We believe them to be contrary to biblical truth. Let your “yea” be “yea” and your “nay” be “nay”.

            Each candidate, accompanied by his/her recommending member, shall appear before the elders to give testimony to his/her personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ.  If approved, the member shall be added to the active member register immediately and warmly welcomed into our fellowship. The elders will introduce new members to the congregation at the next worship service.

            Letters of transfer of membership from another church shall be welcomed but will not replace this process.    

            Active members, who without known good cause, miss THREE (3) consecutive weeks of worship, shall be contacted by an elder and, if possible, restored to regular attendance. If not restored within an additional THREE (3) consecutive weeks they shall be placed on the inactive list and sent a letter to that effect. Members transferring out of the area will be placed on the inactive list. Inactive members will have their membership terminated after one year.

            The elders shall submit an updated membership list at the annual congregational business meeting.

SECTION II - THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

            According to the Word of God, the Holy Bible, we are commanded to live a life that magnifies Jesus Christ (Eph. 4; Phil. 1: 27).  We are called by God to demonstrate our obedience to Him in the following ways:

·              Love the Lord with all we have (Matt. 22:37)

 

·              Be a Godly example (1Tim. 4:12)

 

·              Regularly spend time in the Holy Bible and in prayer (Deut. 6: 4 - 9; Deut. 11: 18 - 25; Josh. 1: 8; Psalm 1; John 15:7; Col. 3:16)

 

·              Teach our children truth (Eph. 6:4)

 

·              Pray for each other (James 5:16)

 

·              Be no stumbling block (Rom. 14:11-13)

 

·              Forgive and seek peace (Rom. 12:18; Col. 3:13)

 

·              Communicate with each other in a Godly manner, especially in regard to the resolution of conflict (Matthew 18:15-17)

 

·              Submit to each other in love (1Peter 5:5; Phil. 2:1-4)

 

·              Bear each others’ burdens (Gal. 6:1-2)

 

·              Regularly participate in the services (Heb. 10:24-25)

 

·              Identify and allow God’s use of our spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:4-8)

 

·              Financially support the Church as God provides (Prov. 3:9; 2Cor. 9:6-8)

 

·              Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19, 20)

 

·              Contend for the faith in a hostile world (Phil. 1:27-30; Jude 3)

 

·              Love not the world (1John 2:15-17)

 

·              Act out our faith (James 2:14-18; Matt. 25:31-40)

 

·              Love our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40)

 

·              Give an answer for the joy in us (1Peter 3:12-18)

 

·              Speak the truth in love (Eph.4:15)

 

SECTION III - DISCIPLINE AND RESTORATION

 

            We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) but, as children of God, reborn in Christ, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins as we confess them and turn away from them (1John 1:9). Church discipline serves to protect and preserve congregational unity in spirit and truth when a member/professing Christian who regularly attends needs loving help to come back to his/her walk with Christ. The goal of the discipline process is restoration not punishment. If an offense occurs between brethren, those involved must follow the biblical commands recorded in Matt. 18:11-17 to seek resolution.  Elders shall stand ready to be witnesses as needed for the purpose of mediation.

 

 

            Members/professing Christians who regularly attend, conducting themselves in a manner unworthy of Christ, in contradiction to scriptural principles or commands, for which they show no evidence of repentance, shall be confronted in truth and love. There are very clear biblical steps to be taken with the hope of reconciliation with the body of Christ.

 

 

            If a member/professing Christian who regularly attends should reject these efforts and continue in his/her unrepentant condition after being confronted and restoration attempted,

that person shall be separated from this church by corporate decree upon elder recommendation and a 2/3 majority active member vote. (1Cor. 5; 2Cor. 6:14-18).

 

 

            Each member agrees to save and hold harmless and pursue no legal action against this church, its employees, paid staff, elected officers or any other duly appointed office holders for any and all claims of injury or damage in connection with performance of their official duties prescribed by the Constitution and/or appended Articles of Practice and/or the Holy Bible.

