Member's covenant

The constitution & Bylaws

Preamble

Since it pleased Almighty God, by his Holy Spirit, to call some of his servants to unite here in Lynchburg, Va, under the name Christ Covenant Fellowship to worship God and to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, we, the members of Christ Covenant Fellowship adopt this constitution and bylaws as our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of Jesus Christ and bring Him glory, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated in the statement of faith and covenant of this church.

Constitution

Article 1 – Name

 

1.1. The name of this church is: Christ Covenant Fellowship

 

Article 2 – Purpose

2.1. This church exists by the grace of God, for the glory of God, which shall be the ultimate purpose in all activities.

 

2.2. This church glorifies God by loving Him and obeying His commands through:

  • Worshipping Him.

  • Equipping the saints through Bible instruction and study.

  • Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching and personal

    evangelism, and any other means consistent with the teachings of Holy Scripture.

  • Encouraging, supporting, and participating in local, domestic, and global missions.

  • Administering the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper.

  • Encouraging Biblical fellowship among believers.

  • Serving other individuals, families, and churches by providing for physical,

    emotional, and spiritual needs, in the name of Jesus Christ.

  • Calling fellow churches to biblical faithfulness and purity through instruction and

    encouragement about the local church's purpose and its nature.

Article 3 – Affiliation

 

3.1. Christ Covenant Fellowship operates as an independent church with its own governance structure. The church may affiliate with any like-minded churches, associations, or denominations to further its purposes.

 

Bylaws

 

Article 4 - Membership

 

Section 1 – Qualifications

 

4.1.1. To qualify for membership in this church, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ who: gives evidence of regeneration, has been baptized by immersion following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible.

 

4.1.2. Each member must agree to submit to the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith and promise to keep the Church Covenant commitments.

 

4.1.3. The elders shall be responsible for determining each person's qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on a person's profession of faith, or such other evidence, as the elders deem appropriate.

 

4.1.4. Children will be considered for membership if, Art. 4, Sec. 4, Cl. 1 and Art. 4, Sec. 4, Cl. 2. have been thoroughly observed, but voting rights at members meetings will be reserved for those 16 years of age and older.

 

Section 2. Admission of Members

4.2.1. To be admitted into church membership, applicants shall be recommended by the elders for admission and must be accepted by vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches except for cases of provisional membership (see section 7).

 

Section 3. Duties and Privileges of Membership

 

Members are expected to participate actively in the life of the church by:

 

4.3.1. regularly attending its Lord's Day meetings;

 

4.3.2. faithfully observing its ordinances, namely, baptism and the Lord's Supper;

 

4.3.3. submitting to its discipline and instruction;

 

4.3.4. attending its members' meetings;

 

4.3.5. voting on the church's governing documents (constitution, statement of faith, and covenant) and all other matters submitted to the congregation at a members' meeting. 4.3.6. contributing to the church's ministry consistent with the gifts, time, and resources each has received from God.

 

4.3.7. No person who is not a member shall lead any ministry or hold any church office.

 

Section 4. Members' Meeting Responsibilities

 

The church, duly assembled in a members' meeting, shall be responsible to:

 

4.4.1. elect and remove elders, deacons/deaconesses, and other officers; 4.4.2. receive applicants into membership;

 

4.4.3. recognize that membership has been terminated by death, apostasy, or voluntary resignation;

 

4.4.4. exercise church discipline;

 

4.4.5. approve an annual budget;

 

4.4.6. hear reports from the elders and, from time to time, the various deacons/deaconesses; and,

 

4.4.7. take any other action it deems necessary or desirable.

 

Section 5. On Church Discipline

 

4.5.1. Any member consistently neglectful of his or her duties or guilty of unrepentant conduct contrary to the principles of Scripture, and so opposing the welfare of the church, may be subject to the admonition of the elders and the discipline of the church, according to the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17, 1 Corinthians 5, and other Scriptures.

 

4.5.2. Church discipline, then, should ordinarily be considered after individual private admonition has failed.

 

4.5.3. Church discipline can include admonition by the elders or congregation, deposition from office, and excommunication (see Matthew 18: 15–17; 1 Timothy 5: 19–20; 1 Corinthians 5: 4–5).

