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 Church Constitution of Fellowship Bible Church of Winchester, Virginia.
Fellowship Bible Church
Out of a desire to glorify God as a spiritual community, the mission of Fellowship Bible Church is to prepare and deploy dependent disciples of Jesus Christ, who change their world for Him as they are being changed by Him.
Article III—Doctrinal Statement of Faith
Article IV—Government of the Church
The church shall be governed by a Board of Elders. These men are pastors to the congregation and shall have ultimate authority in determining Christ’s will for the church. The elders shall have the authority to appoint new elders and deacons.
Members shall be admitted into the church by:
- Profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and a verbal testimony before at least two elders of the church.
- Having been baptized after receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Attendance at New Members Orientation classes covering policy guidelines and the Philosophy of Ministry of Fellowship Bible Church.
The officers of the church shall consist of the elders and deacons. The elders are charged with the spiritual matters and the spiritual welfare of the church. The deacons are charged with the temporal needs of the church and administrative duties.
Doctrinal Statement of Fellowship Bible Church
We believe that the words of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and final word of God verbally inspired by God and without error in the original manuscripts in any category of knowledge, including science and history, and is of supreme and final authority in all matters about which it speaks. We believe the Bible is to be interpreted in a normal and literal way. (John 10:35; Matt. 5:18; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Tim. 5:18; 1 Cor. 2:14-16; John 16:12-15)
- We believe in one God who is eternal and immutable, who exists in three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (John 6:27; Heb. 1:8; Acts 5:3,4; Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14; Matt. 28:19; Isa. 48:16)
- We believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, God the Son in human flesh. That He is totally without sin; was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary; and is both fully God and fully man. (John 1:14; Matt. 1:18-25; John 11:33; John 8:40; Heb. 1:8; 2:14)
- We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Person, possessing all the distinctively divine attributes. He is God. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He regenerates, seals, and sets apart the believer to a holy life. At regeneration He baptizes the believer into the body of Christ and comes to indwell him permanently, bestows spiritual gifts on each one for the common good of the church and fills each one yielded to Him. (1 Cor. 2:10-11; 12:11, 13; Isa. 40:13-14; 2 Thes. 2:13; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 5:18)
The Past, Present and Future Work of Christ
- We believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all humanity as a substitutionary sacrifice and that all who believe in Him are declared righteous on the basis of His shed blood. (2 Cor. 5:14; Mark 10:45; Rom. 3:24-26; 1 Pet. 3:18; Rom. 5:8-9)
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, in His ascension into heaven, and in His present life there for us. Jesus now serves as High Priest, Intercessor, and Advocate on our behalf with the Father. (Rom. 1:4; John 20:25-27; 1 John 2:1; Heb. 7:25; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9-11)
- We believe in the personal, bodily return of Jesus Christ in the glory of His Father to set up on earth a kingdom in which He shall reign in righteousness and peace. (Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:30; Rev. 20:4-6; Isa. 9:6-7; Isa. 11:2-5)
- We believe that the first man and woman were created in the image of God and thus man has great value in God’s sight. But man sinned and consequently experienced not only physical death but also spiritual death (which is separation from God). The consequences of this sin affect the entire human race. All human beings are born lost and separated from God and with a sinful nature. (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:17; 3:6; Rom. 5:12-19; Eph. 2:1-3; Mark 7:20-23; John 2:24-25)
- We believe that all believers still possess a sinful nature in this life, but that God has made full provision for believers to resist this sinful nature and to live for God through identification with Christ, a knowledge of the Bible, and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Rom. 5:12-19; 6-8; Eph. 2:1-3, 10; 2 Pet. 1:3; Phil. 2:12-13)
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers are resurrected to enjoy eternal life with God. Unbelievers are resurrected to experience judgment and eternal suffering, and separation from God. (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thes. 4:16; Rev. 20:4-6, 12-15; John 5:28-29; Dan. 12:2; Rev. 21:1-8)
We believe that Satan is a personal being, the author of sin who provoked the fall of man. We believe that he is the great adversary of God’s person, program and people, but is a defeated foe who is destined to eternal punishment in the lake of fire. (Isa. 14:12-15; Matt. 4:1-11; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 20:10)
- We believe that man’s redemption and reconciliation with God occurs as an act of God’s grace, not of works, that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice and that all who believe in His death and resurrection are justified on the grounds of His shed blood. (Rom. 3:21-24; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; John 1:12-13; Titus 3:5-7; 1 Pet. 1:18-21)
- We believe that all believers are kept eternally secure by the power of God through the new birth, the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of Christ. (John 10:28-30; John 14:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:23; Eph. 4:30; 1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:38-39; 1 Cor. 5:5; Col. 3:3)
The Church, the Body of Christ
- We believe that the Church in its invisible form is universal, the true body and bride of Christ. All believers from the day of Pentecost until the Church is caught up to heaven are members of the universal Church regardless of organization affiliation.