 

 

            Separate and apart from the process of discipline/restoration and subject to the discretion and approval of the elders, Risen Savior Bible Church reserves the right to remove a member, non-member, regular attendee or other individual from the church premises for the safety and/or well being of others on church premises. Such action may, but need not be, concurrent with church discipline of that person.

 

 

ARTICLE III - MINISTRIES

 

 

 

SECTION I - LEADERSHIP

 

 

 

            Elders shall appoint ministry leaders (chairpersons) from the deacon/deaconess community.  Elders will monitor their effectiveness to confirm the appropriateness of each appointment. Understanding the importance of sound biblical doctrine we believe that it is the responsibility of the elders to provide the spiritual oversight of the church and therefore, it is the sole responsibility of the elders to approve/appoint teachers and teacher/leaders for all church sponsored ministries.

 

 

Unless elder approval is required, chairpersons shall be responsible for the selection and appointment of non-teaching leaders and assistants to their respective ministries as God directs and God supplies. Chairpersons will have supervisory authority over their ministries.

 

 

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

 

 

 

This ministry area is the responsibility of the elder group.  As gifted spiritual leaders (potential teachers, preachers, pastors, missionaries, etc.) become apparent within the congregation, the elders will identify these gifted people, disciple them in their areas of giftedness, and assist them in any way possible (including financial assistance from the church) to become the leaders that Christ has called them to be.

 

 

SECTION II - AREAS OF MINISTRY

 

 

 

            It is our desire to remain in submission to God’s guidance in all areas of ministry. We want to be good stewards of the resources that God provides and to follow Him as He leads us in where, when and how to use them. We believe that He will provide sufficiently as we step out in faith to minister howsoever He directs. We believe that open eyes, ears and hearts, in concert with prayer for the Holy Spirit’s affirmation (through the patient unanimity of our elders) will bring needs to our attention so that Godly selections of ministries will be pursued. Christ will equip us to do His will (2Cor. 9:8; Phil. 1:6).

 

 

We believe that God will provide gifted people and all necessary resources for any ministries of the church including, but not limited to the following:

 

 

EVANGELISM and MISSIONS

 

 

The missions/evangelism chairperson shall be appointed by the elders.  This ministry shall purpose to assist the church in its fulfillment of the great commission "to go into all the world, declaring the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins" and to "make disciples in His name." The missions/evangelism chairperson will seek out those in the congregation gifted in the area of evangelism, those who are willing and able to serve, and who are passionate about the work of missions, who will act on behalf of the church and help us obey that great commission.

 

 

WORSHIP

 

 

The worship chairperson shall be appointed by the elders and will look for others in the congregation who are gifted to lead in the area of worship. This ministry shall purpose to lead the congregation in all aspects of corporate worship including the following: music, both vocal and instrumental, drama, reading of scripture and any media presentations designed to exalt the name of Christ and point people to worshiping God in spirit and in truth.  This group of leaders will identify others who are willing and able to serve in the above listed aspects of worship. They will commit themselves to supervise and train these people according to their talents and gifts to provide worship services that are balanced, biblical and excellently done to the honor and glory of God.

 

 

ADULT

 

 

The chairperson of adult ministry shall be appointed by the elders. The chairperson shall be responsible for the recommendation and supervision of elder appointed leader/teachers for adult Sunday school, small groups, men's and women's ministries. 

 

 

The adult ministry organizations shall:  1) provide doctrinally sound Holy Bible studies, 2) provide activities that promote friendship and fellowship so that the church can more effectively extend its ministry of caregiving and encouragement, and 3) provide opportunities to befriend those who need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

 

CHILDREN’S

 

 

 

The chairperson for children’s ministries shall be appointed by the elders. The children’s ministry chairperson shall be responsible for recommending, training, and supervising leader/teachers appointed by the elders for the various children's ministries.  The chairperson shall work closely with the leader/teachers to select and train staff and to develop and reach biblical goals for each ministry. The various children's ministries shall provide for safe caregiving and quality teaching that will result in a growing understanding of God's Word and an outreach to those who need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

 

YOUTH

 

 

 

The chairperson for youth ministries shall be appointed by the elders. The chairperson shall recommend, train and supervise leader/teachers (appointed by the elders), and will work closely with them to develop and reach goals for this ministry, specifically to teach young people to know and obey scriptures in all matters. 