 

4.5.4. The purpose of such discipline should be for:

  • Repentance, reconciliation, restoration and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined (see Proverbs 15: 5; 29: 15; I Corinthians 4: 14; Ephesians 6: 4; I Timothy 3: 4–5; Hebrews 12: 1–11; Psalm 119: 115; 141: 5; Proverbs 17: 10; 25: 12; 27: 5; Ecclesiastes 7: 5; Matthew 7: 26–27; 18: 15–17; Luke 17: 3; Acts 2: 40; I Corinthians 5: 5; Galatians 6: 1–5; II Thessalonians 3: 6, 14–15; I Timothy 1: 20; Titus 1: 13–14; James 1: 22);

  • For the instruction in righteousness and the good of other Christians, as an example to them (see Proverbs 13: 20; Romans 15: 14; I Corinthians 5: 11; 15: 33; Colossians 3: 16; I Thessalonians 5: 14 [note this is written to the whole church, not just to leaders]; I Timothy 5: 20; Titus 1: 11; Hebrews 10: 24– 25); For the purity of the church as a whole (see I Corinthians 5: 6–7; II Corinthians 13: 10; Ephesians 5: 27; II John 10; Jude 24; Revelation 21: 2);

  • For the good of our corporate witness to non–Christians (see Proverbs 28: 7; Matthew 5: 13–16; John 13: 35; Acts 5: 1–14; Ephesians 5: 11; I Timothy 3: 7; II Peter 2: 2; I John 3: 10);

  • The purity of the church as a whole (see 1 Corinthians 5:6–7; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Ephesians 5:27; 2 John 10; Jude 24; Revelation 21:2); and Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character (see Deuteronomy 5: 11; I Kings 11: 2; II Chronicles 19: 2; Ezra 6: 21; Nehemiah 9: 2; Isaiah 52: 11; Ezekiel 36: 20; Matthew 5: 16; John 15: 8; 18: 17, 25; Romans 2: 24; 15: 5–6; II Corinthians 6: 14–7: 1; Ephesians 1:4; 5: 27; I Peter 2: 12).

Section 6. Termination of Membership

4.6.1. The church shall recognize the termination of a person's membership following his or her death. It shall also acknowledge the termination of a person's membership following his or her self-professed apostasy, as confirmed by the congregational vote.

 

4.6.2. Additionally, the church may recognize the termination of a person's membership after he or she has voluntarily resigned or joined with another gospel-preaching church.

 

4.6.3. membership may also be terminated as an act of church discipline (ordinarily, but not necessarily, at the elders' recommendation) upon the vote of at least two-thirds of the members present at any regular or special meeting of the members.

 

4.6.4. The church shall have the authority to refuse a member's voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, either to proceed with a process of church discipline or for any other biblical reason.

 

Section 7. Provisional Membership

 

Provisional membership will help to ensure that no member of the Christ’s Church is without discipleship, care, and community while away from their primary place of residence.

 

4.7.1.The church shall consider those who are transient members of the community (i.e.college students, traveling employees, etc.) for provisional membership if they are able and plan to commit to the church body for at least a year and meet the same requirements laid out in Art. 4, Sec. 1, Cl. 1 and Art. 4, Sec. 1, Cl. 2.

 

4.7.2. Provisional membership will be in partnership with the individual's home church if the individual plans to return to their home church upon departure from the CCF family. CCF will contact the home church to ensure the individual is in good standing and if so, will work together with the home church to care for the individual while they are absent from the body of believers that gather under the home church's name.

 

Article 5. Meetings

 

Section 1. Worship Meetings

 

5.1.1. The church shall meet together for public worship each Lord's Day and at other times throughout the week as the church may determine.

 

Section 2. Members' Meetings

 

5.2.1. In every meeting together, members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration, which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

5.2.2. There shall be a regular members' meeting at least every other month, at some time apart from a public worship service agreed upon by the membership.

 

5.2.3. An elder designated by the elders shall preside as moderator at all members' meetings of the church. The elders shall see that the church's stated meetings are regularly held and that required reports are submitted to the church by the responsible members.

5.2.4. Provided all constitutional provisions for notification have been met, a quorum shall be understood to be completed by those members present. All votes shall be tallied based on the number of votes cast by members present.

