By the grace of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, the members of Immanuel Bible Church (a.k.a. Immanuel Bibel Gemeinde) ordain and establish the following articles as the guidelines for the operation of this church to the glory of God.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one local manifestation of the body of Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to pray for one another, to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this assembly, in knowledge, holiness, and grace; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor and the spreading of the Gospel through all nations.
We’ll also strive to maintain family and personal devotions and to train our children in the Christian faith. In cultivating a life of sincere faith in Jesus Christ, we’ll endeavor to fill our minds with all that’s true, noble, just, pure, lovely and gracious.
In relationship with our fellow men, we covenant to walk circumspectly and in Christian love. We pledge to be courteous and kind and to esteem other Christians and our fellow man, sympathizing with them in their afflictions and rejoicing in their achievements and victories. We resolve to strive for genuine humility, for an honest endeavor to forgive and to be forgiven and for Christian unity of mind and purpose.
We moreover engage that, if we remove from this assembly, as soon as possible, we’ll unite with some other assembly where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the truth and principles of God’s Word.
Article 1: Name and Location
The name of this assembly shall be known as Immanuel Bible Church, which was incorporated as a religious entity on April 8, 2001. The church is located in Vienna, Austria.
Article 2: Affiliation
This assembly is not affiliated with any other particular church or religious organization. This local church assembly shall be autonomous and self-governing in all matters physical and spiritual, but recognizes and maintains mutual cooperation with other local assemblies and organizations of like faith and practice.
Article 3: Purpose
1. To worship and glorify God.
2. To present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that people may have the opportunity of entering into a personal relationship with Him.
3. To provide spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and monetary assistance to both this local assembly and other Christian ministries outside of this local assembly, at home and overseas.
4. To provide opportunities for Christian fellowship and service within the body of believers.
Article 4: Statement of Faith:
Section 1: Triune God
We believe that there is one God (Dt. 6:4) who has created everything--the visible and invisible. Through His creation, He has revealed Himself to all people. Through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, He reveals Himself to us as a Father (Col. 1:15; John 1:14; Jude 25). Christ has sent us His Holy Spirit.
We believe that the whole Bible attests to the fact that the three persons of God--the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit--are a single unity (Mark 4:11; Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:26).
We believe that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in essence. The Bible shows clear differences between them and that they are three different revelations of the only, true and living God. Therefore we hold to the biblical teaching of the “Trinity” (Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22).
We believe, that Jesus is both completely man and completely God (Phil. 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:15). He is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15). Worship, praise and honor belong to God alone (John 5:23-24).
Section 2: Salvation
We believe that Jesus was born of a virgin as was promised by God through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18; John 1:14).
We believe that Jesus has fulfilled all of God’s demands of the law. He was tempted in all things, like us, but He did not sin (Matt. 3:15; 5:17; Heb. 4:15). We are, by our sins and guilt, separated from God. Therefore, in our sins, there is no real fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:12).
We believe the Bible teaches that those who reject the Son (Jesus) also reject the Father who sent Him (Luke 10:16). Whoever rejects the Son rejects God’s forgiveness of their sins. We believe that Jesus suffered a cruel, terrible death on the cross. Through His death, He was God’s sacrificial lamb which has taken “away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He suffered in our place.
We believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and is victorious over hell, death and Satan. Therefore God has exalted Him and given Him a name which is above all names. Salvation is found in no other name (Phil. 2:9-11; Acts 4:12).
We believe that salvation is a free gift of God in His mercy, but that the gift is not cheap, for it cost God His only Son (John 3:16; Eph. 2:18; 1 John 1:9).
We believe that God is not willing that any would be condemned to Hell. He finds no pleasure in the death of the lawless, but He wills that everyone would repent and live (Ezekiel 18:23; 2 Peter 3:9). The Bible says that His children are kept for salvation through faith (1 Peter 1:3-5). We believe, therefore, that individuals cannot lose their salvation once they have truly believed. (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:28-30)
We believe that it is only through trusting Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross (believing and accepting Him as one’s Savior) that a person is saved, and that if this belief is genuine, it will reveal a change of heart (repentance from sin). Sin means anything that is not pleasing to a holy God. This change of mind is a complete reorientation of the whole life and all that we do (Acts 2:37-38; Matthew 3:8; James 2:14,26).