- We believe that as the individual Christian has a responsibility to make Christ known, so does every local church have a corporate responsibility for making Christ known.
- We believe in the imminent return of Christ for the Church. All members of the body of Christ, living or dead, will at that time be caught up to be with the Lord forever. (1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; Titus 2:13)
- We believe that the spiritual oversight of the local church is given to a multiplicity of leaders known as elders who share equal authority. The elders are assisted by deacons when necessary to carry out the ministry. Elders and deacons are selected according to standards expressed by the New Testament. (Acts 14:23, 20:28; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)
- We believe that Christ ordained the observance of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper until He returns. We believe that baptism is an outward testimony of a person’s belief in Christ and should be administered upon confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of Christ’s death, the elements being symbols of His body and blood. We believe that every Christian in good standing has a right to partake of the elements of the Lord’s Supper but that participation should always be preceded by solemn self-examination. (Col. 1:18; Eph. 4:4-6; Acts 1:5; 11:15-16; 1 Cor. 11:24-26, 28)
Fellowship Bible Church—Church Bylaws
As you read these Bylaws, we encourage you to look up and study the Bible passages that are cited next to particular provisions. If such study does not answer all of your questions and concerns, please do not hesitate to approach our pastor or one of our elders, who will be happy to talk with you about these Bylaws.
The name by which this organization shall be known in law shall be Fellowship Bible Church herein referred to as “the church.”
2. Constitution (see attached, page 2)
The Constitution of the church, which is subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, consists of the Doctrinal Statement and the articles of the church government. Whenever possible, these Bylaws shall be interpreted so as to be consistent with the Constitution; should any Bylaw be found to contradict a provision of the Constitution, the Constitution shall control.
Fellowship Bible Church shall be recognized as a nonprofit religious organization under the laws of the State of Virginia.
4. Purpose and Limitations
The purposes of the church are:
- To bring glory and honor to the triune God by promoting true worship, mutual edification, holy and upright living and gospel witness.
- To operate exclusively for religious, charitable, and educational purposes within the classification of legal charities; and no part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of any private stockholder or individual; and no substantial part of the activities of the organization, or any receipt of its funds, shall be utilized for any other purpose except those purposes mentioned above.
- To handle affairs pertaining to property and other temporal matters as required by the civil authorities.
- The church shall not have or issue shares of stock, and no dividends shall be paid. No part of the income or assets of the church shall be distributed to any member or officer without full consideration. The church is prohibited from lending money to guarantee the obligation of a member or officer of the church. No member or officer of the church has any vested right, interest or privilege in or to the assets, property, functions, or activities of the church. The church may contract in due course, for reasonable consideration, with its members or officers without violating this provision.
- The mission arm of Fellowship Bible Church is called “Chain of Grace Ministries.” The missionaries that function under the direct authority of the Elders of Fellowship Bible Church are considered representatives of Chain of Grace Ministries. As such, they function as independent entities in terms of the financial and ministry matters.
- The membership shall consist of all communicant and non-communicant members, all of who have the privilege of pastoral oversight, instruction, and government by the church. Communicant members are those who have made a credible profession of faith in Christ, have been baptized, and have been received into membership as provided in Section 5b. Non-communicant members are to be dedicated children of communicant members.
- A person may be received into communicant membership by confession of faith before two elders of the church and having given evidence of post profession baptism. In order to be received into membership, a person must complete the membership classes.
- All communicant members who are at least eighteen years old and in good standing in the church shall be voting members. (“Good standing” means that a member is not presently under the censure of suspension or deposition.) Any voting member in attendance at a duly called meeting shall be entitled to one vote on matters brought before the congregation. Voting by proxy shall not be permitted.
- Members may be removed from membership at their own request by informing the Board of Elders of their intention to withdraw and the reasons therefore. If a member requests to withdraw because of specific problems or disappointments with the church, the Board of Elders shall attempt to resolve those matters so that the member may remain in the church and enjoy greater fruitfulness and personal spiritual growth. If the Board of Elders is unable to resolve those matters, it shall offer to assist the member in locating a church of like faith and practice that can respond more effectively to his gifts and needs (see Matt. 18:12-20; Bylaw 14; Guidelines on Church Discipline).