 

5.2.5. A budget shall be approved by the membership at a members' meeting not more than three months after the start of the fiscal year. Congregational approval shall proceed, without amendment, as a single vote on the budget in its entirety. Prior to this approval and subject to the elders' discretion, expenditures may continue at the prior year's level.

 

5.2.6. At any regular or special members' meeting, officers may be elected and positions filled as needed, so long as all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.

 

5.2.7. Special members' meetings may be called as required by the elders or submitted to the elders of five percent of the voting membership at the written request. The date, time, and purpose of any special meeting shall be announced at all church public services within two weeks preceding the meeting.

 

5.2.8. In the event of a written request from the members, the elders shall call a special meeting to be held within one month of their request receipt.

 

Article 6. Officers

 

Section 1. Summary

 

6.1.1. The biblical offices in the church are elders and deacons. All officers must be members of this church before assuming their responsibilities.

Section 2. Elders

 

6.2.1. Subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the church's ministry, resources, legal, business, and facilities.

 

6.2.2. The board of elders shall be composed of men who satisfy the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 and who shall carry out their duties in accordance with 1 Peter 5:1-4.

 

6.2.3. Elders shall be recognized as follows: The elders may present the name of a nominee (or nominees) to the church at any regular members' meeting. For at least a month, the church shall consider whether the nominee is (or nominees are) qualified. Any member intending to vote against a nominee should express their objection to at least one elder as early as possible before the vote. Once at least a month has passed, the elders may move the nomination(s) to a vote at a regular members' meeting. The members shall vote on nominees one at a time. The moderator or his delegates shall count the votes. Any nominee immediately shall become an elder who receives the approval of at least three-quarters of the members present and voting on his nomination. In due haste after the vote, the church shall publicly recognize and set apart all such newly approved elders.

 

6.2.4. In accordance with 1 Timothy 2:12 and 3:2, women shall not serve as elders.

 

6.2.5. With the exception of the preaching elder (also called the lead pastor) and associate pastors, elders shall be reaffirmed by a vote of the church triennially, and having served two consecutive three-year terms, shall not be eligible for reelection for one year. Neither a lead pastor nor an associate pastor shall be subject to any term limit.

 

6.2.6. No elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.

 

6.2.7. The board of elders shall choose its chairman and other officers. In accordance with Virginia's nonprofit corporation laws, the board shall serve as the board of trustees of the corporation, and the elders shall designate the lead pastor or another elder to serve as the president of the corporation.

 

6.2.8. The elders shall, in keeping with Scripture (especially Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:14; and 1 Peter 5:1-5), take responsibility to shepherd God's flock by devoting themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. They shall have particular authority to:

 

6.2.9. plan and oversee worship services;

 

6.2.10. oversee the ordinances, namely baptism, and the Lord's Supper;

 

6.2.11. examine and instruct prospective members;

 

6.2.12. oversee the process of church discipline;

 

6.2.13. examine and recommend candidates for all offices and positions;

 

6.2.14. oversee the work of deacons, deaconesses, and all other agents of the church;

 

6.2.15. give final oversight, when necessary, to the hiring and termination of non-elder church staff, as ordinarily conducted by the lead pastor; and

 

6.2.16. take any other action which shall be necessary and proper for faithfully overseeing and shepherding the church.

 

6.2.17. Annually, after consulting with the deacons, deaconesses, and church members, the elders shall present to the church an itemized budget. This budget shall be presented for discussion at a specially called meeting and moved to a vote on the budget as a whole at the following members' meeting. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the elders' approval.

 

6.2.18. An elder shall be removed from office upon the vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:17-21.

 

Section 3. The Lead Pastor

 

6.3.1. Primary responsibility for preaching and teaching the Scriptures in public meetings of the church will be vested in the lead pastor. As defined below, and in accordance with the nonprofit corporation laws of Virginia, the elders shall designate the lead pastor or another elder to serve as the president of the corporation.

 

6.3.2. If the lead pastor is absent or incapacitated, the elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which may be delegated to someone biblically qualified to perform such duties.