We believe that repentance is a good indication that a person has "faith which leads to eternal life" (Luke 13:1-5).
We believe that Jesus appeared before more than 500 eyewitnesses. After this, He ascended to heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes on behalf of His own (those who believe on Him). (1 Corinthians 15:6; Mark 16:9; Hebrews 7:25)
Section 3: Ministry of the Holy Spirit
We believe that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, according to His promise, to convict the world of sin and to enable true believers to be good and faithful witnesses to the honor of God (John 16:8; Luke 24:29; Isaiah 43:10; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4).
We firmly believe that "speaking in tongues" ceased with the end of the apostolic era. We believe that it is wrong to teach believers to tarry for or seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Bible clearly teaches that all believers have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) and that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ are not His at all (Romans 8:9b).
We firmly believe that the erroneous teachings of the Charismatic Movement have obscured many true and blessed teachings regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who convicts the world of sin (John 16:8-11); intercedes in prayer to the Father on behalf of the believer (Romans 8:26, 27); comforts, teaches and guides believers into the truth of the Word (John 14:15-26; 16:7, 13); and Who has "sealed [us] unto the day of Redemption" (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit has a blessed and important ministry in the life of every believer and we dare not neglect, belittle or pervert this wonderful ministry. The Holy Spirit uses the written Word which He gave through the apostles and prophets to guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit will never lead us to do or say anything contrary to the Bible, God's Holy, inerrant, infallible, eternal Word (2 Timothy 3:16).
We hold the current Charismatic Movement to be a dangerous aberrant movement to be avoided with its emphases on tongues speaking, physical healings & miracles worked by individuals, prophesies and placing feelings & experiences over Scriptural teachings.
Section 4: The Believer’s Life and the Church
We believe that Jesus did not come foremost, to provide us with a happy, healthy, carefree earthly life, but He died that we would become free from the power of sin, circumstances, hell and death (Matt. 25:32; 1 Cor. 15:55-57).
We believe that the congregation of believers (the church) is given to us so that we come to personal spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:11-13).
We believe that God has set a particular time to remove His church and His Spirit from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). Therefore, God’s Word says, "Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart" (Psalm 95:7-8; Hebrews 4:7; 2 Corinthians 6:2). Today is the day of Salvation.
We believe that Christ has given two ordinances to his church and that they are symbolic, not sacramental: believer’s baptism (by immersion) and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:18-20; Romans 6:4; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34).
Section 5: Last Things
We believe that Jesus Christ will come back to the earth visibly "with great power and glory and with His saints" (Matt. 24:27-30; 1 Thessalonians 3:13). This time He will not come to save the world, but to judge the world, to the honor of the Father and to revenge "them that were slain for the Word" (Revelation 6:9-10; 14:11; 17:14; 19:11-16; 20:14-15; 21:8).
Section 6: The Bible
We believe that the 66 books of the Holy Bible are verbally inspired by God and are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:11; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Section 7: Separation
We believe that the Scripture commands God’s People to be holy and separate from all polluting influences, including sin, disobedient brethren and false teachers. We, therefore, urge every member of Immanuel Bible Church to abstain from every questionable thing, keeping himself/herself from even the appearance of evil in religion, dress, conversation, amusement, business, habit, etc. according to the teachings of God’s Word. (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Ephesians 4:1-32; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16)
In order to promote a worship atmosphere that focuses on the character of God rather than the sinful nature of man, we hold a high standard of music in our worship services and church activities. We abstain from all forms of music which carry with them characteristics and associations that are in violation of godliness. Rock music (which promotes rebellion, drugs and promiscuity) in all its forms and the instruments which are prominent in the Rock and Roll culture are not used in our worship services and are discouraged as well in our personal lives which now belong to Christ.
Section 8: Baptist Principles
In the six historic Baptist principles we are in agreement:
1. The Bible has the highest authority for teaching and conduct. There are no additional authoritative statements outside of God’s Word. We reject special revelations.
2. Church of Believers. The church of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament, is made up of those who believe on Christ. People who have accepted the Word of God and have claimed Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Savior belong to the church.
3. Baptism of Believers. Because the church is made up of only believers, only believers are baptized. We regard as right the following New Testament order --- 1). Hearing the Gospel, 2). Coming to faith in Christ, 3). Giving oneself to Christ, 4). Baptism, 5). Being added to the church.
