XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church—items like job descriptions, employment applications, review forms and policies. Below is the Original Constitution, Draft 12 of the editing process, and the new Constitution of Christ Community Church of Laguna Hills, California.
Tim Shoemaker, an Elder at the church writes: “Here is the Original Constitution; Draft 12 has the mark-ups of the final changes that we did and why we did them. Each of the twelve drafts had several sub-drafts, so there were many months of editing before this was finalized. Draft 1 was done in January, 2001, draft 12 in February, 2007 and the new constitution was ratified in May, 2007. It was quite a process of editing. Finally, the new Church Constitution.”
Below shows the new Constitution. You can view the original Constitution, as well as Draft 12, from the PDFs below this article.
Article I. Name
We, the members of the Christ Community Church of Laguna Hills, in order to set forth our stand on the Word of God and to facilitate the orderly transaction of business, do ordain and establish the following articles to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.
Article II. Statement of Faith
Christ Community Church of Laguna Hills holds to the March 2007 Revised and published Statement of Faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (see Appendix A). It shall use this Statement of Faith for its publications and for Elder and membership qualifications. If this Statement of Faith is further revised or rejected by the Evangelical Free Church of America, these changes shall be published and considered by the Elders with recommendations to the congregation through the process prescribed in this Constitution.
Article III. Purpose
The purpose of this church is to make the pursuit of God and the advancement of His Kingdom the central priority of our lives by being and making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Article IV. Affiliation
This church shall be affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America and with the West District of said denomination. While so affiliated, this church shall remain independent, self-governing and its own highest authority under God.
Article V. Membership
A. Qualifications for Membership
Any person who professes faith in Jesus Christ, has been baptized, is at least 18 years of age, and has acknowledged agreement with the Statement of Faith and this Constitution shall be eligible for membership in this church. The spirit of this church shall be, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, Jesus Christ.”
B. Admission to Membership
- Application for membership shall be made to the Deacon Board.
- The Deacon Board shall hear the profession of faith of the candidate and consider the faith and life of the applicant. Christian experience, assurance of salvation, subscribing to this Constitution and the Statement of Faith shall be considered.
- Recommendation for admission to membership shall be a unanimous vote of the Deacon Board.
- Any member of the Deacon Board objecting to the admission of an applicant for scriptural and/or constitutional reasons shall state the reason to that Board. The vote for membership by this Board shall be unanimous. Any vote for exclusion shall be cause to refer this matter to the Board of Elders who will ultimately decide whether to recommend the party in question as a member at the next congregational meeting.
- Any applicant not recommended for membership shall be advised by two (2) or more members of the Board of Elders of the reason and shall be given the opportunity to appear before that board to clarify their position.
- Upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders, the names of the candidates shall be announced to the congregation in writing at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting in which they are to be affirmed. Any member of the congregation objecting to the admission of an individual for scriptural and/or constitutional reasons is encouraged to present the evidence to the Board of Elders prior to the congregational meeting.
- Upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders, admission to membership shall be affirmed by the members present at any regularly scheduled or specially called congregational meeting.
- New members shall be announced to the church fellowship at a regularly scheduled worship service.
C. Privileges and Responsibilities
It is the intention of the church in its ministry, teaching and fellowship groups to help every member, by God’s grace, to grow in Christ and the knowledge of His Word. We expect members to participate in the activity of the church, to be in regular attendance at church services, including the Lord’s Supper, to exercise their privilege of voting at congregational meetings, and to make regular financial contributions and be joyful givers as God has prospered them. We urge our members to find a place to serve others in the church and to consider practical expressions of love in their community and the world. (Acts 2:42, Heb. 10:23-25, 1 Cor. 16:2).
D. Termination of Membership
Any member who is absent from all church services for over one (1) year, except for illness, essential occupation or temporary absence from the community, and expresses no interest in attending church, shall automatically cease to be a member of the Christ Community Church of Laguna Hills and shall be advised in writing of the termination of his/her membership.
E. Discipline, Dismissal and Restoration of Members
1. If any member or regular attendee of the church is guilty of gross misconduct or of espousing unsound doctrine contrary to the teachings of the Bible, he is to be dealt with according to the pattern of discipline set forth in Matthew 18:15-17. The restoration of the erring person shall be the single purpose and love the motivating force in these interviews. The following steps will be taken:
- The erring person shall be confronted privately in a loving manner with the intent of clarification and, if warranted, repentance of his or her erring way.
- Should the person acknowledge his or her sin and repent at any point in this procedure, the matter is resolved. Continued service with the church will be decided by the Board of Elders.
- Should the erring person refuse to repent, the confronting member shall meet with the erring person in the presence of one (1) or two (2) witnesses from the congregation in order to further establish the facts and urge repentance. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, the additional witness could include an Elder.
- Should the erring person continue in his or her unrepentant state, the confronting member shall make the matter known to the Board of Elders. The Elders will proceed as they deem appropriate and every person so charged shall have the opportunity to appear before the Board of Elders.