 

6.3.3. The lead pastor shall be selected as follows: The elders shall present the name of one nominee to the position of preaching elder at a regular members meeting. For at least a month, the church shall consider the nominee's gifts in preaching and teaching, his commitment to minister personally to the members of this church, and his wholehearted assent to the statement of faith and church covenant. Any member intending to vote against a nominee should express his or her objection to at least one elder as early as possible before the vote. Once at least a month has passed, the elders may move the nomination to a vote at a regular members' meeting. The moderator or his delegates shall count the votes. If the nominee receives the approval of at least three-quarters of the members present and voting on his nomination, he shall immediately be the preaching elder (and, if he is not yet an elder and member, also an elder and member). In a reasonable time after the vote, the church shall publicly recognize and set apart the lead pastor. Cf. Art. 6, Sec. 4, Cl. 2 (selection process for the associate pastor).

 

6.3.4. The lead pastor shall meet all the qualifications and hold all of a church member's rights and responsibilities. He shall meet all the qualifications and hold all the duties and

responsibilities of an elder. In terms of formal authority, there shall be no distinction between an elder and a preaching elder.

 

6.3.5. The lead pastor shall not be subject to any term limit.

 

6.3.6. The lead pastor shall be removed from office upon the vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:17-21.

 

6.3.7. The lead pastor shall have primary responsibility for the supervision and evaluation of staff members. This responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to another staff member.

Section 4. Associate Pastors

 

6.4.1. The church may call additional pastors whose relationship to the preaching elder (or lead pastor) is that of associate. Other pastoral responsibilities may be vested in one or more associate pastors.

 

6.4.2. An associate pastor shall be selected in the same manner as the lead pastor. See Art. 6, Sec. 3, Cl. 3.

 

6.4.3. An associate pastor shall meet all the qualifications and hold all of a church member's rights and responsibilities. He shall meet all the qualifications and hold all the duties and responsibilities of an elder. In terms of formal authority, there shall be no distinction between an elder and an associate pastor.

 

6.4.4. An associate pastor shall not be subject to any term limit.

 

6.4.5. An associate pastor shall be removed from office upon the vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:17-21.

 

Section 5. Assistant Pastors

 

6.5.1. The church may call additional pastors, from within the congregation only, whose relationship to the lead pastor is assistant.

 

6.5.2. An assistant pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above.

 

6.5.3. His call shall be subject to the triennial reaffirmation and term limitation set out in Art. 6, Sec. 2, Cl. 5. for elders. His call shall be defined as per Art. 6, Sec. 3, Cl. 3.

6.5.4. He shall assist the lead pastor and associate pastor(s) in the performance of their regular duties. He shall perform any other duties as usually pertain to the office of pastor. The elders shall define the responsibilities of the assistant pastor(s) on a case by case basis.

 

Section 6. Deacons/Deaconesses

6.6.1. Particular service to the church shall be provided by deacons/deaconesses, who will vary in number depending on the church's needs, and who shall satisfy the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

 

6.6.2. The deacons/deaconesses shall not meet together regularly as a body. Each diaconate position shall serve a particular need of the church and shall be created or dissolved upon the elders' recommendation, and the later agreement of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

6.6.3. Deacons/deaconesses shall be recognized as follows: The elders may present the name of a nominee (or nominees) to the church at any regular members' meeting. For at least a month, the church shall consider whether the nominee is (or nominees are) qualified. Any member intending to vote against a nominee should express his or her objection to at least one elder as early as possible before the vote. Once at least a month has passed, the elders may move the nomination(s) to a vote at a regular members' meeting. The members shall vote on nominees one at a time. The moderator or his delegates shall count the votes. Any nominee immediately shall become a deacon (or deaconess) who receives the approval of at least two-thirds of the members present and voting on his (or her) nomination. In due haste after the vote, the church shall publicly recognize and set apart all such newly approved deacons.

 

6.6.4. Deacons/deaconesses shall be elected to one term lasting for a maximum of two years and, having served one two-year term, shall not be eligible for reelection for one year.

 

6.6.5. In keeping with the principles in Acts 6:1-6, deacons/deaconesses shall not exercise spiritual authority but shall enable the elders to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word, work to maintain the unity of the church, and care for the physical needs of the church.

 

6.6.6. The church may recognize deacons/deaconesses to take responsibility to: 6.6.7. care for the temporal needs of members,

 

6.6.8. attend to the accommodations for public worship, and

 

6.6.9. encourage, support, and mobilize those able to help others and those with gifts of administration.