4. Autonomy of the Local Church. Every church must settle its own matters responsibly before God. Each local assembly must take seriously the fulfillment of Christ’s great commission to care for people and spread the Gospel message. The church is responsible for calling its workers and for financing its existence.
5. Priesthood of Believers. God has called a great variety to be part of His people. Every single one is equipped by God with talents which are brought in to the church. Every member of the church is entitled to an equal vote. There is no hierarchy.
6. Separation of state and church. Baptists form churches independent of the state. There is no church tax. They are committed to freedom of the faith and conscience and for human rights.
Article 5: Membership
1). Any person professing faith in Christ as personal Savior,
2). who gives evidence of regeneration,
3). has been baptized by immersion,
4). indicates a desire to become a member,
5). attends a membership class (the scope of the class requirements will be determined by an interview with the pastor and/or the deacons),
6). is willing to submit to the process of government as defined by the Constitution,
7). subscribes to the Statement of Faith,
8). seeks to develop a lifestyle consistent with the Covenant,
9). and shares his/her testimony with the Pastor/Deacons will be eligible to be a candidate for membership
Article 6: Ministry
1. Anyone who teaches in any capacity in this assembly must be a member in the church and a faithful attendee.
2. Anyone who sings or plays an instrument as a soloist or in an ensemble or choir that leads the congregation must be a member of the church and be faithful in attendance and preparation.
3. Guest speakers and teachers and musicians need to agree to the Statement of Faith before they are permitted to participate in special meetings and receive invitations to minister with us.
Article 7: Authority and Government
1. Because we believe the Bible to be the Holy Word of God, verbally inspired and wholly without error in all that it declares, it is therefore the supreme and final authority for faith and practice of the individual and the church assembly as a whole.
2. This assembly’s government shall be entrusted to and executed by duly selected leaders from the membership. These leaders shall be biblically qualified Pastors (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9) and Deacons. Deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6) shall be selected by the membership to assist the pastoral staff in serving the congregation in all matters of faith and practice. The responsibilities of the Pastors and Deacons, the method of their selection, their term in office, and frequency of meeting shall be in accord with the By-Laws.
3. The oversight of this church assembly is delegated by the congregation to the Pastors and Deacons, which in turn are responsible to the congregation for determining God’s will and leading the church in carrying out His will.
Article 8: Amendments
Any article or sections of this constitution may be amended in accordance with the by-laws of this constitution, by a two-thirds majority vote of the qualified voters present at any properly called business meeting. Written notice of such amendment must be given to members at least two Sundays prior to the meeting. An exact copy of the proposed amendment shall be publicly posted in the church building for these two Sundays. The proposed amendment(s) may be modified and adopted at the same meeting.
Article 9: Dissolution
Should it ever become necessary to dissolve this corporation, no part of the net earnings of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any donor, member or officer of the corporation nor shall any private individual be entitled to share in the distribution of any corporate assets. Upon dissolution of the corporation, after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the corporation, the remaining assets of the corporation must be distributed to an organization or agency that reflects the intents and purposes of this church as indicated in our Constitution and By-laws.
Article 10: Precedence of This Constitution
As of the following date, (January 28, 2008) this amended constitution shall take precedence over any previous constitution and statement of faith adopted by this local church assembly, and any previous constitution and statement of faith which may have been adopted by this local church assembly shall be null and void, and this constitution shall henceforth constitute the sole official constitution of this local church assembly.
Immanuel Bible Church
Latschkagasse 9 Top 1 & 2
1090 Vienna, Austria
Article 1: Membership
Section 1: Purpose of Membership
The purpose of a membership is to provide a means of protection for this local church assembly from the infiltration of heresy, the world, the flesh and the devil. It is necessary to establish who may exercise the privilege of voting, holding leadership positions in the local church assembly’s government and ministry, and participation in other activities as stated under Section 3 of these by-laws.
Section 2: Reception of Members
(a) In accordance with the qualifications described in Article 5 of the Constitution of this local church assembly, reception of members is by recommendation of the Pastors and vote of the membership under the following guidelines:
(1) Candidates for church membership shall be interviewed by the Pastors who shall hear testimony of their faith in Christ, obedience in baptism, and agreement with the Covenant and the Statement of Faith of the Constitution. The Pastors shall then prescribe any restrictions they may deem advisable for the best interest of the candidate and the church body. Having been recommended by the Pastors, the candidate shall then be recommended to the membership for acceptance or rejection by majority vote.