- Members may also be removed from membership by order of the Board of Elders when they: persistently, over an extended period of time, and without adequate reason absent themselves from the stated services of the church; unite with another church; cannot be found for a period greater than two years; or are removed by excommunication for persistent impenitence (see Bylaw 14; Guidelines on Church Discipline). Non-communicant members may be removed from membership with their parents or when they reject the covenantal responsibility of submission to home or church and neglect the ongoing exhortation of the Board of Elders to profess faith in Christ.
6. Elders and Deacons
- Elders and deacons must be male voting members. In order to be eligible, a man shall have been a member in good standing in the church for at least one year, shall have received appropriate training under the direction or with the approval of the Board of Elders, and shall have served the church in functions requiring responsible leadership.
- Elders, individually and jointly with the vocational pastors, are to lead the church in the service of Christ. They are to watch diligently over the people committed to their charge to prevent corruption of doctrine or morals. Persistent evils that cannot be corrected by private admonition should be brought to the notice of the Board of Elders. They should visit the people, especially the sick, instruct the uninformed, comfort the mourning, and nourish and guard the people of the church. They should pray with and for the people. They should have particular concern for the doctrine and conduct of the pastors and should help and encourage them in their labors.
- Deacons shall show forth the compassion of Christ in a manifold ministry of mercy toward the saints and strangers on behalf of the church. As delegated and directed by the Board of Elders, they shall minister to the temporal needs of members and friends, and see to the care and maintenance of church property.
- The Board of Elders shall appoint members of the Board of Deacons who meet biblical qualifications as stated in Acts 6:1-7 and 1 Tim. 3:8-13. The Board of Deacons shall select from within its group a chairman and secretary. The chairman shall preside over the meetings and have general oversight of their work. The Board of Deacons shall have no less than two (2) members, and additional members may be added as needed. Members of the Board of Deacons shall serve for a three-year term. After two successive terms, that member must be off the board for one year after which time he may be re-appointed. An elder or deacon who had been previously appointed and who has been divested of the office must be re-appointed for service by the Board of Elders.
- The Board of Elders shall appoint the Elders of Fellowship Bible Church from the membership of the congregation who meet the Biblical qualifications as stated in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The number of actively serving elders shall not be less than three (3) and not more than ten (10). The Board of Elders will include the senior vocational pastor.
- Actively serving members of the Board of Elders shall serve for a six (6) year term. At the end of the six year term, each member is encouraged to serve a one year sabbatical from active service; but upon agreement of all members of the Board of Elders, that requirement may be waived. Tenure of office shall not be applicable to the senior vocational pastor. The Board of Elders may grant leave of absence as it deems necessary. No member of the church staff, except the senior vocational pastor, may be an actively serving member of the Board of Elders.
- An elder or deacon may be divested of his office by church discipline for an offense in doctrine or life.
7. Vocational Pastors
- Vocational pastor(s) shall meet the Biblical qualifications as stated in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
- Each vocational pastor shall have a job description, prepared by the Board of Elders, describing the duties of his ministry and is charged with fulfilling that ministry for the good of the body.
- Vocational pastor(s) shall receive stated salaries for their services.
- It is the charge of the senior vocational pastor to oversee the rest of the pastoral and ministry staff and serve as the liaison of the staff with the elder board. All the vocational pastoral staff is accountable to the elder board.
- A pastor may resign his position upon thirty days written notice. The ministerial relationship may be dissolved by the act of the elder board. If the ministerial relationship is dissolved, the church may provide the pastor with at least one month’s severance pay, and may consider providing such other assistance as is necessary for his needs and the needs of his family while he seeks other employment.
8. Board of Elders (Board of Directors)
- The Board of Elders is the governing body (Board of Directors) of the church. The Board of Elders shall have the power and authority to make rules and regulations not inconsistent with the laws of the State of Virginia, the Constitution, and these Bylaws. The Board of Elders shall manage the business affairs of the church, oversee all matters concerning the conduct of public worship, and it shall concert the best measures for promoting the spiritual growth and evangelistic witness of the congregation. It shall receive, dismiss, and exercise discipline over the members of the church, supervise the activities of the Board of Deacons and all other organizations of the congregation, and have final authority over the use of church property.
- The Board of Elders shall have a chairman who shall preside over the board meeting, a vice-chairman, and a secretary. The chairman shall not be the vocational pastor. Each officer shall be elected by the board members for a period of one year. They may be elected for a second and third year.
- The Board of Elders shall have final authority for affairs pertaining to property and other temporal matters as required by civil law for nonprofit corporations. In particular, the Board of Elders shall be responsible for the acquisition and disposition of church property, which includes the management of its financial resources. Neither the Board of Elders nor its delegates shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, pledge or in any manner encumber any church real estate without first notifying the membership at a congregational meeting. The Board of Elders may delegate to the Board of Deacons or to other communicant