 

6.6.10. The deacons and deaconesses shall receive, hold, and disburse, upon approval from two elders, a fund for benevolence, reporting on its use to the elders at their request, and reporting to the church only its total receipts and total disbursements.

 

6.6.11. With the elders' agreement, the deacons and deaconesses may establish unpaid administrative positions or committees of members to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities in the church.

 

6.6.12. A deacon/deaconess may be removed from office upon the recommendation of the elders and the later vote of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

Article 7. Administration

 

Section 1. President

 

7.1.1. The elders' designee, whether the lead pastor or another elder, shall serve as president of the corporation, assuming all its responsibilities and other responsibilities delegated by the board of elders. The president shall have general supervision and direction of the business and affairs of the church. The president shall recuse himself from any board discussion and vote regarding his duties, responsibilities, and compensation. The president or chairman of the board of elders shall execute any necessary documents on behalf of the church, except where the board expressly delegates that responsibility to some other officer or agent of the church.

 

Section 2. Clerk

 

7.2.1. The clerk shall record the minutes of all regular and special members' meetings of the church. In compliance with Virginia's nonprofit corporation laws, the clerk shall serve as the secretary of the corporation.

 

7.2.2. The clerk shall be a member of the church. The clerk shall not be an elder.

 

7.2.3. The clerk shall be elected to a renewable term of one year upon the recommendation of the elders and the later agreement of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

7.2.4. The clerk may be removed from office by a majority vote of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

Section 3. Finance Team

 

7.3.1. The Finance Team shall comprise a minimum of three members holding the roles of Chair of the Finance Team, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary. Additional member can be added to the team at the recommendation of the elders and the later agreement of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting

 

7.3.2. The Chair of the Finance Team shall also be an elder of the church. Primary responsibilities relate to the oversight of the members of the Finance Team and a liaison between the Finance Team and the elders.

 

7.3.3. The treasurer shall ensure that all church funds and securities are appropriately secured in the banks, financial institutions, or depositories held by the church. The treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church.The treasurer shall provide to the Chair of the Finance Team an account of all financial transactions since the last complete account and the church's financial condition. The treasurer shall also present

reports of the account balances, revenues, and church expenses at regular members' meetings.

 

7.3.4. The treasurer shall be elected to a renewable term of one year upon the recommendation of the elders and the later agreement of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

7.3.5. The treasurer shall be a member of the church. No elder or paid staff member of the church may serve as treasurer.

 

7.3.6. The treasurer shall be removed from office upon the recommendation of the elders and the later vote of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

7.3.7. The financial secretary shall ensure that all financial gifts and offerings are appropriately counted and secured in the banks, financial institutions, or depositories held by the church.

7.3.8. The financial secretary shall be elected to a renewable term of one year upon the recommendation of the elders and the later agreement of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

7.3.9. The financial secretary shall be a member of the church. No elder may serve as financial secretary.

 

7.3.10. The financial secretary shall be removed from office upon the recommendation of the elders and the later vote of a majority of the members present and voting on the question at any members' meeting.

 

Article 8. Amendments

 

8.1. The statement of faith or church covenant shall be amended upon the elders' recommendation and the agreement of three-quarters of the members voting on the question at any regular members' meeting, provided the amendment was presented by the elders in writing at a previous regular members' meeting and was announced at every public meeting of the church during the two weeks immediately before the vote.

 

8.2. This constitution shall be amended upon the recommendation of the elders and the agreement of two-thirds of the members voting on the question at any regular members' meeting, provided the amendment was presented by the elders in writing at a previous regular members' meeting and was announced at every public meeting of the church during the two weeks immediately before the vote.

 

Article 9. Dispute Resolution

 

9.1. Believing that the Bible commands Christians to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian church (see, e.g., Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 6:1-8), the church shall urge its members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically-based principles, without resorting to the civil courts.

 

9.2. In the case of alleged criminal behavior, it may be appropriate to resolve conflict in the criminal courts, not least because such alleged criminal behavior may in some instances legally be required to be reported to the government authorities (see Romans 13:3-4.

 

9.3. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the church shall encourage members to use biblical principles and avoid lawsuits to resolve disputes among themselves and those outside the church—including believers and unbelievers, and individuals and corporations. The elders may adopt policies and procedures to encourage the church to live up to these aspirations.