(2) Candidates may be accepted by letter of transfer from another assembly of like faith and practice, after an interview with the Pastors.
(3) Candidates may also be recommended for membership through the process of restoration. Candidates whose membership has been previously dissolved for disciplinary reasons, may be restored to membership subsequent to confession and repentance of their error, and through the normal process of a new membership as described in Article 1, Section 2(a)(1) of these By-Laws.
(4) Dissolved memberships may request reinstatement through the process described in Article 1, Section 2(a)(1) of these By-Laws.
(5) Candidates may be required to attend a membership class informing membership candidates of the nature and procedures of the Constitution and By-Laws of this church assembly. The total scope and length of the class will be determined through the interview with the Pastor(s) and shall be held prior to their reception into the membership of this local assembly.
(b) Transfers to Vienna who need a church home for a period of time, not to exceed 4 years, may apply for membership as an associate member. The same qualifications outlined in Article 1, Section 2(a)(1) are also applicable for candidates seeking associate membership. The result is membership privileges in service and pastoral care, without severing the church relationship in their home city. This option is only available for those who are positioned in Vienna for a temporary situation (job, study, etc.). Associate members do not have voting rights in the church assembly.
Section 3: Responsibilities of Members
(a) To live in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:27; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 1:17-19; Romans 6:3-14) as pointed out in the Covenant set forth in the Constitution.
(b) To honor, pray for and serve with the Pastor(s) and Deacons; to submit to the Biblical exercise of their spiritual oversight and to manifest proper consideration for their responsibility and accountability before God (Hebrews 13:17).
(c) To engage faithfully in church attendance (Hebrews 10:25), and in the work of the ministry by the prayerful use of spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:15-16), and to contribute regularly and cheerfully as God enables to the needs of the ministry of this assembly.
(d) To uphold and support the Constitution and By-Laws of this local assembly.
(e) Voting and office holding shall be limited to members 18 years old and above.
(f) A new believer (one year or less), shall not hold a place of leadership in the government or ministry of this assembly (1 Timothy 3:6).
Section 4: Dissolution of Membership
(a) By death.
(b) By letter. Members, at their request and with the Pastor(s)’ and Deacons’ consent, may have their membership transferred to the assembly with which they wish to unite.
(c) By exclusion. Gross misconduct or disregard for this Constitution, Statement of Faith or Church Covenant, and failure to submit to the Biblical process of discipline and restoration (Matt. 18:15-18; Galatians 6:1), will warrant exclusion from this assembly. Exclusion is accomplished by recommendation of the Pastor(s) and by a majority vote of the membership.
(d) By removal. Any member requesting withdrawal, or who is habitually absent from the fellowship and support of this local assembly without valid reason, or who fails to report to the church for a period of one year may be removed from church membership by the Pastor(s) after prayer, personal care and careful consideration.
Article 2: Pastors
Understanding that the terms Pastor, Overseer, Elder and Bishop all refer to the same office, the term Pastor has been chosen to refer to this office.
Section 1: Function of the Senior Pastor and Assistant Pastors
(a) The shepherding function and responsibilities of the Pastor(s) are clearly outlined in the Bible (1 Timothy 3:1-7 & Titus 1:5-11). The following is an example listing of what the Bible gives as the functions and responsibilities to the Pastor(s):
(1) Oversee or manage - give direction to the entire ministry of the local assembly. The title bishop or overseer implies this (1 Timothy 3:5).
(2) Shepherd - under the authority of Christ, the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit, direct the affairs and ministry of the local assembly (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 5:17).
(3) Be an example - (1 Peter 5:3).
(4) Lead without lording over the flock - (1 Peter 5:3).
(5) Guard the flock - (Acts 20:28).
(6) Refute false teachers - (Titus 1:9).
(7) Provide for the (spiritual) feeding of the flock - (Acts 20:28).
(8) Teach and exhort - (Titus 1:9 cf.; 1 Timothy 3:2; Hebrews 13:7).
(9) Example and Lead in prayer - (1 Tim. 2:1-8; 1 Thes. 5:17; 1 Pet. 5:3).