- Should the erring person still refuse to repent, the Board of Elders will make the matter known to the congregation in order to urge individual members to appeal to the erring person. At this time, the Board of Elders shall use official correspondence to urge the erring person to repent.
- Should the erring person remain in an unrepentant state, the Board of Elders shall inform the membership of their disciplinary action at a congregation meeting.
F. Membership Records
The church shall keep membership records containing the name and address of each member, and date of membership.
Article VI. Church Leadership and Duties
A. Church Leaders
- Pastors—to be called.
- Board of Elders—to be nominated by the Elder Nominating Committee and then affirmed by vote of the congregation.
- Administrative Committees Members—to be appointed by the Board of Elders. Committee Chairperson appointed by the Board of Elders and the committee members are affirmed by the Board of Elders unless otherwise specified in the Constitution.
- Pastor(s)—Pastors shall be licensed or ordained ministers who subscribe to this constitution, the church’s statement of faith, and the statement of church values (see Appendix B). All Pastors shall meet the scriptural qualifications of Elders referenced below.
- Board of Elders—The qualifications of the Elders are set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. In addition, an Elder shall be a member in good standing and be at least 21 years of age.
- Administrative Committees—The qualification of those serving on the various ministry committees are set forth in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Likewise they shall be members in good standing.
C. Duties of the Church Leaders
- Pastor(s)—Pastors shall fulfill their divine calling by conducting public services, preaching the Word of God, administering the ordinances of the New Testament, watching over the spiritual welfare of the fellowship and leading its members in accomplishing its purpose (Article III above).
- Senior Pastor—He shall be a member of the Board of Elders and an ex-officio member of all other Boards, committees and organizations of the church. He is to be a leader among leaders.
- Associate Pastors—The Board of Elders may nominate an Associate Pastor to be an Elder candidate, subject to the congregation’s affirmation. They may serve for an indeterminate term. The number of pastoral staff serving on the Elder Board at any one time shall not equal or exceed 50% of the total number of Elders without approval by the congregation.
- Pastors shall be non-voting members in matters concerning their own employment, including salary, performance review, and termination.
- The Board of Elders—The Board of Elders shall have the responsibility to watch over the spiritual life and ministries of the church and shall assist the Pastors in the performance of their duties, and administer the ordinances of the church. It shall have complete responsibility for the administration of all church business subject to the final authority of the congregation. The Board of Elders shall regularly report its decisions to the congregation using appropriate communication which may include letters, emails, special meetings, or announcements during worship services.
- Officers of the Church—The Board of Elders shall elect its own officers, who will also be considered the official officers of the Christ Community Church of Laguna Hills Corporation. These officers will consist of:
- Chairman—Shall preside over all meetings of the Board of Elders. The Chairman shall preside over congregational business meetings and shall assist the Pastor in the work of the church. He shall have power to call meetings involving the Board of Elders and also to call special congregational meetings at the direction of the Board of Elders (see Article XII.D below). He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.
- Vice-Chairman—Shall preside in the absence of the Chairman.
- Secretary—Shall be the Clerk of the church. The secretary shall keep accurate minutes for each board meeting as well as congregational meetings.
- Treasurer—Shall serve as the chairman of the Stewardship Committee.
- Administrative Committees—The duties of the administrative committees shall be determined by the Board of Elders (see Article VII.D below).
D. Terms of Office
- The Pastors—The Pastors shall serve for an indeterminate term.
- Board of Elders—The Elders shall be elected for terms of three (3) fiscal years and, as far as practicable, one-third (1/3) of the Board of Elders shall be elected each year at the annual congregational meeting. An Elder, after serving a full three (3) year term, shall be ineligible for reelection until the lapse of one (1) year.
- Administrative Committees Members—Members are appointed or reappointed each fiscal year.
Article VII. Board of Elders
The Board of Elders shall consist of a minimum of five (5) elected members. The Board of Elders may vary its size subject to approval of the congregation.
B. Vacating of Office
An Elder may be removed from office if he ceases to be a member in good standing, for failure to attend regular meetings of the Board of Elders without reasonable cause or for conduct impairing his efficiency. If, after being admonished, there is no correction, he shall be removed from office upon a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Elders and ratification by the membership (Matt. 18:15-17). An Elder may also resign from the board for personal issues by submitting a letter to the Board of Elders.
C. Board of Elders Vacancies
Any vacancy on the Board of Elders may be filled for the remainder of the term of the vacating Elder. The Board of Elders may appoint a member from the congregation. Any appointment shall be ratified at the next congregational meeting.
D. Administrative Committees
The Board of Elders shall organize itself annually according to the recognition of its members’ spiritual gifts, interests and experience. Each Elder may oversee one (1) or more administrative committees. The Board of Elders may create special committees and appoint sufficient members as it deems necessary for the duration of the need. The Elders may direct additional duties to each committee as the need arises.