           

PROPERTY

 

 

 

The chairperson shall be appointed by the elders. The chairperson shall recommend candidates for the property board.  Candidates shall be approved by the elders.  The chairperson shall conduct monthly meetings to determine action needed to care for the physical church facilities and shall organize, direct and monitor the work of property board personnel as they carry out their individual responsibilities.

 

 

            Members of the property board shall be entrusted with the care of the properties of the church.  With the approval of the elders, they shall establish written policies concerning the use of church facilities and equipment.  The signing officers of the church shall be the Elder Chairman, the Finance Ministries Chairperson and the Property Ministries Chairperson.  They shall sign, seal and deliver documents and legal papers required to conduct official church business.  They shall not be empowered to deed, rent, convey, mortgage, buy or sell the property of the church without the vote of the congregation.  The property board members shall have oversight of the aesthetics of the church facilities including interior and exterior decorating.

 

 

FINANCE

 

 

 

The chairperson shall be appointed by the elders.  The chairperson shall recommend persons for Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Assistant Financial Secretary and members at large for the Finance Committee.  The chairperson shall provide a financial report at elder and/or congregational meetings.  Appointments to the Finance Committee shall be approved by the elders.

 

 

            The Finance Committee shall assemble a budget utilizing recommendations from ministry chairpersons.  They shall monitor giving as it relates to budget and make recommendations, as they deem necessary.  They shall make recommendations to the elders to establish policies or procedures that would encourage fiscal responsibility.  Specific responsibilities are carried out by those appointed to the following positions:

 

 

FINANCIAL SECRETARY - The Financial Secretary shall receive and deposit all funds and send deposit statements to the elder chairman and treasurer and send a record of individual giving to the assistant financial secretary.  All offerings shall be counted by the financial secretary or designee and one additional church member approved by the elders.

 

 

ASSISTANT FINANCIAL SECRETARY - The assistant financial secretary shall record all individual giving and provide each contributor who uses the church approved collection system with an annual statement.

 

 

TREASURER - The treasurer shall receive all deposit statements from the financial secretary.  The treasurer shall make all disbursements and pay all bills.  The treasurer shall keep an accurate account of all monies received and expended and render a monthly itemized report to the elders, and at such other times as may be requested by the elders.

 

 

ARTICLE IV - MEETINGS

 

            Regular worship services shall be held at designated times each Sunday. Other services shall be conducted at such times as decided upon and directed by the elders.

            The church shall assemble for the observance of the Lord’s Supper at least once per month at the discretion of the elders. All professing Christians in right standing before the Lord and the brethren may partake.

            A quorum of 60% of the active members will be required for the transaction of church congregational business.  Issues up for consideration and not specifically addressed elsewhere in this Constitution shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the quorum. Under special circumstances and previously agreed upon by the elders, proxy votes will be accepted from members who are unable to attend church meetings where votes are cast.  Proxy votes may be by phone, email, or post to the elder chairman.  Members may decide to abstain if they don’t have enough information due to missing presentations (all ballots shall reflect this option). Only active members may vote.

            The church shall hold congregational business meetings on a bi-annual basis or as the needs of the congregation determine.  The church shall hold, at a minimum, two meetings per year.  The first will be the annual congregational meeting where the budget and elections will be decided.  The other will be for informational purposes and will be held at least 6 months from the annual congregational meeting.

            Congregational business meetings may be called by the elder chairman, the elders or seven or more active members. These meetings must be announced on the two consecutive Sundays prior to the meeting. The elders must be notified of all special meetings prior to their announcement.

            Election or removal meetings may be called as needed by the elders as described previously in this document. Elections and removals will be by secret ballot.

            Meetings will be held according to the following format:

·              Scripture reading and prayer

·              Preceding minutes, reading reports

·              Old business

·              New business

·              Closing prayer