(b) The Pastor(s) shall lead in the administration of the ordinances described in Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution, regarding the ordinances of the church.
(c) The Pastor(s) shall meet regularly with the Deacons for prayer, planning, coordination and direction for ministry to the assembly. Special meetings may be called at any time by the Senior Pastor, or upon request of the majority of the Deacons. The Pastor(s) and Deacons shall choose out from amongst themselves those authorized to sign for banking transactions involving church funds on an annual basis.
(d) Congregational members desiring to present a concern to either the Pastor(s) or Deacons may do so by contacting any Pastor or Deacon indicating the subject to be presented and requesting permission to be placed on the agenda at their next meeting.
(e) The Senior Pastor shall lead in the regular meetings and shall work with the Chairman of the Deacons in setting the agenda. A Deacon shall also serve as a secretary and shall keep records of the meetings, and in conjunction with the Pastor, conduct all official correspondence of the assembly.
(f) In the case of a vacancy of the position of the Senior Pastor, the Assistant Pastors and Deacons, with other appointed members of the congregational membership, shall constitute a Pastoral Search Committee.
(g) The primary responsibility of the Senior Pastor shall be to feed the flock of God in a full time capacity, impartially admonishing, entreating and caring for the saints. He is to do so through counseling, teaching and preaching the whole counsel of God’s Word. As a leader among the Pastors and Deacons, he shall devote himself to the development of the spiritual maturity and leadership of the Pastors and Deacons as he meets with and disciples them and assists them in their various shepherding responsibilities. He shall lead in administering of the ordinances of the assembly, and conduct those weddings and funerals he agrees to conduct. The primary responsibilities inherent in the shepherding ministry of the Pastors shall be decided amongst themselves concerning the areas of ministry on which each will concentrate.
Section 2: Qualifications of Pastors
(a) All candidates for Pastor or Assistant Pastor shall be men who are active members of this assembly, and who conform to the qualifications set forth in the Bible (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
(b) Note Article 1, Section 3(d) and Article 1, Section 3(e) of these By-Laws.
Section 3: Selection and Tenure of Pastor and Assistant Pastors
(1) He shall be called to his position upon recommendation of the Pastoral Search Committee, and by an 80% approval vote of the congregational members present at a business meeting called for that purpose. Voting shall be by secret ballot, and the candidate shall not be present when the vote is cast by the assembly. Upon being called, and the candidate’s acceptance of that call, he shall automatically become a voting member of both this assembly and the Deacons.
(2) He shall hold this office as long as it is apparent to him, the Deacons and the assembly that he is displaying the Biblical qualifications of an Overseer, properly carrying out the responsibilities of his office and called by God to serve the assembly in this capacity.
(3) His wages or “double honor” (1 Timothy 5:17-18) allowances, vacation, etc. shall be fixed by the Deacons and approved by the membership at the time of his call. These shall be reviewed annually by the Deacons, and changes may be made at any regular or special business meeting.
(b) Pastoral Search Committee
(1) Upon a vacancy in the office of Senior Pastor/Overseer, the Deacons shall appoint representatives from the congregational membership to serve with them as a Pastoral Search Committee. The Chairman of the Deacons shall be the Chairman of this committee and the Secretary of the Deacons shall be the committee Secretary. The Pastoral Search Committee is encouraged to maintain confidentiality in their deliberations while also using judgment in keeping the congregation informed of their progress.
(2) The Pastoral Search Committee shall consider only one potential Pastoral candidate at a time. If the Pastoral candidate is currently serving in a Pastoral ministry, it is required that the candidate both request prayer for and inform his current congregation that he is being considered for the Pastoral ministry in another assembly, and that it is his intention to seek the Lord’s will for this consideration. (Exceptions to this requirement will be considered on a case by case basis.)
(3) The Pastoral Search Committee may secure the services of an Interim Pastor with the approval of the congregational membership.
(4) The duties of the Pastoral Search Committee shall be to thoroughly explore the field, beginning with this assembly, for men who are available to call and whose belief is in keeping with all the doctrines in the Constitution of this assembly. The committee shall thoroughly investigate each prospective candidate as to the qualifications listed in these By-Laws. The potential candidate shall spend a minimum three days in this community acquainting himself with this assembly. He shall teach or preach a minimum of twice, preferably three or more times, and shall have opportunity to visit and fellowship with this assembly before he is recommended to the membership for a vote. The committee shall only present to the church the name of one Pastoral candidate at a time and only such as they unanimously agree as being a man they can recommend. The committee shall then extend a call to the candidate if an affirmative vote of 80% of all the ballots cast by the congregational membership is made.