- The Following Committees are required:
- Stewardship Committee—Under the direction of the Treasurer (Stewardship Elder), this committee has authority within the limitations of the budget in all matters dealing with the finances of the church. It shall submit in writing a monthly financial report to the Board of Elders as well as an annual report to the congregation. It shall consult with each of the Board of Elders members regarding the budgetary needs of their administrative committees at least 60 days before the annual business meeting. A proposed budget must be presented to the Board of Elders 30 days before the annual business meeting for their approval. The Treasurer will then submit the budget to the congregation for approval at the Annual Business Meeting. The Treasurer will be the Chairman, and the Financial Secretary shall be a member of this committee.
- Missions and Church Extension—Shall supervise all missionary activities and commitments. It shall seek to promote care and concern and coordinate training within the fellowship in response to the Great Commission at home and abroad.
- Deacon Board—Shall supervise membership classes, administration of baptismals; minister to the sick, shut-ins and the bereaved by offering food and help; encourage church prayer for one another and to coordinate and enlist help for serving meals. The Deacon Board will create opportunities for promoting unity and will have a presence before and after Sunday morning service(s) to welcome and inform.
- Nominating Committee—The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Senior Pastor, four (4) non-pastoral members from the Board of Elders, selected annually by that Board and three (3) persons elected annually by the congregation. The vice-chairman of the Board of Elders shall serve as the chairman of this committee. The committee shall seek to obtain the names of those qualified and willing to serve in the position of Elder. Nominees are to be approved by the nominating committee and the Board of Elders. Once approved, their names shall be released to the congregation at least two (2) Sundays before the annual congregational meeting. It shall meet as often as is necessary to perform its responsibilities as stated herein. The Nominating Committee shall also nominate candidates for the next nominating committee.
- Church Related School Boards—Any school which is officially recognized as being a ministry of Christ Community Church shall have at least one (1) active Elder who will serve as a member of the school board. The remainder of the school board shall be defined by the bylaws of said school.
- The following are typical, but not exclusive committees to be overseen by the Board of Elders.
- Worship Committee—Shall supervise public worship services, music, choirs, musical features, ushering, and welcoming. The Director of Worship, Sound and Lighting Coordinator and the Head Usher shall be members of this committee.
- Facilities Committee—Shall supervise all matters relating to the planning, acquisition, operation and maintenance of all church properties. This includes the opening and closing of facilities for all functions of the church.
- Children’s Ministries Committee—Shall supervise all childrens’ ministries activities, discipleship, boys’ and girls’ clubs and the nursery.
- Youth Ministries Committee—Shall supervise all Jr. High and High School discipleship and youth programs.
- Adult Ministries Committee—Shall oversee Adult and College age Sunday Bible study and fellowship groups, Mid-Week Bible studies and Visitation for the church membership. Bible studies will be formed for different levels of commitment and maturity.
Article VIII. Pastoral Relations
A. Pulpit Committee
When it becomes necessary to call a Senior Pastor, a representative Pulpit Committee, consisting of four (4) members from the Board of Elders and three (3) members at large, shall be named by the Board of Elders and ratified by the congregation. It shall be the duty of this committee to take the necessary steps to secure a Pastor. In seeking a suitable candidate, the committee shall consult the leaders of the EFCA West District and take suggestions from the members of the church. The committee shall investigate the merits of every candidate under consideration in regard to his agreement with the Statement of Faith and Constitution, as well as his personal character, education, ministerial record and preaching ability in determining his fitness for this pastorate. Only one (1) candidate shall be presented to the congregation at a time. When a suitable person has been found, the committee shall recommend him to the Board of Elders, who shall make its recommendations to the congregation for its consideration.
B. Calling a Pastor
- Senior Pastor Position
- The proposed call of a Senior Pastor shall come before the congregation at a specially called business meeting; notice of such meeting and its purpose having been read from the pulpit on two (2) successive Sundays.
- A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members present and qualified to vote shall be necessary to extend the call. The vote shall be by closed ballot.
- Associate Pastoral Positions
- The creation of new Associate Pastoral positions shall be made by a recommendation of the Board of Elders to the congregation at a regular or specially called Congregational Meeting. A recommendation from the Board of Elders will be entertained at this meeting requesting authority to pursue and to hire additional staff.
- Filling previously approved Associate Pastoral positions may be done with or without forming a Pulpit Committee. Once found, a candidate shall be approved by the Board of Elders, and then shall be presented to the congregation for approval.
C. Pastoral Salaries and Annual Review
- The initial terms of a Pastor’s salary, vacation allowance and other benefits shall be established at the time of the call. In addition, the Pastor shall be entitled to attendance at the National and EFCA West District Conferences; any additional time shall be approved by the Board of Elders.
- The Pastors’ salaries shall be reviewed on an annual basis by the Board of Elders prior to the finalization of the annual budget.
- All Pastors will be provided an annual written and verbal performance review by the Senior Pastor and/or the Elder responsible for the Pastor’s duties. This review is given to provide feedback of their performance during the previous year. The Senior Pastor’s annual review will be given by the Chairman of the Board of Elders.
- Each Pastor will have a written job description given to him at the time of his calling. The job description will be reviewed and updated as