(5) Following the approval by the congregational membership of the candidate for Senior Pastor, the Pastoral Search Committee shall send a letter in duplicate, setting forth the terms of the call, make a place available for the signature of the Chairman of the Pastoral Search Committee and the Pastoral candidate. The call is considered final when the acceptance is received from the prospective Pastor.
(c) Assistant Pastors
(1) They shall be called to their office by a three-fourths majority of the voting members present at a business meeting called for that purpose. Voting approval shall be by secret ballot. They will assume their office immediately following the meeting in which they are approved.
(2) If it is the conviction of any voting member of the congregation that a certain man in the assembly exhibits the Biblical qualifications of an Assistant Pastor or Deacon, they may bring his name to the Pastor and Deacons for their careful and prayerful consideration and examination for recommendation to the congregational membership. If the proposed candidate is a qualified member, and if he is in agreement with his nomination, he will then be recommended to the congregation for prayerful consideration for at least four weeks before he is brought to the membership for an approval vote.
(3) Approval to the office of Assistant Pastor or Deacon is not a “lifetime appointment,” but he shall hold his office as long as it is apparent to him, the Senior Pastor, the other Deacons and this assembly that he is displaying the Biblical qualifications of his office, properly carrying out the responsibilities of his office and called by God to serve in this assembly.
(4) There shall be no set number of men who can hold this office in the assembly, however the number of Assistant Pastors and/or Deacons shall be as God provides and according to the needs of the assembly.
(d) Removal of Pastors or Deacons
If there is an accusation of sin concerning any particular leader, including the Senior Pastor, then at least two witnesses with the question or accusation should contact the Pastor and/or Deacons with their concern. In the event the Deacons consider the accusation sound and the accused refuses to repent after a first and second admonition, the issue will be brought before the entire assembly by the Pastor and/or Deacons, and if stubbornness prevails, he will be suspended from the fellowship of this assembly by a two-thirds majority vote of the voting membership present at a meeting called for this purpose (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 5:19-20). The voting shall be by secret ballot. This suspension shall include termination of the leader’s membership and the admonitions found in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15. As prescribed in the Bible, the goal of this disciplinary action is to win the individual back to obedience of the Gospel of Christ (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).
(e) Resignation of Pastor or Overseers
(1) The Pastor may resign at anytime and it shall be in writing to the Chairman of the Deacons. It is requested that he do so at least sixty days in advance.
(2) Resignation of Pastors shall be in writing to the Chairman of the Deacons, and shall be effective on the date specified in the resignation.
Article 3: Deacons
Section 1: Function of Deacons
(a) As the need becomes apparent to the Pastor(s) and/or this assembly, service offices requiring capable, spiritual leadership shall be established and the men filling these offices will be designated Deacons. Deacons shall be responsible to the Pastor(s) and this assembly in their service. Deacons may choose or appoint Biblically qualified men or women from this assembly to serve or assist in their efforts to accomplish the ministry they are assigned.
(b) The Deacons shall meet regularly for prayer and coordination of service as the needs of the assembly and facilities require. They shall also meet with the Pastor(s) at regular and appropriate times for prayer, planning, coordination and direction for ministry to this assembly.
(c) The specific functions and job descriptions of a particular Deacon’s ministry shall be worked out between the Pastors and the Deacons.
(d) Each Deacon may choose or appoint individuals or a committee from the men and women of this congregation to assist and advise him in their efforts to accomplish the ministry they are called to.
Section 2: Qualifications of Deacons
All those men holding the office of Deacon shall be active members of this assembly, in good standing, and who conform to the qualifications set forth in the Bible (Acts 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
Section 3: Selection and Tenure of Deacons
(a) The assembly shall annually choose from its membership men to serve in the office of Deacon. Recommendation from any congregational member for men to serve in the office of Deacon shall be submitted to the Pastor(s) at least four weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. After careful and prayerful consideration, if the proposed candidate is a qualified member, and if he’s in agreement with his nomination, he’ll then be recommended to the congregation for prayerful consideration for at least three weeks before the Annual Meeting where he’ll be brought to the membership for a secret ballot approval vote. If the nominee is approved by a three-fourths majority of the voting members present at the Annual Membership Meeting, he will assume office and become a Deacon immediately following his approval. Each Deacon shall serve until the next Annual Meeting (the last Sunday in January).
(b) In the case of the need for the selection of a Deacon during the course of the year, the same process stated above (Article 3, Section 3(a)) will be followed, except the membership approval vote will take place at a special meeting called and set by the Pastor(s).
(c) There shall be no set number of men who can hold this office in the assembly, however the number of Deacons shall be as God provides and according to the needs of the assembly.
Section 4: Removal and Resignations of Deacons
(The same process as with the Pastors).
Article 4: Organization of the Corporation
The officers of this corporation shall be as follows:
Section 1: Board of Directors: The combined Pastors and Deacons.
Section 2: President: The Senior Pastor.
Section 3: Vice President: The Chairman from the Deacons.
Section 4: Secretary: The Secretary from the combined Pastors and Deacons.
Section 5: Treasurer: A member of the congregation for at least one year, who has ability in financial management skills and is voted on by a three-fourths majority of the assembly.
Article 5: Meetings
Section 1: For Worship
Regular Sunday and midweek assemblies shall be held for public worship, prayer, praise and Bible study. As circumstances allow, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed on the last Sunday of the month.
Section 2: For Special Purposes
Special meetings for the purpose of baptism, prayer, evangelism, Bible study, missionary work, etc., may be held throughout the year.
Section 3: For Annual Meeting
An Annual Meeting will be held to conduct regular business of the church, such as the approval of Deacons, budget approval, and other timely business matters. This meeting will be held on the last Sunday of January. Public notice shall be given from the pulpit and/or the bulletin (a minimum of) two Sundays in advance stating in general terms the business to be transacted.
Section 4: For Special Business
(a) Special meetings for the business transactions may be called any time provided a public notice is given from the pulpit and/or the bulletin a minimum of two Sundays in advance stating in general terms the business to be transacted. These meetings are to be called for through the cooperation and planning with the Pastor(s) and Deacons.
(b) At meetings where a vote is necessary, 33% of the voting members will constitute a quorum.
(c) All questions not clearly defined in this constitution shall be settled by the combined Pastors and Deacons with general consent of the membership.
Article 6: Voting approval for various business transactions:
Type of Business Approval Required
Approval of Overseers and Deacons Three-fourths majority vote
Budget Approval Majority of members present
Reception of New Members Majority of members present
New Major Ministries Majority of members present
Obligating Church Indebtedness Majority of members present
Exclusion of Disciplined Members Majority of members present
Calling of Pastor 80% of returned ballots
Purchase or Sale of Property Majority of members present
Constitutional or By-Laws Change Two-thirds of members present
Termination of Pastor Two-thirds of members present
Article 7: Auxiliary Organizations
Section 1: All officers and teachers of auxiliary organizations shall be members in good standing of this assembly.
Section 2: If drafted, the constitution of any auxiliary organization shall not conflict with the constitution or by-laws of this assembly.
Section 3: Meetings of the auxiliary organizations shall not conflict with the meetings of this assembly and shall be under the oversight of the Overseers.
Article 8: Ordination
If, at any time a man requests ordination, this assembly, by a three-fourths affirmative vote of the qualified voters present at a specially called meeting, determines that a man possesses the Biblical qualifications, calling and training for ordination, a time may be set and a council called to examine such candidate. It is recommended that this council consist of the Pastors and Deacons of this assembly, any other local Pastors agreed upon by the Pastor and Deacons of this assembly, as well as an invitation extended to other Pastors and Deacons from assemblies of like faith and practice to participate on this council. Upon receiving a favorable report from this council, this assembly shall set a time and place for the ordination service.
Article 9: By-Laws Amendments
These By-Laws may be repealed, amended or added to at the annual business meeting, or any other meeting of the assembly called for that purpose, by a two-thirds majority vote of the qualified voters present provided that the proposed amendments and notice of the meeting have been submitted in writing to this assembly at least two weeks previous to the meeting. No such By-Laws shall be amended or adopted which shall conflict with or void any provision of the Constitution.